the Harry Potter the books and movies begin with a definite line between good and evil. Harry and his friends are good, and Voldemort and his followers are bad. However, as the series progresses, these lines blur, with people on both ends of the spectrum doing deeds worthy of the other side.
In the end, many characters were redeemed for their misdeeds. However, not all of these takeovers were satisfying or credible to the public. On top of that, some characters who should have gotten (or at least tried to) redeem themselves didn’t. Redditors resumed the discussion about which characters should have gotten a character arc and which redemption arcs could have been improved.
By the end of the series, Harry’s perspective on Malfoy changes dramatically. He acknowledges that Malfoy is the product of his upbringing, but isn’t evil at heart. In the The order of the Phoenix book, Harry realizes that he no longer hates Draco, but rather pities him.
Draco couldn’t kill Dumbledore, and he didn’t reveal Harry to his family, which proved he wasn’t that bad. However, Redditor Judy-Lee felt that it couldn’t really “be considered [redemption]”Fans will never learn if Draco made any real changes to his ways after Voldemort’s defeat, leaving his character feeling incomplete. Any sign that he had learned from the events of the war, or even an acknowledgment that he had been wrong, would have gone a long way for the fans.
Dudley tortured Harry all his life, until suddenly, in the last book, he shared with Harry that he had grown to appreciate him and was grateful to him for saving his life. Harry and the readers were surprised by this, but the story continues and Dudley is never mentioned again.
In the film, Dudley doesn’t even get the unsatisfactory redemption he earned in the book, since his apology scene was deleted from the Deathly Hallows film. Harry just watches him go. Redditor Judy-Lee felt the “dividing line remained intact” between Harry and his cousin in both versions, leaving audiences unsure of what their relationship might look like in the future. Dudley had simply learned to mistreat Harry from his parents, and an arc exploring his realization that his parents had been wrong would have been interesting to see.
Snape gained redemption for choosing to join Voldemort. He deeply regretted that his choices resulted in Lily’s death, and he put himself in extreme danger to protect his son. Eventually, he died while accomplishing this mission, proving to be a hero in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
This takeover, however, left a lot of debate among fans. “[Snape] acknowledges some of his biggest mistakes, while not caring about others,” a Reddit user pointed out. Snape has treated Harry very unfairly throughout the series, bordering on actual abuse. The fact that it was forgiven just because he loved Lily was instead a redemption arc that would include him realizing his treatment of Harry hadn’t been fair and apologizing for it would have been more hard-hitting and would have made his sacrifice all the more touching.
Regulus Black is Sirius’ brother who joined the Death Eaters upon graduation. When he realized he didn’t align himself with Voldemort’s morals, he attempted to break out of his ranks and worked to bring down Voldemort from within.
This story was only discovered by Harry through the letter he left in place of Voldemort’s Horcrux and through Kreacher’s accounts. No one who knew Regulus in life ever learned that he had turned to the side of good, leading Redditor AmEndevomTag to speculate that he never “really had a redemption arc”. If more information had come to light showing Regulus’ struggle to uncover the truth, or if Sirius had even spoken more about his brother’s journey, his redemption arc would have seemed more complete.
Harry Potter fans are often confused about Petunia’s feelings for her sister, Lily. She treated Harry terribly, often stating that she hated his “monster” sister. However, in Deathly Hallows, Harry learned that Petunia had been jealous of his sister and had once loved her dearly.
The reveal hinted at a possible redemption, but it never happened on the page or on screen. Redditor MetalKeirSolid was disappointed by this, feeling that even a “grain of good or heart” should have been included. Petunia never got a chance to make up for the way she treated her sister’s son, even though the story might have benefited.
Pettigrew was a purely despicable and ruthless character in Harry Potter. Everything he did was out of self-preservation, and he is the direct reason James and Lily died. Despite this, Harry once spared his life, resulting in a debt that would later end Pettigrew.
Pettigrew hesitated to kill Harry because of this debt, and the silver hand Voldemort offered him strangled him. But Redditor Amata69 felt that this ironic death didn’t leave the impact it could have. “I think he should have been more than just a parasite who betrayed everyone.” A bigger act of redemption, like actively trying to save Harry, would have made his death even more impactful and would have contributed better to his character arc.
Whenever Harry witnesses memories of James at school, he behaves like a deplorable bully. It becomes clear why Snape would have hated him, but there is very little explanation why Lily went from despising him too to marrying him.
Harry struggled with his perspective of his father, worrying that he hadn’t been a good person. In the The order of the Phoenix book, Lupine simply assures him that he has changed. Redditor Shuaib1220 said, “If you want to tell me he’s become a better person, then I need to see some of his internal struggles.” Harry might have been pleased with Lupin’s response, but audiences felt a detailed redemption arc would have helped them come to terms with Jame’s change.
Percy was never very sympathetic, but when he cut contact with his family and chose to support the Ministry against Harry, he set a whole new (very low) bar. In the movies, none of Percy’s motivations are ever explained, and so a redemption arc was completely out of the question.
In the Deathly Hallows book, however, Percy returns to his family and apologizes, helping them fight the Death Eaters. Even that redemption didn’t seem like enough for Redditors like Sufferagette, who felt that Percy “returning to his family” should have started much earlier in the book and developed over time. Instead, Percy’s sudden change of heart felt less like a redemption arc and more like a last resort.
Hermione has remained firmly on the side of good throughout the series, in both the books and the movies. However, the way she treats people she disagrees with has ruffled some fans the wrong way. In the Deathly Hallows book in particular, she frequently refused to listen to Harry’s instincts, grossly neglecting him instead.
Redditor Faerie_Queen_ felt that Hermione “deserved to be called out more often” for mistreating her friends. Instead, even when she was proven wrong, nothing ever happened. A redemption arc that involved Hermione apologizing after she was proven wrong, and learning to open her mind to other people’s opinions would have made her a much better character.
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