When Joanne Kathleen Rowling, an English fiction writer, rode a train from Manchester to London, little did she know that the idea formed in her head about a boy wizard would make her one of the bestselling authors of all time in just seventeen years. Her debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was rejected by 12 publishers, saying that it was either “too childish” or “too long”. But she did not give up hope and went on to become the author of the second most-read book series in the world. The Harry Potter series has over a billion fans around the world, of all possible ages. It is a story about a young orphan boy living in the U.K., who finds out on his 11th birthday that he is a wizard and enrolls in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn magic. In the course of seven years, he makes wonderful friends, finds out about his parents’ death and defeats the most powerful Dark wizard of all time, Lord Voldemort.
Many people consider these books as “suitable only for kids, too immature for adults.” But those who have truly read Harry Potter know that it is not just about magic, it is a story of friendship, courage and the power of good over evil. It is the story of how a young boy sacrifices his own desires for the greater good, how he loses all his guardians but still manages to keep going and how he succeeds in bringing down his enemy through the power of love. Harry Potter teaches us many life lessons, that keep us going even in our most difficult times.
- When your friends are ready to risk their lives for you at the age of 11, they’re friends for life.
Harry’s two best friends, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley, stood with him through thick and thin. They helped him through a series of difficult obstacles to prevent the Dark Lord from becoming immortal, helped him kill a giant 60-foot serpent when they were 12, confronted an escaped manslaughter with him, faced and fought the Dark Lord again at 15 and finally accompanied him on a wild goose chase in search of Horcruxes that would enable them in killing Lord Voldemort. Nothing portrays true friendship better than this. If you’ve got friends like these, hold on to them.
- Choices are more important than our abilities.
Just like Albus Dumbledore said, “It is our choices that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Our present and future are defined by what we choose to with them, more than our abilities. Harry had the qualities of a Slytherin student, but because he chose to be in Gryffindor, he was Sorted there. The Sorting Hat put his choice before its own. The direction of our life does not depend who are parents are, how much money we make, our intelligence, our looks or our athletic ability. It is our choices, large or small, that determine our character, success and the satisfaction we derive from life.
- Love is the most powerful weapon one can possess.
Love was Harry’s savior several times throughout the books. Harry’s mother’s love saved him from being harmed until he left his relatives’ home. Time and again, Harry realizes that his ability to love is what makes him a better wizard. His love for his friends made him put them before himself. When we are surrounded by love, even the darkest of times become easier to cope with. When we love, we know that anything that comes our way can be dealt with, because we are never alone. Even if they are not by our side, we know that somewhere, somehow, they are watching and blessing us. Just like Harry.
- Never judge a book by its cover.
A person is never fully understood by his/her outer experience, so we must never judge them so. Severus Snape, whose mutual hatred for Harry and his father persisted throughout the books, turned out to be the hero of the day. He was the one who saved Harry’s skin time and again, risking his own life despite of his intolerance for him. His motivations are revealed to be something else entirely, showing that his actions were born out of love more than anything else. Perceptions can be misleading. We must never base our judgments about anything depending on how it looks on the exterior.
- Being weird is cool.
Remember Luna Lovegood, one of Harry’s good friends? She was a perfect combination of eccentricity, adorableness and painful honesty. Despite what people said about her in front of or behind her back, despite of how much people made fun of her, she didn’t change. That’s what made her so cool. We must always be what we want to be, not what people what us to be. Paying heed to people’s mutterings will do us no good. So all we need to do is keep our head high and be true to ourselves, even if it’s off the track. Because being weird is cool!
The Harry Potter books are so completely gripping that they keep us turning page after page in anticipation. It is not just a form of entertainment, it also teaches us to be open, non-judgmental, foster friendships, navigate relationships and deal with disappointments in life. If you haven’t read it yet, start soon because its never too late. I, for one, will stick with Harry until the very end. Always.