You remember the Head Boy, don’t you?
It’s hard to forget. Remember the boasts? The mocking laughter? The quickness he had, always quick to point out he was quicker than you? The pranks? Those friends of his egging him on? Remember how they jinxed you the day after the Quidditch match? Remember how lively and fortunate he was, how he had everything, while you seemed to have nothing, or at least so much less than he had?
I’ll bet you remember. But would it make a difference to you if I said he never would have done any of that, none of it, if he’d known what you might tell his son? Isn’t that important?
"Important?" you say, "Not at all." The important thing to remember about the Head Boy is his arrogance, after all. How he had everything. How fortunate and mocking he was. His son, sitting in front of you, may not know about that, but then it’s up to you to tell him, isn’t it? It’s up to you to crush the memory of the Head Boy. Because it would serve him right.
But the person in front of you is not arrogant. This person in front of you has been friendless, hasn’t he? You remember what happened in that year before the Battle, when he didn’t have much (when he had nothing, really). And you know the person sitting in front of you hasn’t been fortunate; you know he’s been downright Undesirable. And so you keep on remembering. You remember how Potter faced down other bullies, bullies bigger than him. You remember how he spoke up. The time you saw him in Diagon with his baby, and it looked like the child was his whole world. You remember how he fought. You remember opening the Prophet on November 1st and there he was under the headline, crumpled and broken and alone, with his wife rotting somewhere in the upstairs of in their ruined house.
You remember. You hate him, but you remember. And it isn’t Harry Potter’s fault that you hate him. So you answer, “Your dad was Head Boy for our year. I remember. And I remember he gave up everything. A real hero, your dad.”
And when you’re far from here it will occur to you that you haven’t lied. You could have said that he had everything, and you could have said that having everything made him a bully. But he gave up everything too, didn’t he? He gave up everything in the end.
So it turns out that you said the important thing. The thing worth remembering.