Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I don't own any characters, places, objects, or ideas associated with Harry Potter.
My answer to you is yes. If there were some way I could change my life, I would. I'd rather have been born to a different family. A family in which blood meant nothing and character meant everything - the Weasleys, for example. They've no idea how lucky they are, despite their poverty, despite their quirks. For the Weasleys, unlike my family, truly care for each other. They do not associate out of duty or necessity, but out of love and devotion. Yes, the Weasleys are both fortunate and good, and I was foolish to have not seen it long ago.
Yet, can I really be blamed for my blindness? It is, after all, how I was raised. Hate Muggles. Hate Mudbloods. Hate blood traitors. You cannot choose your family - I could not even choose my friends. Therefore, it is wrong, perhaps even cruel, to blame me for my parents. I can no more help my name or lifestyle than I can help my genetic traits. Perhaps, though, I could have changed my personality; I've seen enough by now to know I was wrong in the path I chose.
Yes, I chose my path. I chose to be friends with the wrong people, I chose to hate Mudbloods and blood traitors and Muggles and Albus Dumbledore. I chose to swear myself into the Dark Lord's service, and long before that, to become a bully, the forerunner of a Death Eater. And I paid the price for it. I had no friends, only sidekicks and followers; I had no love, only hatred. Worst of all, I had no courage, I had weakness in the form of a tattoo on my arm. That is the most shameful thing I could ever have, and it is the reason for my long-sleeved robes and my isolation. I choose to stay away from other witches and wizards in order to hide my past.
The looks I get when I do venture into society are enough to drive any man or woman to insanity. I am so recognizable, so obviously a sinner. My face alone is enough to send some into hysterics; I have been attacked, beaten, thrown onto the street from a bar. And of course I know I deserve any pain I receive. I did, after all, cause so many others agony. My life is a hell, and I take comfort in that fact.
Now you must think I am truly insane, and perhaps I am. But I do take comfort in my destruction, as surely as a child is delighted by candy. Nothing you say will change that fact, and I see no reason to hide it. I am simply being treated as I once treated others, back in the old days. And honestly, that's how it is for all of us, in the end. I shall die a murderer and an outcast, just as Albus Dumbledore died a benevolent curiosity, the only one who believed a boy's true tale. Yes, Dumbledore died far from how he should have, but at least he's gone.
It is pathetic, even I admit, that I cannot let go of my hatred so long after the fact. My hatred of both Dumbledore and the Dark Lord. One saved me by destroying me; the other destroyed me by saving me. How ironic that, by allowing me to attempt his assassination, Dumbledore lengthened my life. Then, the Dark Lord rescued his supporters from Azkaban until we were killed or, in my case, defeated, reprimanded, spanked like naughty little children. I should have been one of those lying on the blood-stained corridor floors of Hogwarts, but instead, I survived and was officially pardoned. What did I do to deserve such a punishment? Why, I committed the crime, of course!
I find it interesting, though, that so many of those who assisted Harry Potter agreed with the Dark Lord at some point. So many lied their way out Azkaban, and so many others merely hid their love of the Dark Lord's ways long enough that he was destroyed and they could pretend they'd hated him from the beginning. Too many sinners walk more freely than I. And far too many innocents are caught in cages. Metaphorical ones, of course, but cages all the same. For example, the former members of the Order of the Phoenix. By publicizing their involvement in the initial war on the Dark Lord, they ensured their public appearances will be received as excitedly as mine. Admittedly, theirs are probably more welcome. Still, I cannot say they have an easier time of it than I do.
My, but I'm becoming self-absorbed, aren't I? Of course, this is a letter about my life, but the fact of the matter is I'm becoming self-pitying. I haven't earned such a right. Then again, neither has Harry Potter, and he's always been quite the complainer. Am I sounding too bitter? I'm not trying to. My point is that the wizarding world's selfless hero, whatever his hardships were, has had a decent life, better than many people have. He had friends and food, though not til he was of school age. He has a family, children, a comfortable paycheck, many things I do not. No, my sympathies lie with the others who fought, from either side. All the unnamed warriors who fought for what they believed in, whether that was equality or power. I pity those who survived to become heroes and monsters, angels and devils, winners and losers. They are the ones who were brave enough to stick with their ideals, no matter the admiration or condescension pouring in from all sides. As someone who was felt both, I can say they are equally exhausting. We all make mistakes, causing either approval or anger, and we cannot help which we receive. I fall into the category of anger, because I allowed my decisions to be made for me. But still I am a person, with likes, dislikes, regrets, and - ultimately - the ability to do both right and wrong.
Now I've spent far too long writing a response to a simple question. "Do you regret what you did so long ago? Do you think it was your family, or would you have done it anyway?" Forgive me. Indulge me. I'm an old loner with few friends who misses the old social scene. I like to share my stories as much as the next elder. Why wouldn't I? I'm only human.
an. edited 12.14.10.
an. re-edited 01.22.12, because i'm a perfectionist. and also, because this fic is ending in the near future (probably) and i want it to be the best it can be. (refer back to the "perfectionist" comment for the reason why.)