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|“||Nadine... we're damned.||„|
|~ Harold's most famous line.|
Harold Lauder is a major antagonist in Stephen King's 1978 novel The Stand. He is a teenage boy, unpopular in his town, and whose parents always favored his sister, Amy. After the apocalypse, the demonic Randall Flagg and his lover Nadine Cross appeal to Harold's feelings of resentment and jealousy to transform him into a terroristic conspirator.
Harold is secretly in love with Frances Goldsmith, his sister's friend, and sees the apocalypse as a chance to win her heart by becoming her hero. However Fran remains as repulsed by Harold as she has always been. Despite his lack of social skills and insurance (at first) Harold is intelligent and uses his inventiveness to create various signs for other people during their journey to Stovington, Vermont. This earns him the respect of Larry Underwood. Stu Redman eventually joins their party and Fran falls for him, enraging Harold.
Harold teeters on the brink of good and evil, but eventually his envy and long-smoldering anger get the better of him. Nadine seduces him (literally) into Flagg's service, and the duo attempt to kill everyone on the Boulder Free Zone Committee with a makeshift dynamite bomb attached to a working walkie-talkie which has been placed in a shoe box.
When Nick Andros tries to remove the box, he does not hear Harold state his name and that he was committing the crime of his own volition due to his deafness. He and Nadine run for it and head toward Nevada. Harold hits an oil slick and falls down an embankment, breaking his leg. Nadine tells him that this was arranged by Flagg, who has decided that Harold is no longer of use to him. Harold attempts to shoot Nadine but fails. As he lays dying he writes a note apologizing for and accepting responsibility for his actions in Boulder. He signs the letter using the name given to him in the Free Zone, “Hawk”, then commits suicide by shooting himself.
Harold is driven mainly by anger and resentment. He was initially relieved when he noticed Frannie had also survived the epidemic, and thus he desired to rebuild with her. His lust for her enabled him to do heroic feats, such as leaving directions in dangerous places, pointing to Boulder. However, he quickly turned sour when they encountered Stu. He believed Stu had fallen for Frannie, and this angered Harold to the point of attempted assault on Stu. In Boulder, Harold was a good worker, but grew suspicious of how the labourers referred to plague victim corpses as objects rather than people. Eventually, he became delusional, and thought the town was against him and Nadine. His paranoid delusions lead to him writing a rambling diary filled with hate against mankind, and thus he was bitter enough to attempt assassination on the committee.
However, all was not truly lost for Harold, as he forgave the townspeople after realising Nadine's treachery. He even tried killing her, but failed as he was too badly injured, and he died with honour, after accepting his crimes.
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