Harry Potter: Life Lessons

In honor of the end of Harry Potter, and subsequently the end of my childhood, I present life lessons learned from my 13 year relationship with HP books and movies.

Spoilers ahead for those who’ve not finished the movies and/or books

 

Number 1:

Your abusive guardian(s) may serve some purpose after all besides making your life a living hell.

For example:

Dumbledore didn’t just drop Harry off at the Dursely’s to help build his character.

Honestly there were better people to leave him with, friends, professors, even the Wesley family, (whom would have known the Potters’ from being in The Order of the Phoenix together).

Dumbledore left Harry with them because his mother died protecting him thus enacting a blood spell shared by presumably any maternal family left. So leaving Harry with Petunia sheltered him from being found and killed/harmed by Voldemort.

In the real world J.K. herself had what I would call an abusive dad who decided she was no longer good enough to talk to anymore.

So next time your parent or guardian does something horrible, just think, if you survive you might be able to write or do some other inspired work that can make you money and make you feel a whole lot better about your past plight.

 

Number 2

When an authority figure seems to hate you, there is always way more story than you will ever know.

There's serious pain in those eyes.

Example:

Severus Snape. Sure he doesn’t have the warmest, fluffiest feelings for Harry, but he goes undercover and stays there until the moment of his death because of his love for Lilly Potter. Because he loves Lilly so much, by proxy he both loves and resents Harry. He always goes out of his way to protect Harry, and even Harry’s friends.

This proves that you can never fully know someone, especially an older/adult authority or family figure.  There are always secrets.

 

Number 3

Secrets are often times necessary, but if you keep too many you end up in isolation and sometimes giving the wrong impression.

Example:

Dumbledore, Snape, Petunia

Almost every character in the series keeps secrets to protect themselves, protect others, or keep some sense of self separate from people who love them.

Dumbledore does this with his brother and sister, and the truth of Harry being a horcrux. He goes so deep into keeping secrets that he cuts his brother off emotionally, and cause Harry to doubt him. The only purpose it serves to remind us and the characters that Dumbledore is human. Often times he comes off as a wise, ascended to higher consciousness being, but in the end he was a good man who made mistakes as a conflicted young man.

Petunia keeps the secret from everyone that she desperately wanted to be a witch. Her aversion to magic and the “freaks” is because of her jealously of Lilly. She bottled up her anger and pain to the point of where she believed she hated magic. Her secrets became her reality, cutting her off from a meaningful relationship with Lilly, and Harry.

 

Number 4

No matter how talentless and useless you may seem or feel, your moment will come.

Before

After

Example: Neville Longbottom

Throughout the series, Neville is a good hearted, well-meaning friend and student. However, he is usually bad at everything, save herbology, is extremely clumsy, and kind of funny looking.

Throughout all the years of messing things up, being ignored or worse, mocked, Neville really came to his own in the last film and book.

First off, in movies he grows into a very handsome young man. So he has that on his side.

He also becomes an action hero, something previously thought impossible, (though I think there was an inkling when he helped fight off death eaters in Order of the Phoenix). He fights death eaters,  stands up to Voldemort, and kills Nagini.

He doesn’t get to kill Bellatrix, but I give that one to Molly, Bella did after all kill her son.

 

Number 5

Death is not that big of the deal for those who’ve died. It is always worse for those left behind.

Example:

Everyone who has died with an intact soul.

Death is a huge issue for the living and the ghosts in Harry Potter. Just like for us muggles,  death is fear because of its uncertainty. Will it hurt? What will happen? Will I still exist? Where will I go?

As Sir Nicholas says in the books, for those who fear it too much when it comes, they stay on the earthly plane, as ghosts, as cowards.

But for those who do accept their death and are okay and move onward, there is more. I would daresay a peace.

So as we are saying goodbye, we are the ones left behind to mourn the characters who’ve we have lost and the story that we wish could continue forever.

“”Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.”- Albus Dumbledore