An avid reader who refused to read Harry Potter – Is that even possible? Yes…that was me. Until the mid of 2014, I had not read Harry Potter. Not even a single page. I had somehow developed this false notion that it was a ‘children’s book’. Plus it was fantasy – a genre that I seldom read. I had caught bits of the movies as they were ALWAYS playing on some channel or the other. And I was dragged to the cinema for one of them, by my nieces and nephews who couldn’t fathom how I cannot love Harry Potter. I still couldn’t figure out the story so I never bothered with the book.
Then in 2014, I started a library in my community because of my love for reading. I used to regularly update the inventory with the latest or popular reads and bought the Harry Potter books as there were many kids in the community. One rainy evening, when there were no visitors to the library I was bored and browsing the shelves for something to read. I stopped at Harry Potter and decided to give it a chance to keep myself occupied. I started reading and lost all track of time till the security guard came and told me it was time to lock up and go home. I took the book back home with me and thus began an unforgettable journey. I finished the series in a week and have read them multiple times since. Today I am a proud Potterhead and cannot believe that I never even picked up the book before to read the synopsis at least!
The story follows the journey of 11-year-old Harry Potter in Hogwarts, which is a School For Magic, for 7 years. Each story brings forth a new challenge for him, involving his nemesis Voldemort. The story beautifully puts forth the concepts of undying love and its power, friendships, loyalty, faith humility, and sacrifice.
I loved J.K. Rowlings’s storytelling, making sure that each story is gripping and wanting one to continue reading and not put the book down till it is finished. It is amazing how she was able to weave the story across 7 parts and connect so many dots that one might think were insignificant. Take for example the significance of the number 7 – It is referred to frequently in the books. Apart from the many religious significance it has, 7 is also said to represent completeness, perfection and is important in the magical world. In Harry Potter, there are 7 books in the series, 7 years that Harry spends at Hogwarts, 7 Weasley children, 7 players on each team at Quidditch, and 7 Horcrux. Of course, Harry was born in the 7th month (31st July to be precise and hence the post this month for his birthday J ). And many many more references to 7 across the books.
I also love how Rowling gives importance to all the characters and does not focus only on the protagonist. For example, the destroying of Horcruxes is crucial to killing Voldemort. But instead of getting only Harry to do it, she weaves the story in such a way that other important characters like Ron, Hermione, Neville & Dumbledore get to destroy some of them.
Harry Potter enjoys a huge fan following across generations and has almost cult status. What makes so many people identify with this book and find it inspiring? The personal story of the author itself and how Harry Potter changed her life around after so many hardships is like a fairy tale and inspirational.
In honor of Seven, I am listing 7 Inspirational Life Lessons From Harry Potter
The Power Of Love
Of course, the obvious one is Lily’s love for Harry which protects him from The Killing Curse of Voldemort. Lily chooses to die by throwing herself in front of her child and her mother’s love becomes the protective shield around Harry and the rebounds on Voldemort.
Then there is the everlasting love that Severus has for Lily, even after she dies. This makes him protect Harry even though he dislikes him and is always viewed as the enemy by the characters and readers alike, till his death when all is revealed.
The parental love that Dumbledore, Sirius, Lupin, the Weasleys have for Harry, which ensures he is never alone or made to feel neglected. And the platonic love Hermione has for Harry (in the end when Harry tells her and Ron that he is a Horcrux too, she simply says “I will go with you” without a second thought).
The Bonds Of Friendship
Parallel to love is the stories of friendship. Through the years Harry makes many friends. Ron & Hermione are there when he boards the Hogwarts Express and remain with him till the end of the story. There is Hagrid, who incidentally brings Harry to his aunt’s place and is also the one to take him to Hogwarts. All of them show us what it means to be a true friend and be loyal even when times get tough. They never leave Harry even when he asks them to, multiple times. Even Harry himself displays loyalty when he tries to save everyone in the underwater task or when asks Cedric to lift the cup and be a winner in the Goblet Of Fire.
The Courage To Sacrifice
Many people die in the battle against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. James, Lily, the Longbottoms, Dumbledore, Lupin, and Tonks all sacrifice themselves. Towards the end when Harry wants to leave and says no one else will die for him, as Ron says though Harry is the Chosen One, the fight is bigger and not just about Harry. In the end, Harry actually sacrifices himself too when he knows he is a Horcrux and thinks he has to die to end Voldemort’s evil. But because of his choice to sacrifice, he only destroys the Horcrux and comes back to win the battle with Voldemort. The book teaches us that personal sacrifice for the greater good of the community is a courageous thing. That it takes courage to fight evil and sometimes one needs to take tough decisions to keep the battle going and protect your loved ones.
Triumph Of Good Over Evil
This is the basic theme across the book – good magic overcoming dark magic. The actual battle starts when Voldemort uses his powers to harm others. The fates of Harry and Tom Riddle (Voldemort) are interlinked and many of the scenarios presented are similar to both of them. But it is the choices they make and how they react that make them different from one another. In life too, the choices we make define who we are. We are presented with many lucrative or easy options. But what truly defines us is which ones we choose and the kind of values we display. As Dumbledore puts it in The Chamber Of Secrets “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Overcoming Your Fears
The books have many instances when one overcomes fear to stand up for what is right. Harry and Ron rush to help Hermione when she is attacked by a Troll, though they are kids themselves and scared too. This forms the basis of their strong bond of friendship. Similarly, Neville, who is always a timid boy, stands up to the 3 who want to break rules. This earns him the extra point which eventually wins Griffyndor the school cup for the year. Harry overcomes his fear of his Boggart-Dementor and learns the very important Patronus Charm. This helps him save the lives of his friends many times in the stories.
Humility And Respect
Though people look at Harry in awe and he becomes the Chosen One, he never lets it go to his head. He is always humble and shows respect to both his superiors and the ones lesser to him. His treatment of Kreacher and Dobby earns him their respect. In fact, when Dobby (who is considered a lowly servant by many) dies, he ensures that he is given a befitting burial. (Of all the deaths in the books, the death of Dobby and Hedwig touched me the most though both were not very ‘important’ characters. I cried buckets for these souls). At the end, when Harry becomes the owner of the Elder wand, instead of using it to establish his power, he chooses to destroy it knowing that such power can lead to tragedy again.
Importance Of Learning To Be Happy
The book has a lot of sacrifice and the death of loved ones. But despite all that, there is so much love, laughter, banter, and positivity throughout. The books teach us to believe in ourselves, have a positive outlook, and never lose focus despite great losses that may come our way in life. Many times in the book one may introspect if it was all worth it in the end. But even in the darkness, there is always a glimmer of hope and light
The books have many more lessons and each reading brings with it something new. For me, the quote “Never Judge A Book By Its Cover” (in this case, it was the movies) was proved correct. They are not just stories or fiction. They make one truly believe in magic and in the goodness of things.
Have you read the Harry Potter books? Which one is your favorite? How did they inspire you? Do let me know in the comments below – would love to hear from you.