Who can forget the moment in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when Harry vanishes the glass at the zoo, and Uncle Vernon shuts him in the cupboard, hissing, “There’s no such thing as magic!”
It was a moment sizzling with anticipation, because as young Harry Potter fans, we knew that Uncle Vernon was so, so wrong. Magic was real, and Harry had no idea what enchanting world was waiting just beyond his reach.
The thing I love so much about stories like Harry Potter, in which an ordinary person experiences extraordinary things, is that as readers we get to experience it alongside them. Though you can point out that Hogwarts isn’t real, and that we all live in a Muggle world without magic, the truth is that Harry Potter allows us to experience the magical world. It is real in the sense that we can travel there purely through imagination. And isn’t that a kind of magic all on its own?
The idea that a kid would go to an entire school dedicated to learning magical spells and studying fantastic creatures and playing a sport on a flying broomstick will always be compelling to me. And I will always treasure quotes from the series that point out just how magical the magic is.
1. A tinkling bell rang somewhere in the depths of the shop as they stepped inside. It was a tiny place, empty except for a single, spindly chair that Hagrid sat on to wait. Harry felt strangely as though he had entered a very strict library; he swallowed a lot of new questions that had just occurred to him and looked instead at the thousands of narrow boxes piled neatly right up to the ceiling. For some reason, the back of his neck prickled. The very dust and silence in here seemed to tingle with some secret magic.
—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
2. "Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all we do here! And now, bedtime. Off you trot!"
—Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
3. "You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potionmaking," he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but they caught every word — like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a class silent without effort.
"As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses.... I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
—Severus Snape, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
4. "Hope you have — er — a good holiday," said Hermione, looking uncertainly after Uncle Vernon, shocked that anyone could be so unpleasant.
"Oh, I will," said Harry, and they were surprised at the grin that was spreading over his face. "They don't know we're not allowed to use magic at home. I'm going to have a lot of fun with Dudley this summer...."
—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
5. “I knew too where Voldemort was weak. And so I made my decision. You would be protected by an ancient magic of which he knows, which he despises, and which he has always, therefore, underestimated — to his cost. I am speaking, of course, of the fact that your mother died to save you."
—Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
6. "Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain."
—Arthur Weasley, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
7. "Harry, I can't believe it.... You conjured up a Patronus that drove away all those dementors! That's very, very advanced magic."
"I knew I could do it this time," said Harry, "because I'd already done it.... Does that make sense?"
—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
8. "Pettigrew owes his life to you. You have sent Voldemort a deputy who is in your debt.... When one wizard saves another wizard's life, it creates a certain bond between them... and I'm much mistaken if Voldemort wants his servant in the debt of Harry Potter."
"I don't want a connection with Pettigrew!" said Harry. "He betrayed my parents!"
"This is magic at its deepest, its most impenetrable, Harry. But trust me... the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew's life."
—Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
9. "Time and space matter in magic, Potter."
—Severus Snape, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
10. “But I knew too where Voldemort was weak. And so I made my decision. You would be protected by an ancient magic of which he knows, which he despises, and which he has always, therefore, underestimated — to his cost. I am speaking, of course, of the fact that your mother died to save you."
—Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
11. “I want to do it properly,” were the first words of which Harry was fully conscious of speaking. “Not by magic. Have you got a spade?”
And shortly afterward he had set to work, alone, digging the grave in the place that Bill had shown him at the end of the garden, between bushes. He dug with a kind of fury, relishing the manual work, glorying in the non-magic of it, for every drop of his sweat and every blister felt like a gift to the elf who had saved their lives.
—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
12. "That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children’s tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped."
—Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
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