In honor of May 2, the Battle of Hogwarts (as well as International Day of Harry Potter), I decided to write about the topic I love the most. Or the life lessons hidden in the simple sentences of the books (also in movies).
Lots of people think that Harry Potter (from now on HP) is children’s literature, that it can’t be the favorite book of an adult, that it’s a phase that goes away. I’m 24 years old, I’ve been a fan of it since 6-7, and I can assure you, it’s not a phase, it’s not for children.
Yes, of course it’s got lots of magic and wizardry, something that is considered to be more for kids, but there’s so much more apart from the fantasy and action. There’s so much psychology, philosophy, many amazing metaphors, understandings of different spheres of life etc. Rowling did an amazing job by writing something, that a person of any age can find something beneficial and interesting in. And the more you grow up, the more you find new fascinating nuances both in the plot and in the reflection of characters and events. I guess that’s why many people who re-read the books, always say that it’s like their first time reading it, because of all the hidden things that become obvious throughout time.
So with this post, I want to get a little deeper and tell the things that are so valuable in HP universe, and bring some of my favorite quotes, that can be used in our normal world on a daily basis.
1. Friendship. I love how realistic friendship is described here. It shows how true friends love and support each other no matter what. That friends can actually become family. But it doesn’t mean that it has to be perfect. In the example of Harry, Ron and Hermione, it shows three completely different people, with their own dissimilar characteristics and lots of flaws. But true friends can put aside all that, overcome all the hard things, like anger, envy and jealousy, misunderstandings, difference of values and priorities etc. It also shows how with friends it gets possible to “conquer the world“, to fight the evil, while when you’re alone, you get vulnerable and easy to defeat.
- Books and cleverness – there are more important things; friendship and bravery.
- We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.
- If I were You-Know-Who, I’d want you to feel cut off from everyone else. Because if it’s just you alone, not as much of a threat.
- Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.
2. Love. Same with love. It shows love in so many aspects of life, not only romantic one, but also love among people, friends, families, even for animals and creatures. Love was the reason Voldemort couldn’t kill Harry, because it is much stronger than any kind of evil power. The opposite of the darkest and most dangerous magic is something as simple as love, that’s how Harry fights Voldemort many many times. The concept of family is also very important here, you see total strangers, who find comfort in each other and become family (like Order of Phoenix). You see real families, that are happy just because they got each other and care for each other, despite the lack of money, the living conditions and many other circumstances. You truly understand the concept of home, that it doesn’t have to be a big and expensive mansion, in order for you to feel yourself good, safe, loved and protected.
- You’re the one who is weak. You will never know love or friendship. And I feel sorry for you.
- Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.
- Love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves it’s own mark. To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.
- The ones that love us never really leave us. You can always find them in our hearts.
- You are protected, in short, by your ability to love.
3. Fear. Fear is represented mostly through Boggarts, which are creatures that take form of whatever the person fears the most. The best spell against it? Laughter! It is extremely hard to get rid of what you’re afraid of, to be completely fearless, but once you change your attitude, and perceive them from another angle, it becomes easier to escape them to some extent.
- Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.
- So the boggart sitting in the darkness within has not yet assumed a form. He does not yet know what will frighten the person on the other side of the door. Nobody knows what a boggart looks like when he is alone, but when I let him out, he will immediately become whatever each of us most fears.
- It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.
- The charm that repels a boggart is simple, yet it requires force of mind. You see, the thing that really finishes a boggart is laughter. What you need to do is force it to assume a shape that you find amusing.
- That suggests that what you fear most of all is — fear. Very wise, Harry.
4. Depression and happiness. The metaphor for depression are other creatures called Dementors. They suck out the happiness out of you. And the sadder, the more devastated and down you already feel, the worse is the effect of dementors on you. That exactly represents how depression works. If you’re constantly in the field of negativity, more and more destructive and bad things will get stuck to you. The cure for this one are two simple things: happy thoughts and memories, and chocolate. You have to remember and bring back the happiest memories ever from your life, to remind yourself that there are so many things that are worth living for and that happiness is an inside feeling, something not connected with external factors.
- Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
- Harry, suffering like this proves you are still a man! This pain is part of being human … the fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength.
- Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them.
- Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself — soul-less and evil.
5. Characters. Characters in HP deserve a whole separate post, and even that won’t be enough. Compared to other books, here all the characters have so much depth in them. You can see the good even in the bad person (like Snape or Malfoy family), and you can see that even the “perfect” people, who are the strongest, wisest and kindest can also have a dark history and imperfections (as Dumbledore). Even Harry himself isn’t the ideal protagonist. Most of the time he has absolutely no idea of what’s going on, but that’s the point of him, and all the others being just people, just teenagers. There are so many characters in here, that you can’t simply classify into good or bad, because you see them as people with problems and difficulties, you understand their reasons of being bad, vicious and cruel. HP kind of breaks that stereotype of people being good or bad, it shows that we all have both sides. The movies don’t really represent all of that, they rather show one side of the characters, like they showed Hermione as this perfect, smart, pretty girl, who is an excellent friend, but in reality (well, in books) she also has lots of annoying and bad features.
- If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.
- Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.
- The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.
6. Choices. Coming from the last quote, it’s our choices that “classify” us, rather than our skills and abilities. We see the battle of choices between Harry, two souls in him fighting to take control. We see it in Draco and Snape, struggling to make the right choice and ending up taking the wrong side and facing its consequences. We see how people can change their fate or destiny by making one wrong or right decisions (like Pettigrew, Snape again or Percy). This part is strongly correlated to the last one, because again it shows all the forms of human nature. We all have two parts fighting in us, and being “good or bad” mostly depends on the choices we make.
- It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.
- It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
- Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.
7. Political and social “affairs”. From around 5th book, when everything becomes more serious, you can also find the filthy world of press, politics, power and discrimination. Those who are in power, take control of everything, manipulate people the way they want. And no point of saying that it completely represents our world, and most of our governments. You see lies being told as truths and vice versa. As for “social affairs”, it mostly consists of judgements, prejudices and fake stereotypes. The separation of blood statuses (pure-blood, half-blood, mudblood), even the one of four houses. People often form opinions about others not based on their actual quality, but on artificial things, like status, racial and other identities. You can see how people are treated with disrespect, just because they’re of a “different breed“, like Lupin who was more seen as a werewolf rather than a good, wise person and great teacher, or Hagrid, who was accused of a crime partly because he was different, a half-giant in the first place. And lots of people didn’t see how kind and warm-hearted he was, they only saw him as a “dangerous creature” and therefore noticed his failures and mistakes more than anything else. And those who have a special “status” are automatically treated as the cream of society, without taking into consideration their actual characteristics and features.
- The truth. It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.
- It is the quality of one’s convictions that determines success, not the number of followers.
- I am what I am, an’ I’m not ashamed. ‘Never be ashamed,’ my ol’ dad used ter say, ‘there’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth botherin’ with.
- Perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.
- There are some wizards, who think they’re better than everyone else because they’re what people call pure-blood. I mean, the rest of us know it doesn’t make any difference at all.
I’m gonna stop with 7, since it’s a magical number in the Wizarding World, also if no one stops me, I can ramble on like this for hours. These aren’t everything that you can find in HP books and partly movies, because it’s impossible to shortly represent everything mentioned in the seven parts. I’m really glad that I got to learn these messages once again with HP and that they helped, and still helping me going through difficulties in understanding what’s right and wrong.