Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: JK Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic (2007)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Sub-Genres: Coming of Age, Hero Quest, Magic
Character Speaking: Molly Weasley
Analysis: Possibly the most famous book quote published in the last twenty years, "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" is a deceptively simple line of dialogue. Ostensibly, it's just a scream in themiddle of a battle, from a mother - here, Molly Weasley, the ultra-mother of Rowling's world - trying to protect her only daughter and youngest child after already losing one of her sons.
From a plot standpoint, it's this moment that forces Harry, our hero and main character, into the final confrontation with Voldemort, the main villain of the series. The line literally begins the plot's climax, with Molly Weasley saving the lives of not only her daughter Ginny, but Harry's friends Luna and Hermione. After watching Molly, the only mother Harry has ever known, take out Bellatrix Lestrange with a single spell, Harry is ready to face his destiny, saving the lives of those he loves, and perhaps, the world.
To start an analysis of this quote, a non-Harry Potter reader must first be aware of two things: Rowling hardly ever uses capitalization for emphasis and she rarely has her characters curse. Rowling, in full writer mode here, knew exactly what this line was and how important it was going to be to the entire series. In fact, when Rowling gives interviews about Harry Potter, she often cites the ideas of orphans, parents, children, and a parent's love for a child being one of the main themes of Harry Potter. If that is the case, then this moment, with Molly protecting her youngest child, isn't just right before the climax of the series - it is the thematic climax.
You see, Harry is an orphan, and Molly is a mother. Molly is, in fact, the quintessential mother archetype: overly doting, caring, loving, who cooks and cleans and defends her home with a quick step and somewhat short fuse, all needed for controlling her plethora of red-headed children. Harry, on the other hand, is the quinessential orphan narrative archetype, raised by uncaring relatives, only to discover his true destiny as the hero of the world. Molly adopts him as one her own, in all but legality (until he marries her daughter, of course).
Molly, as the thematic driving force symbolic of "mother" for the entire series - for no other mother can come close to her in comparison for Harry's caring or love - is the thematic crux on which Rowling's ideas turn. To take this normally quiet woman and place her in battle alongside her husband, her sons, her daughter, and the boy she adopted who must save the world, is a precarious notion, especially since Rowling has never placed Molly in a battle position before. In fact, we've never seen Molly hurt anymore before this point in the story.
Moments before this scene, Harry sees Molly crying over the body of her dead son. He then witnesses the battle between Bellatrix and his main female friends. And then Molly strikes, just as it appears Bellatrix will win. It is implied, though not stated, that Molly actually kills Bellatrix, though not necessarily on purpose.
Molly's purpose in Rowling's story is a relatively deceptive one. The thematic climax here, for the story of a boy without parents who must save the world, then is one of Harry Potter witnessing the most noble act of sacrifice - Molly, when facing Bellatrix alone, a woman who was beating three witches with more battle experience than her, was possibly facing her own death. Molly was a willing sacrifice to protect the life of her child - just as Harry's own mother gave her life to save his.
Molly, and with all Rowling's artistic emphasis in this quote with a capitalization and cursing, provides us with the exceptional ending to a seven book series. The idea of a mother sacrificing her life for her son circles right back to Harry's origin story, of his own mother's love and willing sacrifice literally saving Harry's own. Harry was a hero because he, as an infant, had survived Voldemort. But what the world didn't understand was that Harry did not defeat Voldemort - his mother did.
And here, again, Molly defeats Bellatrix, with all the fury of a mother's love for her child, willing to give anything and everything. Bellatrix earned the title of bitch, and Molly's retribution is rightfully seen as a just ending for her. Molly, in this last moment, becomes the series' thematic crutch, the symbol of motherhood, sacrifice, and love that propels itself back through th entire series - proving that once and for all, Harry Potter is a book about love overcoming.
Buy It Here!: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows