Guess what?!?! This is my 100th post!!! Who knew I would have so much to write about? Since this is such a special moment, I figured I could not write about any old thing; instead, I chose to write about a topic very near and dear to my heart: Harry Potter.
Recently, I started reading The Mortal Instruments series, which has been great so far, even though I feel like there is TOO much emphasis on the teenage love story that’s involved (but it hasn’t stopped me from reading all five books in the span of one month). Matt asked me if I was as excited for that series as I was for the Harry Potter series.
Is that even a real question?! There will never be another series that can capture my heart the way Harry Potter did.
I started reading about HP and his trials and tribulations when I was in middle school, and the final book was released when I was going into my junior year of college. As you can see, I grew up with those books…they practically raised me! (Okay, so my parents were the ones who raised me, but you get what I’m saying.) While I may not have been slaying evil wizard overlords and riding around on hippogriffs, I certainly faced my own set of challenges during those years, and the HP books were always a source of comfort and familiarity.
Let’s be honest–the vast amount of feelings I have for HP cannot be put into words, nor can it be contained in a single blog post. However, I will do my very best to impart just a few of the lessons I learned from Harry Potter, that made an impact on my life and have remained with me all these years.
1.Girls are more than just a pretty face
Hermione is probably one of my very favorite literary characters of all time. I always made good grades (what am I saying? I made THE BEST grades!), but I never felt particularly pretty or popular, which at the time seemed like a bigger deal to me. I loved Hermione because I identified with her so much–I was, at times, an “insufferable know-it-all” and often felt very lonely. However, Hermione never tried to change who she was (although she did become a little less insufferable), and look at all the amazing she accomplished: she was the smartest girl in school, she was loyal to her friends, faced down a giant all by herself, encountered a troll and didn’t have a nervous breakdown, had an international quidditch star wrapped around her finger, AND helped save the entire world from the evils of Voldemort. Now THAT’S a role model.
|Don’t look so modest, Hermione.|
2. Nobody likes an elitist
Like I said, I read the HP books during my formative years, and it really hammered home the lesson that you shouldn’t look down upon people who are different. This was a recurring theme throughout the novels (I mean, OBVI, the whole problem was that Voldy-mort thought Purebloods were the best bloods), but it made the biggest impact on me in the very first book, when Harry turned down being friends with Draco and decided to remain friends with Ron. That moment set the tone, for me, for the rest of the series. My heart broke every time someone called Hermione a “mudblood,” Umbridge made my blood boil, and I was utterly devastated when Dobby died. Thanks JK, for making me believe, without question, that “it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”
|That kind of attitude is not acceptable, Lucille!
3. Labels don’t define us
Remember the king of cotton-headed ninnymuggins, Neville Longbottom? Yeah he excelled in the DA and ended up slaying Nagini, a horcrux, and basically paving the way for our hero HP to save the day.
|He also got hot.|
Remember Dobby? He got hated on for being a “house elf” but saved our protagonists from Death Eaters and Voldy-Mort. And last, but certainly not least, remember
Snake Snape? Raise your hand if you hated him from the very beginning, and then felt REAL bad when you realized he was looking out for Harry the ENTIRE TIME.
My hand is raised.
It’s funny, I don’t think I ever trusted Snape until he killed Dumbledore. At that point, the only thing I could believe was that JK had SOMETHING up her sleeve–and she did! And she liked it! (Name that movie.)
The point is, there will always be someone out there who wants to label you, and you’ve got to let that go. YOU are the only person who gets to decide which label will stick, and which will burn to the ground. Remember what Dumbledore said? “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
4. It takes a village.
Harry Potter may have been “The Chosen One,” but he did not defeat Voldemort all on his own. It took the support of his BFFLs, Ron and Hermione, The Order, The DA, and countless others to destroy the Horcruxes, take down the Death Eaters, and ultimately bring about the downfall of THE WORST wizard ever. This is probably the reason why I believe SO strongly in having a supportive community. No man is an island, and we all need help sometimes. The point of being surrounded by a loving community is that they will be there for you through the hard times–even if it means you’re not going to come out the other side, because, ya know, neither can live while the other survives.
5. Keep fighting that good fight.
Most importantly, HP and friends instilled in me the belief that light will always prevail over dark. I understand now that is a bit naive, but I still believe in holding fast and doing what is right. I might sound like a walking peer pressure commercial, but WHATEVER. Voldemort had no love for anyone–and in the end, that destroyed him. Harry had love, friendship, compassion, and all other sorts of awesome qualities that helped him win out over the Dark Lord.
Do you see now? I will never feel the same way about a book. These books have basically defined my entire life, so much so that I struggle to put it into words (even writing down only five things was a challenge). One day, when I have children of my own, I can only hope they will love these books as much as I do, and will learn that love and kindness towards others is always the right choice.