Don't fall victim to vampires! Don't get slashed by a psycho! Don't get stuck, ASK DR. ELDRITCH!
Dear Dr. Eldritch,
My best chum gets all the attention from all the other wizards, and I'm bloody tired of it!
We met when we started at boarding school for wizards. My chum, I'll call him "Larry," (not his real name) is famous for something that happened when he was a baby, so you may know about him already. Anyway, he's a great friend, and we do almost everything together, but lately I've been feeling a bit put out. Everything's all about Larry.
Mostly everybody loves him, and sometimes everybody hates him, but it's almost always "Larry, Larry, Larry!" Everywhere we go, people want to talk to him, and I'm just "Larry's Best Friend." It doesn't help that he's brilliant at sport, and half the time I make a bloody mess of things. And what really curdles my cheese is that he's not that great a wizard! Quite often, another friend of ours, who is bloody brilliant, "helps" with his homework (well, she sometimes helps me too, so I shouldn't complain). He gets good marks because the professors can't imagine that he's anything but a brilliant wizard himself, except for the professors that don't like him. He gets poor marks in their classes, but they do tend to be stupid gits, anyway.
Don't get me wrong, I like being friends with him. But if anyone else did the sorts of things he does, they'd be expelled right off. He gets away with everything. If people were really paying attention, they'd see that most of the time, Larry's the one to muck things up, and someone else helps him get out of it. Around the end of each year, he gets in right big trouble, but manages to come through it somehow. With help, usually. I've even been there, and he probably would have been killed without me, but nobody really remembers that, do they? No, it's always "Larry defeated Him-Who-We-Don't-Talk-About!" and everyone just asks me if I can get Larry's autograph for them. I'm bleeding sick of it.
Of course, he's an orphan and he has the most-evil-of-all-evil-wizards trying to kill him, so you have to feel a bit sorry for him. All I want is to be noticed once in a while! Every time I help him out, I get a quick "Thanks, that was great!", and then it's all about him again. Sometimes I wish he would just get it over with and be killed already. Then I feel terrible for being such a bad friend. What can I do? This is driving me bonkers!
-- An Unnamed Wizard-In-Training
Dear Unnamed WIT,
It's hard to count your blessings when you're in someone's shadow, isn't it? For example, the only magic most people have in their lives involves gathering cards, or watching a professional basketball team from Florida. You're surrounded by it every day. Also, you've got a front-row seat for a series of adventures that normal folk would trade body parts to have. Typically, the most exciting event for persons your age is to win some meaningless popularity contest, like Homecoming King or Class President. What you've got beats that seven ways from Sunday (one more than the traditional six), and yet you still complain. Just no pleasing some people, I guess.
Still, you've asked for help, and I shall do my best to supply it. In my professional opinion, you've got a rather severe case of Sidekick Syndrome. If you're not careful, you'll end up like Tonto; old, bitter, and trying to break into the talk-show circuit with a tell-all book filled with half-truths and shocking allegations. If your whole identity is defined as being "Larry's Friend," you've got a bit of fame today from standing at the fringes of the spotlight. However, when public interest in him ends, and it will, you'll be left clinging to the vanishing remnants of his legacy as it melts away like ice cream in hot coffee. As tasty as that sounds, you'll just end up even unhappier than you are today.
You should, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, seek Professional Help. Seriously. Talk to a therapist. A counseling expert will help you see that your conflicted feelings and frustrations are normal, and make it easier to find a way of defining yourself as an individual. Be sure you choose a therapist or psychologist who is experienced with the magical world, or you may end up being "held for observation." That's not the Good Kind of attention.
Once you're feeling better about yourself, get involved in some activities that don't include Larry. Ideally, find a hobby where aficionados aren't interested in or don't even know about your famous friend. Bee-keeping, for example, or spoon-collecting. Find a pastime where you can excel and be admired for your achievements in it; you may find that surprisingly satisfying. You won't get written up in the tabloids, but being adored by boring people is just as good as being a real celebrity.
Good luck, and let me know how it comes out!
-- Dr. Eldritch
This has nothing to do with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Prison, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Very, Very Naughty Nurses, Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and Leopard-Walk-Up-to-Dragon, Harry Potter and the Golden Turtle, Harry Potter and the Crystal Vase, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy, Gregory Goyle, Vincent Crabbe, Head Wizard Albus Dumbledore, Professor Minerva McGonagall, Professor Severus Snape, Professor Quirrell, Professor Remus Lupin, Professor Sybil Trelawney, Professor Gilderoy Lockhart, Professor Sprout, Peter Pettigrew, Tonks, Argus Filch, Nearly Headless Nick, Sirius Black, Cornelius Fudge, The Ministry of Magic, the Sorting Hat, Uncle Vernon Dursley, Aunt Petunia Dursley, Dudley Dursley, Dursleys in general, The evil lord Voldemort, Tom Riddle, Basilisks, Hagrid, Buckbeak, Scabbers, Dobby the House Elf, Hogwarts School of Wizardry, Hogwarts Express, George Weasley, Fred Weasley, Percy Weasley, Mrs. Molly Weasley, slashy schoolboy hot sex, Ginny Weasley, Mr. Arthur Weasley, or J. K. Rowling at all.
Or even Barry Trotter and the Unauthorized Parody (aka Barry Trotter and the Shameless Parody), Barry Trotter and the Unnecessary Sequel, or Barry Trotter and the Dead Horse for that matter.