I am confident that I am the person who I am today because of Harry Potter. The series taught me so much about myself, about the world around me, about the power of goodness. So often am I guided by Dumbledore's words, or pushed forward by the series' spirit. I am proud to label myself as one of the Harry Potter Generation, because I believe the title is one of hope and of strength.
Harry Potter is so much more than a series about a boy wizard. It's filled with love, loss, hope, prejudice, choice, power, freedom, and discovery. It's about where we find goodness in ourselves and in others, about the relationships between people and the world around them, and the struggle we all have to do what's right.
As we follow Harry to Hogwarts, we get more than just lessons in Potions and Transfiguration. As we fight alongside him, we experience more than just a battle between a hero and a villain. We meet people and creatures of all calibers, we live through pain and through suffering, we see people come together despite their differences. The story and its world are completely intertwined with valuable teachings about life, humanity, and the magic that exists within all of us.
1. There Isn't Always a Clear Line Between Good and Evil
We see it time and time over, with Draco, with Snape, and even in Ron and in Sirius. Just as Draco and Snape are motivated to dark acts through good intentions, many "good" wizards are guilty of prejudice and moral weakness. Every person has their own faults, their own challenges, and their own triumphs as they navigate this world. The world isn't full of just bad guys and good guys. As Sirius says: “The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters. We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.”
2. In Every Situation, We Always Have the Power of Choice
In every moment, Harry's (and, indeed, every character's) choices are what shapes their fate. There are the obvious moments (like, when he tells the Sorting Hat not to place him in Slytherin), but also smaller, significant choices, like how he decides to treat Kreacher. Harry Potter is a true testament to the fact that we hold power over our future.
3. Every Person Has Their Own Strengths
We could seriously call this the Neville Longbottom principle, but we see it everywhere. Remember when clumsy, bashful Neville stood up to Harry, Ron, and Hermione in Sorcerer's Stone? And then showed his mad Herbology skills? And then stood up to Lord Voldemort like a baller? We see so many characters who are told they don't have potential come into their own. Heck, it's the very first thing that happens to Harry; after a childhood of being told he's worthless, he finds out he has magical powers and has already saved the world.
4. Everyone Has a Place for Them in the World
Before Harry found out he was a wizard, he felt very much alone in the world. But then, he found a home and a family in Hogwarts. We see over and over again characters who find where they belong, from the deep bonds within the Houses, to the personal freedom gained by Dobby, to Luna Lovegood's experience with Dumbledore's Army.
5. Humor Makes a Huge Difference
We learned this lesson most of all from the Weasley twins. With Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and even before, they demonstrate how even the darkest of times can be brightened by even the smallest of jokes.
6. There is Power in Empathy
As he makes his way through the world, Harry encounters and empathizes with numerous people and creatures, and he is constantly seeing his own experiences in others. Even Voldemort. Harry shares many characteristics with Lord Voldemort, and as he learns about Voldemort and his life, he often finds himself relating to him. Throughout the series, we see how Harry's ability to empathize gives him strength, companionship, and insight.
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