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Throughout the books, Harry displays tremendous bravery and strength of character. He willingly went to what he truly believed to be his death at the hands of Lord Voldemort because he believed that this was the only way to defeat the Dark Lord. Harry is also marked by what Hermione Granger once deemed a "saving-people thing" — he will go to great lengths and take great risks in order to help others, particularly his loved ones. Notably, this was taken advantage of by Voldemort in 1996, when he lured Harry to the Department of Mysteries by making him believe that his godfather was in danger. Harry is also very strong-willed, unafraid to stand up for himself and able to resist the Imperius Curse at a young age. Dumbledore once made parallels between Harry's traits and qualities that Salazar Slytherin looked for in his own hand-picked students.However, Harry has also been accused of being arrogant, in particular by Severus Snape, and can be hot-tempered and impulsive. This can sometimes make him rude to authority figures such as Professor Snape and Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour, and irritable even with his friends. Harry was prone to moodiness at least during his adolescence, though this is likely the result of the great emotional stress and trials he endured during this period. J. K. Rowling has noted that Harry's lack of emotional control is what undermined his ability to learn Occlumency. Despite being clever, Harry also lacked intellectual curiosity, rarely putting forth effort into school work; for example, he relied on the notes of the "Half-Blood Prince" to get ahead in his sixth-year Potions class rather than devoting time to studying. Harry also seems to have a bit of an obsessive personality. During his sixth year, Harry became obsessed with finding out what Malfoy was doing. He pursued Malfoy to the detriment of his other goals such as getting the memory from Slughorn. Also, while searching for the Horcruxes, Harry becomes obsessed with the Deathly Hallows and does not fulfill his duty as the leader of the hunt.

Harry's greatest strength, though, is his great capacity to love, despite having a miserable childhood of neglect. Harry is fiercely loyal to and protective of his loved ones, and that love was what allowed him to overcome Voldemort.

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