To a lot of kids and young adults the Harry Potter series holds a special place in our hearts. It plays off our our dreams and fantasies of magic in such a mundane world. It provides us with young characters that we can relate to and grow up with. Anyone who has read the books, watched the movies, or even heard of the series knows that the books revolve around the life of a young boy wizard who must fight against dark forces to save the wizarding world. Although the plot of the book and it’s many themes are unrealistic, it teaches a very important message to readers. One of the most popular ones is quite obvious, “Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” said by Hogwart’s very own Headmaster Dumbledore who was known for being wise. But that is quite obvious given his age of nearly 150 years old. So as we age and make mistakes just know that it is unavoidable and that these mistakes make us who we are. As long as we learn from them it’s fine, because wisdom comes with age. But there are many other underlying themes in these books that can help us as we continue to grow up and work our way through school.
Harry loses his parents when he is very young and though this is quite a tragedy it shows that family doesn’t have to be by blood, we get to choose who our family is as we grow up. Friends are obviously a huge part of our lives in and out of school and many people who have longtime best friends would describe them as family because they mean that much to us. Much like how Harry felt about Sirius, Lupin, Hermione, and the Weasley’s. Because of great friends like these we can never truly be alone, there will always be someone who cares for us even, if they are hidden. Like the way Dobby was during the summer before Harry’s second year, the way Sirius was during the third book, the way Dumbledore and Hagrid were for the whole series. We first meet Hagrid the half giant in the first book. At Hogwarts, Hagrid is known as “keeper of the key’s” but due to his size he is often passed off as a brutish man who only cares about the wild beasts hidden in the school forest. But to Harry, Hagrid is a much more than another staff member at Hogwarts, he is the person to introduce Harry to the wizarding world. He give Harry a life he could only have dreamed of while living with the dursley’s. This, of course gives Hagrid a special place in Harry’s heart which we see throughout the books as Harry grows up. So even though you’ve probably heard it a million times, don’t forget that people can surprise you if you take the time to look past their appearances.
In the second book we see Harry begin to question himself when rumors about him fly through the school. These rumors accuse him of being a dangerous person who is bent on attacking the students of Hogwarts. Now Harry probably wouldn’t give these rumors a second thought if he didn’t think they might be true. But Dumbledore and his friends help to remind him that only he gets to decide who he is, and that these rumors mean nothing unless he gives them meaning. This is something that I think that many students often forget. It’s okay to ask for help when you begin to feel lost and that rumors mean nothing as long as you refuse to fuel them. One of the kids doing most of the taunting towards Harry was Draco Malfoy, the school bully in Harry’s year. Draco caused a lot of kids to feel bad about themselves for reasons that should actually be celebrated. He made Hermione upset when he teased about her family and intelligence when she was the top of her classes, he teased Ron about his many siblings when the Weasley’s were actually a dream family for many of us. But this didn’t stop Harry, Hermione, or Ron from being successful because they never let Malfoy get the best of them.
In the third book we learn of Sirius, an escaped prisoner from the wizarding prison, it is rumored that he escaped so that he could hurt Harry. Harry not knowing any better believes this and spends the majority of his year trying to figure out how to capture Sirius. At the end of the book it is revealed that Sirius was innocent and that he escaped in order to take the real guilty party to prison and protect Harry (his godson). While this may be more extravagant than any real life situation it proves that our first impression of a person can be wrong and that they usually just have our best interest in mind even if we don’t recognize it at first. For instance some students have less than favorable opinions of some teachers but if they would take the time to think about the situation they would understand that the staff here only want what’s best for us. Harry is also having trouble in the third book with some creatures known as dementors. These creatures are dark beings that make us feel depressed and lonely, this of course is a huge issue for Harry as the dementors appear to be following him around. They are treated as living embodiments of fear. By the end of the book Harry must learn how to defend himself from these creatures. This inner battle that Harry is fighting is one that many students are fighting, we can’t let our fears win. If we do we will never experience anything worth remembering. We will never get involved in any clubs or sports that will make us happy because we might be afraid that we will fail. But if you never try new things you may never find a hidden talent.
In the fifth book we see many of the students having a hear time coping with the troubling events of the previous year. One of them happens to be a girl named Cho Chang, she was rather close with the student who suffered the most from last year. This makes the year very hard for her, as we often see her secluding herself or refraining from drawing attention to herself. This is also something that we see many students do, so it is important for us to reach out to those who seem to be having a hard time. Because a friend can make all the difference when someone is fighting a silent battle.Once again in the fifth book, Harry learns that the only way to win his battle is to remember what he is fighting for. Once again, many students can begin to feel lost as the get stressed. So as we begin to feel lost or hopeless, remembering why we are doing this, remembering what we’re working for can help keep us on track to achieve our goals.
Junior high and high school can be very challenging times for even the best of us. But if we remember some simple lessons from this beloved series, we can get through this together.
Because if we try hard enough, these can be the best years of our lives. The years that we look back on when we’re old. So let’s do the best that we can while we’re here, let’s make friendships that can last a lifetime, let’s remember what we’re working for, and let’s remember to look past the obvious and see the real side of the world.