Tag Archives: Harry Potter Lessons

Harry Potter Lessons: Family First

23 Apr

My apologies for such a long break between Harry Potter Lessons posts. I’ve been wanting to do one for a while now but was struggling with a topic. Family seems to be a really good option. There are a lot of examples of traditional and non-traditional families in the book that teach us a lot about how important it is to love our families.

Image via Youtube

Image via Youtube

Molly Weasley is the most obvious example and probably one of the best. She loves her family fiercely and fights to defend them multiple times. While she’s active in the Order of the Phoenix and believes in the cause, she’s reluctant to see her children join because they might be harmed. When Molly faces a boggart, her biggest fear is that her family members die. And I think we all remember the infamous line, “Not my daughter, you bitch!” Only the best mom ever would say that! (Re-watching it on Youtube now made me cry!) She won’t take crap from anyone when it comes to standing up for her family, no matter the consequences to herself. She’s also a surrogate mother to Harry. She cares for him because she wants to, not because she has to. With seven children already, the last thing the Weasley’s need is another mouth to feed and head to shelter. But Molly knows Harry needs a family to watch over him and take care of him so, without thinking, she takes Harry in. I’m going to guess she was okay with him becoming a son-in-law down the line and I bet he has a better-than-average relationship with his in-laws.

Image via HelloGiggles

Image via HelloGiggles

Harry tells us multiple times that Sirius is the closest thing he has to family. My uncle is my Godfather and I can’t say I’m particularly closer to him than I am to my other uncles, but Harry and Sirius and family to each other. Both is alone in the world; Harry having been orphaned and Sirius disowned. When Sirius was in school, he says he went to the Potters in a similar way to how Harry goes to the Weasleys. We continue to hope throughout the series that Sirius will be cleared of charges and Harry will be able to live with him as if they were a proper family. Sirius and Harry are a great example of a non-traditional family that shares the love and commitment usually associated with a traditional nuclear family. I absolutely love the dynamic between the two characters and how much love they show.

Image via the Harry Potter Wiki

Image via the Harry Potter Wiki

Have you ever heard that alligator mothers care very fiercely for their young and are extremely maternal? Well, you should Google it. I think of Narcissa Malfoy like an alligator mother. She’s very similar to Molly in her fierce devotion to her family, especially her only son. She makes an unbreakable vow with Severus that forces him to protect Draco when he most needs it and defies one of the most powerful wizards in the world to his face for the long shot that it will help her son. Who else would be brave enough to lie to Voldemort about Harry Potter being dead? Only a loving mother alligator! I think Narcissa is a great way of showing that no matter what your morals or way of life, family has to come first because our families (traditional or not) are the most stable institution on which to base our loyalties.

Image from Twitter

Image from Twitter

My last example is another one that I absolutely love. Mr. Xenophilius Lovegood is arguably the most devoted father in the series. He lost his beloved wife and has only his daughter Luna left and he loves her fiercely. He’s made a wonderful impression on her because it’s very clear Luna looks up to her father and idolizes him. She’s copied a lot of his personality quirks and defends him to those who speak negatively of him. When the Death Eaters take Luna away from him, he’s desperate to get her back and goes as far as to betray the Order’s cause (though I recognize he is not a member) and try to turn Harry in to get Luna back. Yep, he’s willing to help Voldemort win if it means his daughter will be unharmed. Talk about devotion! You can fault him here, but it’s hard. If you had to choose to help something you morally opposed in order to save a child, would you do it? Xenophilius would! I think he’s an amazing character and I adore the relationship between him and Luna.

So there are my four favorite examples of family in the Harry Potter franchise. Petunia Dursley was a close fifth, but I tried to keep this to four. Who else would you include? Leave a comment and let me know!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Harry Potter Lessons: No One is Insignificant

9 Apr

I think the phrase ‘the smallest of people can make the biggest difference’ is a bit cliché. I’d rather say, ‘If Neville Longbottom can change the world, so can you!’ The Harry Potter series is full of characters who think they’re small or insignificant, whom society has told they don’t matter. And these people make the story what it is. They defy this and go on to do great things.

NevilleMy favorite example is Neville Longbottom (if you couldn’t tell). Here’s a boy that everyone overlooked and thought couldn’t achieve a thing. And what does he do? Kill. A. Horcrux. Yeah, big deal. Not only that, but he’s a major part of the resistance in Hogwarts right before the battle. Here’s someone who came from the dopey kid who lost his toad to be a military leader. Is there anything more significant than that? Never overlook someone who seems unimportant. Everyone matters

DobbyLet’s not forget a favorite character in the series; Dobby. I love how Dobby never admitted that he was small and he never let that stop him. When we first meet Dobby, he seems annoying and pesky. But we learn that he saved Harry’s life! More than once, I might add. He tried to keep Harry from school and the basilisk that could kill him and later took a knife for him. There are more times that Dobby came into play, such as when he helped catch Mundungus, and he’s a great character for comic relief. He teaches the reader about loyalty. He was indentured to the Malfoy’s and expected to show them loyalty, but knew that his true loyalty should and did lie with Harry. Great lessons there.

AberforthAberforth never wanted to play a part in his brother’s war. He wanted to make himself insignificant and stand in the background. Slowly, he stuck his neck out a bit at a time. He created a way to get into Hogwarts to talk to the DA members holed up there. He helped Harry when he needed it, breaking the law multiple times to protect a fugitive. He sent Dobby when Harry was in trouble. He wanted to stand down and keep to himself, but he made a huge difference in the success of Harry’s mission. Aberforth realized that he needed to take a stand for what he knew was right and that stand made a world of difference.

LunaLuna Lovegood was always looked at as an oddball. She read upside down, thought there were rockspurts in Harry’s head, could see thestrals, and made friends with ghosts. But in the end, she’s a major part of the revolution and war. She’s smart and more resourceful than anyone thought she was. The low expectations people set for her were easy for her to overcome and she proved herself to be a fierce warrior. There’s a reason she’s in Ravenclaw, but I would argue she’d make a great Gryffindor.

There are many minor characters in the book that play a big role: the Gray Lady, Tonks, Regulus Black, etc. I could go on and one. These are the first four that come to mind. What other characters would you think to add to this list? Is there one in particular that you think defied his or her low expectations? Please let me know in the comments below. I love talking about this series with you all, it’s a favorite of mine.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Harry Potter Lessons: Redemption

31 Mar

This is the second of posts in a series I’m doing called ‘Harry Potter Lessons’ where I’m going to write about what being a Harry Potter Fangirl has taught me. These are much more personal than my average posts but I promise that once my reading slump ends, I’ll be back to book reviews and memes. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy these.

Image from TheMarySue

Image from TheMarySue

My first post talked about what I see as the overall theme of the books. Now I want to concentrate on specific lessons that they taught me. The first one is redemption. There are several characters who recognize that their actions were wrong and work to correct the error in their ways. The most public of these is Draco Malfoy. We see int he sixth book how Draco is not inherently evil as we’d previously been led to believe. After seeing his father sent to jail and being asked to step up and fill his shoes, Draco hesitates. Seeing his father go to jail for something awakens some sense in him and he begins to repent for what he’s done. In the end, his redemption is cowardly as he runs away rather than fight, but he seeks redemption ultimately. It’s never too late to change your ways.

Image via HelloGiggles

Image via HelloGiggles

The other major character example is Sirius Black. He was burned off his family tree for running away from home to stay with James Potter because he couldn’t stay at home with his mother. (Andromeda Black was also burned off the tree for marrying Ted Tonks, a Muggle born.) She was obsessed with the Black family purity which didn’t interest or concern Sirius. He preferred to be with the Potters, who were also purebloods but less concerned with blood status. Sirius was able to carve his own path apart from his family and even though he was born into a family that on the whole followed Voldemort. Sirius was able to get himself out of the situation early but deciding to break from his family means he ended up fighting his family and was ultimately killed by his own cousin. An unfortunate circumstance of being a blood-traitor.

Image via @xhespercy

Image via @xhespercy

Another character who redeems himself is Percy Weasley. Percy is the only unlikable Weasley in a family of strong, good-hearted pureblooded wizards. He places his loyalty outside of his family with his job at the Ministry which seems like a good idea at the time. As the Ministry becomes more and more corrupted, Percy seemingly goes along with it. But at the last minute, he realizes that the organization in which he placed his trust has become corrupted and his family opens him back with open arms. Like Draco, he’d been swept up in something that seemed right at the time but later realized wasn’t morally correct.

There are so many things I’ve learned from Harry Potter, I’m only scratching the surface. What have you learned from this series? Who else redeemed themselves? It’s my birthday so leave me some comment love!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Harry Potter Lessons: What I Think the Series Means

30 Mar

I’ve decided to do a series about Harry Potter. This is partially out of my obsession with the series and partially because I’m in between books with nothing to write. Either way, this is something that means a lot to me and I’ve been wanting to share for a long time. In this first post, I want to share my overall feelings about the series and in further posts, I’ll dive into individual lessons I learned. Look for those coming soon.

I understand that some people have not read or will not allow their children to read the series for various religious reasons that deal with witchcraft. When I hear of cases like this, I understand, but it makes me sad. There is so much in the series if you are able to look past the spells and magic. But that’s like saying you should buy a dress that fits you well if it’s a color you don’t like and doesn’t look good on you. If the premise doesn’t work, don’t force it.

Voldemort

Image via HarryMedia.com

For those who are able to get through the series, there are a lot of interpretations and key messages but for me, the theme has always been clear. Harry Potter is about the dangers of racism and prejudice. We’re introduced to a character with mixed blood purity who has to defeat a villain who, while also having mixed blood, believes in a purification of the population. Does this remind anyone else of this guy? He’s gathering an army around him to pick off those who the leader considers inferior and ruining the pure race through influence and inbreeding. I’m not even sure if I’m talking about Hitler or Voldemort anymore. Both were willing to kill to reach their goal and relied on devoted followers to carry out their bidding. There was a group seen as inferior (Muggles or Jews) that needed to be eliminated or controlled. Using fear mongering and displays of power, both were able to control their followers and carry out their agendas. That is, until the ‘light,’ the ‘good guys,’ the Allied Forces, and the Order of the Phoenix overcame that power in a series of battles that defeated the leader. Harry Potter is a warning that the evils of Hitler are can take shape in many forms and that we have to be strong like Dumbledor and Harry to keep that evil, that single-minded drive for power and control, at bay. It does matter if it’s the Aryan race (which Hitler was not part of) or purebloods (which Voldemort was not), there are groups that some find inferior and will work to defeat.

Image via the Sun

Image via the Sun

But Harry Potter overcame this evil. He saw that Hermione was as worthy of being a witch as Ginny and that Draco was as flawed as Hagrid. He saw a value in all humans, no matter what their blood status. The books taught me about tolerance and acceptance of those who are different and the dangers that come when we segregate people for the way they were born.

Some elements of the story can be applied to the Civil Rights movement in the US but because Rowling is a British citizen, I think this is more accidental than on purpose. But this helps drive home the message that prejudices are all around us and we can’t escape from them unless we fight against them. If we don’t speak out (like Aberforth) we can’t make a change and have to live with the consequences.

 

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!