So we reached the end of July which means it’s Harry Potters Birthday, and also the end of Potty for Potter month! I’ve had so much fun doing all my Potter-ish posts, and even though I didn’t manage to review all seven of the books I still filled my month with so much cool stuff.
So for my final post I wanted to talk about what Harry Potter aka J.K.Rowling taught me. Harry Potter is a worldwide phenomenon, but it all started off with one book about a young boy who went to magic school and as the book series grew so did the things J.K.Rowling taught us that made us all better and more magical human beings…
We are only Human
“Dumbledore says people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.” -Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
So much of the conflict in the Harry Potter series centers around greed and ego. We are all human beings and so all make mistakes and a lot of the time we are wrong. The Harry Potter series consistently reminds us to look at our own faults before tearing down others.
You Can Move on From Loss
“The things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end—if not always in the way we expect.” – Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Another big theme in the Harry Potter series is unexpected loss. Moving on from tragedy is something we all have to do at some point in our lives. We recover from loss by growing in unexpected ways, which happens a number of times across the series.
Respecting Others is Important
“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” – Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Muggleborns, Elves, Werewolves, Giants… the HarryPotter series is full of inequality. Harry however refuses to treat anyone like less of a friend, no matter their species or background. Everyone deserves respect, and this lesson that J.K.Rowling has taught us within this series is a powerful one.
Death is Inevitable
“To the well-organized mind, death is merely the next great adventure.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
An important theme explored in the Harry Potter series is death. Harry starts the series ridden with tragedy, but through the series and his own experiences he grows and learns that fearing death does nothing more then take away our ability to enjoy life.
Don’t Judge People by Appearance
As loony as Luna Lovegood seemed, she usually had the answer. Just because someone is too shy to speak up or are label as the ‘crazy’ one doesn’t mean what they have to say is any less important or interesting for that matter. Another point here has to be Hagrid, who is a massive hairy giant … who wouldn’t hurt a fly. People aren’t always what they seem to be, which is exactly the point J.K.Rowling continuously makes through the Harry Potter series with all the various characters she introduces us to.
Fear Can Be Beaten
“Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
As humans we tend to like to pretend something doesn’t exist if we fear it, it is more comforting for us. However this ignorance just causes us more problems. The Harry Potter series reminds its readers throughout that sometimes fear of a problem is actually much worse than the actual problem.
Courage Isn’t Always Standing Up To The Bad Guy
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Sometimes it’s not about standing up to the villain, it’s about the challenge of having to stand up to our friends. In Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone Neville requires just as much courage to stand up to his friends and Harry does to stand up to evil. J.K.Rowling reminds us that courage comes in all different forms.
When the Going Gets Tough…True Friends Will Stick With You
Ron and Hermione stuck with Harry through everything, and sure you may not need your friends to follow you into battle with Voldemort and his Death Eaters, but through Ron and Hermione J.K.Rowling shows us what true friendship is. It’s not always pretty, there was jealousy and anger and an almost fist fight, but when it came down to it Harry knew that they both had his back when he needed them.
Life is Nothing Without Love
“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Love is the closest thing to magic that we have, so in the Harry Potter universe, it’s only fitting that love has special powers too. Through Voldemort’s life choices we are reminded of just how bad life can be without love.
Family Does Not Have to be Blood Relatives
“Mrs. Weasley kissed all her children, then Hermione, and finally, Harry. He was embarrassed, but really quite pleased, when she gave him an extra hug.” – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Weasleys became Harry’s surrogate family over the course of the series, accepting him for exactly who he is, something that his blood relatives the Dursley’s never did. He and Ron grow up together as close as brothers with Molly knitting him sweaters at Christmastime and the twins teasing him like they would any of their siblings. J.K.Rowling reminds us a family is made out of love and not obligation.
Intelligence isn’t the most important thing
“Books and cleverness. There are more important things: friendship and bravery.” – Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
Ron and Harry were definitely not the brains of the group and were saved multiple times by Hermione. But their courage and heart sometimes did what Hermione’s book smarts couldn’t. Sure, it’s important to get an education, but not everyone is intelligent, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Choices Over Abilities
“It is our choices that tell us who we really are, far more than our abilities.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter’s life is always at the center of attention and speculation. But Harry learns that regardless of the abilities he’s born with and learns, the decisions he makes are far more critical for the future. This is a recurring theme throughout the books that shows all of us we can become what we choose and not what is expected of us.
Loss Does Not Define Us
“You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself plainly when you have need of him.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
This one kind of follows on from my previous lesson about loss. But in this way it is about not letting our loss define us. Harry loses a lot of people through this series and sure he mourns for these people, but far from letting their deaths overcome him he learns to treasure the memories he has of them and appreciate the time they spent together.
Your Illness Does Not Define You
Remus Lupin didn’t let his lycanthropy consume his life so why let the fact that you are in a wheelchair or that you have anxiety or in my case diabetes define who you are. It’s ok to be a little different then everyone else, but it’s also important to not let it stand in the way of who you want to be. Remus Lupin wanted to be a teacher, so J.K.Rowling made him a teacher. He wanted a family (no matter how much he denied it) so J.K.Rowling gave him a family.
Age is just a number
“Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Harry Potter series shows us that age is no barrier to what you can accomplish. Harry, Ron and Hermione conquer some pretty difficult and dangerous challenges in their youth. On the other end of the scale Dumbledore (who even knows who old he is?) remains a kick ass wizard who can hold his own against powerful wizards like Voldemort. This one just emphasizes even more that it is our choices and not our abilities that define who we are, and that the only things that limit us are our motivation and imagination.
Don’t Pretend to be Something You’re Not
We have probably all wished at some point that we were more then what we are, but J.K.Rowling shows us through Gilderoy Lockhart just how badly that can be. You are you, so why not just own it. Be a Luna rather then a Gilderoy. The time you spend faking could be better spent doing something you actually can do or enjoy doing.
Sometimes It’s Ok to Break the Rules
Rules were meant to be broken, right? That’s what J.K.Rowling is trying to teach us, yes? Well, not exactly. But through Harry Potter we are shown that there does come a time and place when the greater good warrants breaking a few suggested guidelines.
Hope Can Never Be Extinguished
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Alkaban
Throughout the course of the series, Harry Potter faces some truly troubling challenges. Despite the evil and darkness he fights, Harry is never willing to give up or grow jaded. This is a powerful reminder that each of us has the power to make the world a little brighter, regardless of our circumstances.
We may get older, but the magic is forever…
For those of us who got to grow up with Harry Potter our childhoods/teenage years were full of throught of magic potions, flying broomsticks and good conquering over evil. But most of all it’s the way the books made us feel and the friendship, good hearted people and love that filled them.
Harry Potter is so much more then just a book series now a days, but J.K.Rowling’s lessons live on through us and the story of a young boy who discovered the magic in the world.