The Lacanian Review Online: The Flaw in the Plan

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I was cautioned to surrender
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LRO 273
13th February 2021

 




Did Harry Potter go through the Pass?
Dominique Rudaz

In the final chapters of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", does the protagonist relate to an experience that might resemble that of the Pass? The part that caught my ear is the title of the last chapter, "The flaw in the plan"; I read it as the "flaw" in the fantasy enjoyment program.

To try to answer this question, I will divide this work into three parts: the reduction to the fundamental fantasy, the operation in play in the "flaw" of the fantasy program and finally the effects of this operation, the remnant.

“Voldemort’s Horcrux” and “A pig for slaughter”

In the various novels, Harry occupies the place of exception: "the chosen one", "the boy who lived". His symptom, that is to say what makes an enigma, what is repeated, is the fact of finding himself perpetually in situations where he is in danger of death, believing that there is a "Vœu-de-Mort” underlying [“Vow-of-Death” in French]. We also note strong migraines that the magician-doctors cannot explain.

It seems to me that it is especially in the last chapters where all these twists and turns come to converge and to be reduced to one or two sentences, not without analogy with the fundamental fantasy. First, Harry finds out what object he is for the Other: "Voldemort’s Horcrux". This sheds light on some of his endangerment or migraine symptoms. But it also points to his mode of enjoyment as an exception: he is Voldemort's precious object, he is his soul. Note also the permutation of terms: if before it was Harry who desperately (impuissance) searched for the last Horcrux ($ // a), now it is the Horcrux that determines Harry (a -> $).

There is another sentence that I find important: Snape at one point in the novel, when Dumbledore confides in him that Harry is the last Horcrux, accuses Dumbledore of having raised Harry as "A pig for slaughter". The precious object, the agalma, "Dumbledore's favourite student", becomes the palea: The Other's malevolent enjoyment is almost palpable in those few words. But, agalma or palea, we are always in the place of exception, therefore in the program of enjoyment of fantasy.

Three object deactivations

It's an urgent case! By dint of putting himself in danger, sooner or later he would have achieved his destiny. So how did Harry get out of this program, these determinants? What operation was performed? There seems to me to be a disinvestment, or more precisely, following the novel, a deactivation of three objects in the field of the Other.

First, in the forest of Hogwarts he drops the resurrection stone, a magical artefact possessed by Dumbledore and which allows the dead to be returned to life. One could say its an object that comes to fill the hole of castration. Once left, Harry will no longer search for it, the stone now being one of many in the forest, disinvested, deactivated. We see that the power of this stone was in a close relation with the subject, a bit like the stone of which Miller speaks in "L’os d’une cure" when referring to the poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade: "No meio do caminho tinha uma pedra”.

Second, there is the gradual deactivation of the Horcrux; I refer to the penultimate chapter "King's Cross". In this dreamlike moment where Harry meets Dumbledore, the Horcrux, represented by a hideous and suffering child, is gradually disinvested by Harry. He goes from horror, to being distracted, until "the whimpering of the creature behind them barely disturbed Harry any more”. He is still there, but disinvested. This passage points to the incompressible time necessary in an analysis to disinvest and transfer the libidinal charge elsewhere. We are here more in the quanta of the Real and less in the Symbolic dialectic: time is needed.

At the end of the novel, Harry is in possession of the Elder Wand, the overpowered wand, another treasured item of Voldemort and Dumbledore. He's not going to keep it, he's going to put it in Dumbledore's grave, so the wand is deactivated, becoming one among others. It’s left with the dead. Could this loss be correlative to a gain, a plus-de-vie for Harry?

Effects and remnants

In all three situations, we have a deactivation of an object which, as far as it was in the field of the Other, was exceptional, the exceptional object of the Other. These deactivations seem to me to have two effects.

Firstly, there is a downfall of the Other, especially of Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort, as if their idealized consistency is supported by these objects, not without Harry paying the price. Indeed, Dumbledore in the chapter mentioned before, becomes outright "Dumby": he cries, he laughs, "he looked, fleetingly, like a small boy caught in wrongdoing". And Lord Voldemort becomes, during the final confrontation, just Tom Riddle: “Tom Riddle hit the floor with a mundane finality, his body feeble and shrunken […]. Harry […] staring down at his enemy’s shell”. A "shell" that no longer contains any agalmatic objects, a machine without batteries.

Secondly, this operation also has therapeutic effects, as summarized in the final sentence of the book: "The scar had not pained Harry for nine years. All was well”. He is cured of his migraine, an exemplary case! "All was well" can also make us think that he is no longer putting himself in danger of death, no more "Vœu-de-Mort”.

To end with this short fiction, could it be said that Harry went through the Pass? It seems to me that it ends a bit too much in the "happy ending". I don't see any remains, or bone, it's a bit too bleached. I have the feeling that Harry, this urgent case, finished his analysis the moment he got better. But maybe that was his way of no longer being an exception, whether it was in Hogwarts or elsewhere, as he says, "I've had enough trouble for a life-time". We will respect his choice.

 


Image @LauraKapfer
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