It's honestly pretty hard to imagine what my childhood would have been like without the Harry Potter books and movies, and many Harry Potter quotes basically define adolescence for me. If you were lucky enough to grow up along with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, you probably know the feeling, though I also know many adults and younger children who have been similarly affected by the books and movies.
Not only was Harry Potter an important part of childhood, but the coming of age nature of the story provides excellent insight into growing up. The movies capture it perhaps even more effectively than the books, in that we're able to see the actors age from children to teens to young adults. The movies themselves aged with them, transforming from the magical fairytale of Sorcerer's Stone to the mysteries of The Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban to the humorous angst of Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, and Half-Blood Prince, to the soul searching darkness of the final two Deathly Hallows movies.
There are lots of quotes from the movies I can remember based on when my friends and I recited them, but many on reflection provide insight into childhood and growing up. Here are the Harry Potter movie quotes that best define adolescence.
1. "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends." — Albus Dumbledore
In a time in life when what your friends think about you seems crucial, this quote provided validation for sticking to your guns.
2. "What happened down in the dungeon between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret. So, naturally, the whole school knows." — Albus Dumbledore
Something the Harry Potter world got so right was the way gossip can spread around a school.
3. "I'm not going home. Not really." — Harry Potter
To Harry, the Dursleys' place wasn't home; Hogwarts was. These final words of the first movie demonstrated how important it is when growing up to have somewhere that feels like home.
4. "You're a wizard, Harry." — Hagrid
This iconic line also hints at the way all children want to feel special. And many of us actually wanted to be wizards. Or still do.
5. "It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices." — Albus Dumbledore
But even those who don't feel special can choose to become great.
6. "He called me a Mudblood." — Hermione Granger
I think the whole Mudblood allegory was a good opener to discussions of discrimination and hurtful language for many kids.
7. "Spiders... the spiders... they want me to tap-dance. And I don't want to tap-dance!" — Ron Weasley
A lighter line, this was one of the first truly funny moments from Harry Potter, and it was a great way to showcase the true accepting friendship between Ron and Harry.
8. "A child's voice, however honest and true, is meaningless to those who've forgotten how to listen." — Albus Dumbledore
Validation from Dumbledore himself that the grownups should listen to us.
9. "But you know happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light." — Albus Dumbledore
In childhood, it's important to remember that happiness can be a choice.
10. "That felt good." — Hermione Granger
Hermione punching Malfoy was a really badass moment from Harry Potter, and I remember it as a great girl power moment for angry ladies everywhere.
11. "Next time there's a ball, pluck up the courage to ask me before someone else does! And not as a last resort!" — Hermione Granger
The Yule Ball was a way to explore gender dynamics and romance. It was great to see Hermione stick up for herself to her friend and future love interest.
12. "Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy." — Albus Dumbledore
13. "We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on." — Sirius Black
The theme of choice appears a lot throughout the books and movies, and it resonates during our youth when our choices can seem daunting.
14. "One person couldn't feel all that. They'd explode!" — Ron Weasley
Once again, boys are clueless, and Hermione knows everything.
15. "I must not tell lies." — Dolores Umbridge
Harry and Umbridge's feud was a good lesson in fighting the system; even teachers should be disobeyed when they are wrong.
16. "You'll never know love, or friendship. And I feel sorry for you." — Harry Potter
Harry's sympathy for Voldemort provided a great lesson in dealing with enemies: kill them with kindness.
17. "Not to mention the pincers..." — Harry Potter
Just because it was so iconic.
18. "But I am the Chosen One." — Harry Potter
Harry got a little cocky, which happens to every young teen.
19. "Oh, to be young and to feel love's keen sting." — Albus Dumbledore
And everyone was like, ugh, I know, right.
20. "Morning!" — George Weasley
This happened when George interrupted Ginny and Harry's dramatic kiss, proving that your dramatic moments are hilarious to other people.
21. "The world's mental." — Ron Weasley
That is how it feels, isn't it?
22. "Not my daughter, you b*tch!" — Molly Weasley
Because our moms have our backs, no matter what.
23. "Always." — Severus Snape
Severus Snape and Lilly Potter's unrequited love story resonated with young heartbreak everywhere.
24. "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" — Albus Dumbledore
And with that, Dumbledore asked what we would all eventually wonder: is any of it real? Are we living in a simulation?
So, even if you didn't grow up with Harry Potter, the books and movies are a great way to relive childhood: the good, the bad, and the angst. After all, is there a more perfect time for a Harry Potter marathon than an early fall weekend?
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures; Giphy (24)