“After all this time? Always.” – J.K Rowling
*CLICHE HARRY POTTER POST ALERT* (I don’t even care, I’m Harry Potter obsessed and proud)
It goes without saying that the Harry Potter series defined a generation. Actually, that doesn’t even do it justice, because it defined more than one. Being born in 1994, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone is the first ‘big’ book I remember reading, the first book without pictures that managed to enthral me enough to struggle through it at 5 years old. I grew up with Harry, because I don’t even remember a time before he existed, and by the time the final film came out I was nearly as old as he was. But he didn’t only define my generation. My grandma loves Harry Potter just as much as I do, and I know that a lot of people a few years older than me, who were 11 when Harry first got his letter, feel a deep connection to the series.
But the series isn’t just an incredible fantasy story about wizards and magical creatures and an evil being that is eventually defeated. There are some important lessons that Harry taught me and plenty of other children, some of which are obvious and some which are much more subtle. This post discusses just a few of the multitude of lessons that J.K. Rowling taught an entire generation of people.
1.The Government is not always to be trusted.
The Ministry of Magic is a prime example of the ways in which the people in power can fail the people they are supposed to protect. The MOM imprisons people with no cause, pardons people if they can offer money or information, and seems to know everything about each and every witches/wizards medical history (i.e whether they are pure-blood, half-blood or muggle born). Whilst a made up government in a made up world, there are some scary parallels between the Ministry of Magic and some real life governments.
2. Whilst you’re at it, don’t believe everything you read.
Rita Skeeter – need I say more?
3. There is more than one way to be brave.
As Dumbledore very wisely says to Neville –
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
4. People who are different are always ostracised, whether this is right or not.
Hagrid, Firenze, Remus Lupin and all of the Squibs in the world of Harry Potter are just a few examples of people who are ostracised purely because they are different. Harry and his friends taught us that there is no reason to subscribe to this way of thinking, and some of the most important people in Harry’s life are those who are exiled by society.
5. Morality is never black and white …
and its important to understand that it’s the side you choose to act on that really defines you.
(crying emoji face because Sirius Black)
6. Stereotypes can be wrong.
Peter Pettigrew was a Gryffindor, but I’m sure that nobody would ever call him brave. Regulus Black may have been a Slytherin but he was brave enough to defy the Dark Lord right under his nose (so to speak) just as Severus Snape did.
7. Love is one of the most powerful things in the world.
This is one of the most obvious and powerful messages from the series, J.K repeats it constantly.
8. It doesn’t matter where we come from – we are all equal.
A very apt lesson, I believe, given the world’s current situation.
9. Just because something is happening inside your head, doesn’t mean that it isn’t real.
For people who struggle with mental illness, who are often told ‘it’s just in your head’, Dumbledore reminds them that just because nobody else can see it, doesn’t make it any less real.
10. “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”
Sometimes we need to remember how powerful words can be – and make sure we use them wisely.
11. Always be yourself.
Luna Lovegood showed everyone that it’s ok to be a little weird sometimes. Who cares what everyone else thinks of you as long as you’re happy.
12. Never go to the toilet alone.
From Mountain Trolls to giant Basilisks, it’s no wonder girls always go to the toilets in pairs.
13. Money can’t buy happiness.
The Weasleys are proof that it’s not what you have but what you do with it that matters. Whilst they don’t have a lot of money, they are a very happy family that love each other and welcome Harry into their home without a second thought. Compare them to the Malfoys who have all the money they could need, but lack happiness.
14. Good friends keep you out of trouble, best friends get into it with you.
15. Sometimes you have to face your battles alone…
When it comes to Harry’s final battle, he knows that nobody else can help him. Sometimes you can only rely on yourself, and whilst this is terrifying it’s also empowering.
16. … Although you wont really ever be alone.
“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?” – Albus Dumbledore
17. Family is more than just blood.
Although the Dursleys are Harry’s blood relatives, the deeper connections he makes with characters like Sirius and Lupin, as well as the Weasleys and Dumbledore, prove that sometimes blood really isn’t thicker than water.
18. Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine.
The success of Fred and George’s joke shop in the times of turmoil proves that a bad situation can be made slightly better just by simply trying to have some fun.
19. And the most important lesson of all – always have hope.
No matter how bad it seems, things will always get better. Props to Steve Kloves who wrote the screenplays for the films for creating one of the most iconic lines in the Harry Potter Universe.