So there lies Harry Potter in the chamber of secret trying to figure out how to logically defeat this Basilisk whilst the clock ticking until Ginny Weasley dies for good. Tom Riddle stood there like some evil being that looked harmless but simultaneously life-threatening. Harry was ready to take on whatever the Basilisk prepared against him. He stood there waiting for the attack. But then, the Basilisk slithered back into the hole with a trickly sound of scales rubbing against a stone surface and disappeared just like that, while Tom the guardian stood still; gazing at Harry and Ginny.
‘Where’d that thing go?’ asked Harry wondering. ‘I don’t know. One thing for sure he could come back anytime’ said Tom Riddle. ‘When exactly?’ ‘I wish I can tell’. Harry then tried to figure out what to do with Ginny laying there unconscious, trying everything he could to wake her up from Tom Riddle’s curse as quickly as he can before the Basilisk comes back. He tried to remember all the spells and attempted to use force against Tom Riddle, but nothing worked out because clearly, Tom was just a representation from Harry’s imagination. Harry started having shortness of breath, his heart started racing like never before, his body temperature went up and his pores opened up. Ready to do whatever’s necessary. Yet he stood still unable to do anything because at least 74 things ran through his mind, calculating the most efficient way to end this thing once and for all. He could probably pick Ginny up and ran away while the basilisk is not in sight before it went back to eat him whole. Or he could find the means to destroy Tom Riddle, or his diary but that would mean using an unforgivable curse. Or maybe, this… and that, but then… and maybe. The thought just went on for God knows how long and the audience left their seats.
Now, just to make sure everybody gets that it was not an excerpt from the second book of Harry Potter. It was my own rendition of what happens if the Basilisk went back into the hole. Turns out that Harry developed symptoms of anxiety; a serious one.
People sometimes get confused between fear and anxiety. This particular Harry Potter scene could an ideal scenario to explain it perfectly. Bear with us, we promise you it’s worth it.
Fear was what happened when the basilisk came out and tried to kill Harry in the original story. Harry would definitely run from this creature but he knew what he was going against and tried his best to kill this thing. At that moment he had only 2 choices: to live or die. Polarizing but quite simple.
In my rendition, the basilisk went back in with no certainty what he’s about to do. Harry stood there not knowing what to fight, what to do first. He was anticipating any possibility of danger. That’s what anxiety is. You’re afraid of the ‘what could be’. That’s not good. Our whole body depletes itself in a way that we would only need to do once if we were to only face the basilisk alone. That is probably why the proverb goes ‘cowards died a thousand times before he actually dies’
We have all been there. Some might be deeper than others. Some might’ve faced bigger monsters. But we all know how it feels to be calculating endlessly about matters that could’ve fallen upon us anytime yet we don’t know when or where it’ll drop.
What do you think Harry should do when the Basilisk went back in? He did all he could while anticipating the return of that basilisk. But what can we learn from the story above? It’s better to face the monster and every other problem will become irrelevant. He should’ve chased the damn basilisk down the hole, and he won’t be bothered with other problems because he was taking care of the mother of all problems.
But we forgot that it was not Harry alone who succeeded in defeating the basilisk in the original story. There’s some kind of a divine intervention occurring in the background when this magical phoenix came to the rescue with the sword of Gryffindor. So, he was not entirely on his own and he believed so. The implicit emotional counsel from Dumbledore upheld his faith for help from anything that would come in at the most difficult time. Because help; as Dumbledore said; will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for and deserve it. We could not emphasize this enough. This is the key to all hero journeys.
Simba and Rafiki. Aragorn and Gandalf. Luke Skywalker and Yoda. Even Po and Shifu. The best heroes in our central stories could not have done so without their mentor, or these higher authority/consciousness who kept their well-being and intention in check. If these characters need a mentor in order to fulfill their goal, then who are we that we think we could solve it all by ourselves?
Do you realize how easy it is to have negative thoughts when you’re in a position where you desperately need positive thoughts and faith the most? Imagine yourself back at the chamber of secret standing across the room from this huge basilisk, charging at you. Wouldn’t it be easier to just give up and die or run towards it trying your best when you know you’ll die anyway? You see, Harry was cornered but he never ran out of faith. No matter how difficult it is, help will always come. Thus, came the Phoenix with the sword of Gryffindor and disabling the Basilisk’s sight by its claw. Most of you know the rest of the story. Harry managed to stab the head of the Basilisk from its mouth. But Harry, unfortunately, was wounded with its venom. He could’ve died a hero by then, but again he destroyed Tom Riddle’s diary with the Basilisk’s fang which was pretty fascinating and quite a discovery for the following movies. It was all luck in disguise, he wouldn’t have figured that out by himself. The phoenix once again came to the rescue with its all-curing tears.
Now, if you are in a state where the basilisk had gone into the hole please remember Harry in the chamber of secret. Don’t chase the Basilisk on your own. Have faith in something greater than yourself. A lot of people who ended up with suicidal thoughts always had the same preposition in mind. They believe that they are all in full control of whatever is happening in their life. Whatever happened was caused by themselves without any long-term sight in mind. It’s super easy to fall in that direction, and pretty tempting too. Seek help, because help will always be provided to those who ask and deserve it.
What do we mean by deserving help? Isn’t it the case that everyone deserves help? Not exactly. Any amount of money given to a drug addict would be spent on drugs again. The same amount of money given to a broke guy who wanted to start a business might be spent on his accommodation. Now, we hope you get the concept.
Lastly, patience is the key here. You can seek all the help you want but it all starts within you. You are doing great if you got this far, which means you have the willingness to be better. It’s all part of a bigger plan. You’ll realize that the world seems softer. It’s actually the other way, the world stays the same. You’ll become stronger.
Mohammad Resyad Ghifari Mulyadi is a final year food science student in UPM from Jakarta Indonesia. Passionate about songwriting currently doing a project called Jacaterra, creative writing, and food writing for a food media called Gramus.