For my write-up today on Stephen King’s The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition, I’ll revise somewhat my impression of Harold Lauder. In my post here, I said that my impression of Harold as he appears in the book was not favorable, for Harold struck me as cold because he was not sad about the deaths of his parents to the superflu. I also felt that Harold was not as much of a gentleman in the book as he was in the TV miniseries. So far, I still think that Harold in the book has a vulgar side. But I see in Chapter 36 that he has started to weep over his parents’ deaths, for, while he initially felt that their deaths did not phase him as much as he expected, he is beginning to feel their absence. He was afraid of his strong, blue-collar father, and he felt that his mother preferred his older and popular sister Amy, who was embarrassed by Harold. But he notes that his mother was never unkind to him, and so he misses her.
In my post, I also wondered if Harold would try to go to the Centers for Disease Control in Vermont, when he expressed skepticism about the government, as he speculated that the superflu was the result of a government botch-up. It turns out that he will try to go to the CDC in Vermont, for other people might be there. After all, he notes, if anyone knows about the precautions to take for the superflu, it’s the people at the CDC. As I touched on in my post, Authority, many—threatened with chaos—will consider a far-less-than ideal authority to be better than no authority at all.
Harold also demonstrates a concern for the well-being of strangers when he paints on a barn that he and Fran are going to the CDC in Vermont, as well as paints directions to the CDC. That is so that other survivors can go there. I think I read on wikipedia that Harold’s sign actually helps Larry Underwood. Harold struck me as someone who only cared about himself when he took an expensive car that belonged to someone who had just died of the superflu. But he’s not thoroughly cold, for he does attempt to help people out with the sign. From what I have read on wikipedia, Harold’s struggle with the good and evil in himself will be a significant element of the book.
On a side note, was Harold really cold to take a car that belonged to a dead person? I thought so, but he’d probably say that life is for the living, so why worry? I didn’t have much of a problem with Larry and Rita taking food from the grocery store.