9 and 3/4 things Harry Potter Taught Us
By Sarah Kneath
1. Friendships can overcome a lot of obstacles
From their very first term at Hogwarts right through to the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry, Ron and Hermione were faced with a number of challenges and obstacles including (but certainly not limited to) three-headed dogs, whomping willows, werewolves, love potions, handsome quidditch players and not to mention the continuous threat of death by none other than You-Know-Who himself. Despite a slight hiatus during the Triwizard Cup and let’s not forget that horrible moment when the three of them were on the run from snatchers and Ron leaves them (gulp), they remained BFF’s.
We can’t talk about friendship without mentioning the original Marauders. James Potter, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin (the less said about that slime-ball Peter Pettigrew, the better. Admittedly, there are some friendships that can’t last deceit, murder and devotion to the Dark Lord). Sirius was dedicated to defending his name as the thought of James Potter’s son growing up to think ill of him, literally helped him to escape from prison. And then there’s Remus, he helped bring Pettigrew to justice to defend his friend’s name. And then made Harry the godfather of his son (gulp gulp).
And let’s not forget some of the other characters… Neville, Luna, Seamus, Dean, Fred, George, Cho… the list goes on.
2. If in doubt – head to the library and read a book
As a notorious bookworm and a self-proclaimed nerd, the fact that when faced with any kind of peril, challenge or problem young Hermione took herself to the library to find a book to help.
She believes so much in finding the answer in books that she encourages Harry to break into the restricted section…
Whether it was searching for Nicholas Flamel, helping Harry to breathe under water or simply hiding out when Ron was otherwise engaged (ahem) with Lavender Brown, Hermione was in the library. And I LOVE that about her.
3. Nice guys don’t always finish last – look to you Neville Longbottom
Ah Neville, excluding the fact that actor Matthew Lewis, who played Neville got ridiculously handsome after finishing the movie franchise, there are many other reasons why Neville should be celebrated.
It could have been him! It could have been him all along facing the wrath of He Who Must Not Be Named, only Lord V decided that Harry would be his nemesis when the prophecy was made.
Growing up with his parents in hospital and raised by his grandmother, Neville was very much the butt of everyone’s jokes; teased relentlessly for being forgetful, tortured by Snape and belittled by Malfoy and his gang of cronies.
Neville was instrumental in the defeat of ol’ Snake Eyes as well! If he hadn’t have killed Nagini, the final Horcrux, Harry couldn’t go on to win the battle. Only a true Gryffindor could summon the sword and use it. And my goodness he used it.
Neville went on to be an Auror for a short while, before becoming a Professor of Herbology at Hogwarts. He also married Hannah Abbott – landlady at the Leaky Cauldron, thus proving nice guys don’t always finish last.
4. Bravery can come in many guises
They don’t come much braver than Severus Snape. Now I spent most of the last three books flipping from being utterly outraged at him to sobbing uncontrollably at the mere mention of his name.
A complex character, who was so desperately in love with Harry’s mother Lily, that he was quite literally tortured by the sheer presence of Harry – a boy whose likeness was so unbelievably like his father’s, a man Snape despised.
Snape was so troubled as a youngster, that joining the Death Eaters was appealing to him, he was suddenly part of something. All that changed the moment when Lily Potter was murdered by Lord Voldemort. From there on, he became an ally to Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix.
“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
5. Face your fears head on
There are a lot of instances in the Harry Potter series, where characters have to face up to their fears. Harry, on many occasions squaring up to Lord V, Hagrid going back to Azkaban when he’s wrongly accused of opening the Chamber of Secrets, The D.A. challenging Professor Umbridge… The list goes on…
The one that sticks out the most for me is when Ron has to “follow the spiders” in Chamber of Secrets. Spider phobias are nothing to be scoffed at and that must have taken some serious willpower to follow them, so well done Ron.
“Harry the spider! they want me to tap dance. I don’t want to tap dance!”
6. Never mess with a mum who faces losing everything
Molly Weasley, possibly literature’s most “mumsy” mum? She wants to look after everyone and despite having seven children, she still cares about Harry and Hermione as if they’re her own. Not only are they featured on her family clock, she sends them gifts on their birthday’s and at Christmas.
Molly Weasley is fiercely loyal and very protective of her family. This is very evident in the Battle of Hogwarts when Ginny is battling with the evil Bellatrix Lestrange. Mrs Weasley steps in and well… Destroys her.
In the final book, there is a moment when Ron questions his loyalty to Harry and disappears off on his own, not only breaking Hermione’s heart but also devastating Harry in the process (even though he would never admit it out loud).
I know some people aren’t huge fans of the films (yes, they did leave LOADS out… But I really enjoy them), one of my favourite scenes is when Ron comes back. It still makes me so happy.
Harry was very quick to forgive his best mate, Hermione did take some convincing but got there eventually. They didn’t hold grudges, they just forgave everything that had happened up until that point drew a line under it.
“Ron’s ears turned bright red and he become engrossed in a tuft of grass at his feet, which he prodded with his toe ‘he must’ve known I’d run out on you’.
‘No’, Harry corrected him, ‘He must’ve known you’d always want to come back”
8. Looks can be deceiving
Gilderoy Lockhart, yes he’s devilishly handsome, he’s got perfectly quaffed hair and he’s such a charmer. Everyone admired him. But what a fraudster!
Turns out Lockhart got to where he was in life by lying and stealing other people’s glory. That’s not to say that he was a bad wizard, just incredibly lazy and not quite the hero that he made out. He became ridiculously unstuck when in Harry’s second year, the Chamber of Secrets was opened once more and he was called on to save the day. But nope, he manages to cast a memory charm that backfires and hits him in the face. Rumour has it, he’s currently occupying a room in St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
‘Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defence League and five times winner of Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming-Smile Award – but I don’t talk about that. I didn’t get rid of the Bandon Banshee by smiling at her!’
9. Weird is actually rather wonderful
One of my favourite characters in the Harry Potter books is Luna. She’s so incredibly quirky, caring and funny.
A lot of the students tease her for being strange and different but really Luna is just like anybody else on the inside and a truly wonderful friend. Whether she was sat reading a magazine upside down, reassuring Harry the first time he encounters a Thestral or even when she saves Ron and Ginny from Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries – Luna Lovegood is just incredible.
‘Oh, yes,’ said Luna, ‘I’ve been able to see them ever since my first day here. They’ve always pulled the carriages. Don’t worry. You’re just as sane as I am.’
¾’s. Never trust a giant with a secret
If there’s one thing you learn from reading the Harry Potter series (or indeed watching the films), it’s that you probably shouldn’t trust a giant with a secret. Just saying…