Harry Potter Still Teaches Magic And Compassion 20 Years Later
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Harry potter still teaches magic and compassion 20 years later

The series has always been hailed as lesson in friendship and bravery, but the lessons in the novels transcend those themes.


The end of June marked a major milestone for wizards, witches, and muggles alike: Harry Potter was first published in the US twenty years ago.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the first of seven entries in the series about the Boy Who Lived, delighted audiences young and old after seven publishers turned the book down. Twenty years, eight movies, two theme parks, a prequel movie series, and plenty of merchandise later, the Potter books still captivate and delight.

I am a part of the captivated audience and have been for years. It is more than my personal connection that brings me to reread the books, though.

The themes and stories found in the pages and brought to life onscreen hooked me as a young reader and challenge me as an older one. The friendships that lie at the root of all of the novels have always caused me to value the worth of friends outside of Hogwarts and into my own life.

The courage and bravery shown by the Golden Trio (Harry, Ron, and Hermione for anyone not familiar with the term) inspired me as a child. I may not have had magical powers that required a wand like Hermione, but I knew I could still use my love of books and knowledge to achieve what I set out to accomplish.

These basic themes caught my attention when I first read the books and have stayed with me ever since. Now that I've reread them a few times and have experienced a little more, I realize Harry and every other character can teach us all so much more than just these themes.

The plotlines of Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows aren't just about defeating villains in school; these novels center around the fight against a corrupt Ministry of Magic, adults who don't trust young adults with "adult" responsibilities, and the concept of labeling people different from you as the "other".

In "Order of the Phoenix" alone, the Daily Prophet newspaper runs article after article dispelling the true claims that Voldemort has returned; the Minister himself ignores the problem and prefers to remain in blissful ignorance; students form a secret group to prepare themselves for a fight they know to be inevitable and have seen for themselves.

The Ministry, through a professor who cares nothing for the students she is supposed to serve, interferes with the school system; and blood purity in the form of Voldemort's pure blooded supporters begins to back those of muggle lineage into a very dangerous corner.

Sound familiar?

Fake news, ignorance, students banding together to fight what adults do not see as an issue, the corrupt practices of a education secretary, and xenophobia are hardly foreign concepts in 2018. I'm not claiming we live in a world similar to Harry's, but I'm not going to not claim it either.

My point is, there is a lot we could learn from Harry and everyone he encounters throughout his journey.

The compassion towards those different from us, shown through the support Remus Lupin receives from those who don't judge him and his condition, Hermione's defense of house-elves and non-human magic folk, and through the friendships in the novels, should serve as a lesson to all that caring about one another can get people through anything.

The success of Dumbledore's Army in the fictional world could teach some people that young adults in the real world aren't so dumb and naive. In every way, there is a lesson to be learned from all aspects of the Potter novels.

Perhaps the biggest take away from the novels, even twenty years later, is the power each individual holds. Harry spent eleven years in a cupboard under the stairs before he began to save the world every year.

Hermione, Ron, Neville, and virtually every other character each thought their flaws were greater than their strengths at one point. The wizarding world fought against prejudice and violence and lost much in the process.

Yet still, at the end of the series, even after the darkest of times, all was well. The series teaches us that all will be well if only one remembers to turn on the light.

Remember, in the midst of darkness, to turn on your light; that is the true lesson to be learned from Harry and company.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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