I have contemplated the meeting point of the Harry Potter series and Nonviolent Communication for many years. I have been reading HP since I was 10 and studying NVC since I was 16. When I re-read the books after learning NVC, I noticed this deep pain in my heart at how difficult a time the characters had connecting through conflict. I so wanted them to hear each other and make up! One of the applications NVC has is mediation, and how I wished I could mediate them through their disputes. This is really my personal motivation for applying NVC in this way, to sort of pretend like I can do that, although it is probably a good way to study NVC as well. (For more info on NVC, look up Bay NVC and The Center for Nonviolent Communication).
So today I will start with one of the biggest and most painful fights in the whole series - when Harry, mysteriously chosen by the Goblet of Fire to be the fourth Hogwarts champion in the Triwizard Tournament, is then seemingly abandoned by Ron, who has apparently lost all trust in Harry's claims to ignorance about the matter.
What does Hermione have to say about this? Here is the exchange the she and Harry have the day after he is chosen.:
- Quote, Ch. 18, Goblet of Fire:"Oh Harry, isn't it obvious?" Hermione said despairingly. "He's jealous!"
"Jealous?" Harry said incredulously. "Jealous of what? He wants to make a prat of himself in front of the whole school, does he?"
"Look, " said Hermione patiently, "it's always you who gets all the attention, you know it is. I know it's not your fault, " she added quickly, seeing Harry open his mouth furiously. "I know you don't ask for it... But--well--you know, Ron's got all those brothers to compete against at home, and you're his best friend, and you're really famous--he's always shunted to one side whenever people see you, and he puts up with it, and he never mentions it, but I suppose this is just one time too many..."
"Great, " said Harry bitterly. "Really great. Tell him from me I'll swap any time he wants. Tell him from me he's welcome to it... People gawping at my forehead everywhere I go... "
"I'm not teiling him anything, " Hermione said shortly. "Tell him yourself. It's the only way to sort this out."
"I'm not running around after him trying to make him grow up!" Harry said, so loudly that severa lowls in a nearby tree took flight in alarm. "Maybe he'll believe I'm not enjoying myself once I've got my neck broken or--"
"That's not funny, " said Hermione quietly. "That's not funny at all. "
So we do have a pretty clear understanding of the situation, via Hermione. Now to put this into NVC terms, I will pretend that one of the two DO actually approach their best friend to attempt to make ends meet, and, let's say with NVC skills. Let's say it's Harry. What might he say? I will do this to immerse you, my blog reader, in NVC language, with only minimal notes on how its all put together.
(That scene where Harry comes into the dorm and Ron is either asleep or pretending to be. Instead of flopping down himself, he wakes Ron up.)
Harry: Ron, I really can't stand us fighting right now, will you talk to me for a moment? Come on, you're not really sleeping are you?
Ron: Why should I talk to you? You went behind my back and entered the Tournament without me!
Harry: (reflection/empathy) So you're suspicious about how my name got in there, and wishing for a friend you can trust?
Ron: (long pause) Well, I did think you would have told me how you did it! I mean, I can't even understand why you wouldn't tell me.
Harry: (reveals himself transparently) It's so hard to hear you say that Ron. I am having such a hard time right now. I really miss our friendship, especially right now with all the negative attention I'm getting. I wish you could trust me that I'm telling the truth.
Ron: (struck by this, but now having other, deeper stuff coming up to the surface) Even if you didn't put your name in, do you really mind all this 'negative' attention? You're probably going to win anyway. Then you'll get all the glory, as usual.
Harry: I think I understand what's going on, Ron. It's hard to be my friend, when I get so much attention all the time, even when we do things together, and you would like to be appreciated and respected for your own accomplishments?
Ron: Yeah, it's not easy being ignored all the time, shoved to the side as just another Weasley, or Harry Potter's sidekick.
Harry: (mourning) I'm really sorry that that's how things are for you Ron. I'm sorry that you thought I'd lied to you, or went behind your back, or tried to exclude you. I'm sad that there isn't more trust between us. You're my best mate and I want you to trust me. I appreciate Hermione, you know, but it's not the same without you.
Ron: (shifting, magically gaining NVC skills) I'm sorry Harry. I believe you. I really didn't think you put your name in, except for a bit at first. It just brought up all this stuff for me about being invisible. It's not your fault though. This must be hard for you too. Especially with me not talking to you.
Harry: (now revealing more, trusting Ron will hear him) Yeah, you know, I'm jealous of you too Ron. I know you don't believe me, but fame isn't all that great. No privacy, no room for failure because people have such high expectations of me.
Ron: (reflecting) It is hard for me to relate to not wanting to be recognized, but I think I can understand. With everyone always watching you, you probably just want a chance to relax.
Harry: Hah! Wouldn't that be nice! You're lucky to have some privacy, not to mention your family.
Ron: (empathizing) That's pretty painful, huh? That you're famous for something that happened because your parents died?
Harry: Believe me it is.
Ron: Thanks for waking me up Harry. I wasn't really sleeping, you know.
Harry: I didn't think so. Thanks for answering. It's nice to have you talking to me again.
Ron: Same here.
Oops. Just kidding. No, this is not one of *those* stories. But as you can see, a certain kind of intimacy is created by this sort of conversation, although it definitely does not have to be a romantic intimacy. Anyway, did you see how this kind of listening and expression could lead to quicker resolution of conflict, while still maintaining honesty? Or did you find it to be unrealistic? I actually do too, but I have been at the computer for hours and want to go stretch in the sunshine, so I did the quickie version. In real life (no pun intended) both of them might have spent a lot more time listening and reflecting what the other person is saying.
Please share any comments or questions below. And if you have a certain conflict from HP you'd like to see translated into NVC, let me know!