The Harry Potter books are my favorite of all time...always. I have always loved the magical, daring, and adventurous world of Harry Potter. It has always been more than a book series to me. It's been an escape into a different world, and a world that says that anything is possible. I will forever argue that the Harry Potter series is one of the best ever written, not only for the realistic depiction of a magical world, but for the lessons and values that Harry Potter has instilled into millions of people who love it just as much as I do.
The lessons that Harry Potter has taught us will forever hold a place in my heart, and here's why.
1. Be brave
Whether it was Neville Longbottom standing up to his friends, Harry Potter taking on Voldemort for the 104893 time, or Ron Weasley going into his Quidditch match without the Liquid Luck, bravery was apparent within this series. We learned that bravery takes many forms, and that courage isn't always being the one to slay the dragon. Whether it was being a part of Dumbledore's Army or the Order of the Phoenix, courage means being apart of something bigger than yourself. Even if it means giving your life for the cause.
2. Be kind
Just about every character in the Harry Potter series showed us how to be the good. Harry, Hermione, and Ron's friendship really exemplified what it meant to be kind to one another. Throughout the series, they always showed up for one another, no matter the consequences. Life or death situations, relationship problems, or just being a listening ear was shown in these books by the trio. It showed what being kind can do for people. Sirius Black opened up his home, so that Harry would have a real family, much like Lily and James Potter did for Sirius by being such good friends to him.
3. Take risks
Sirius Black said it best, "What's life without a little risk?" Harry Potter is arguably one of the biggest risk-takers in literature. He does what he needs to do whether it means he may get killed or not. Not only does he take risks, but he does it for those who may have never done anything for him. He frees Dobby from the grasp of the Malfoys who had abused him for years. He saved Malfoy and his friends in the Room of Requirement from the fire when the only thing they had ever done for him was make his life absolutely terrible. Taking risks was just what Harry did.
4. Love with your whole self
I think that this is one of the biggest lessons that came from the Harry Potter series. A large takeaway from the series is that Lily's love saved Harry from Voldemort. This exemplifies true love, giving your own life so that your child can have theirs. It's the ultimate sacrifice. Snape loved Lily, so he gave his life for Harry in the end. It wasn't all about death, though. Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, Bill and Fleur, Lily and James, Lupin and Tonks, and so many others in the series showed us how many different forms love can take. In the end, his parents love is what brought Harry to victory. Without the love of his friends, Harry would have never been able to defeat evil. One of the most moving scenes in the entire series is when the Order of the Phoenix comes to stand beside Harry and put their lives on the line for love. This is what the series is all about.
5. Never forget where you came from
Although Harry didn't have the best childhood with the Dursleys, he didn't forget who helped him to become the person that he became. A very powerful scene in the "Deathly Hallows" was Harry saying goodbye to the Dursleys. Dudley says to Harry, "I don't think you're a waste of space," and proceeds to shake Harry's hand. I think that this scene gives a feeling of coming full circle to the readers. We see that, even though Vernon and Petunia may never come to the same realization, that Dudley really did care for Harry the entire time. Harry always talked with others about his parents and jumped at the chance for anyone who knew them to tell the stories of them. He truly never forgot where he came from.
6. Find the everyday magic, and hold onto it
Obviously, the world of Harry Potter had lots of magic, lots of times. This is one of the basic points of the book, Harry is a wizard, and the books are based on magical happenings. But, this isn't what I'm trying to say. The everyday magic wasn't transfiguration, herbology, defense against the dark arts, or potions. It was the little moments that made the characters come together. Hagrid making Harry a birthday cake on his 11th birthday, Mrs. Weasley knitting Harry a Christmas sweater, or McGonagall anonymously sending Harry the broom; these were the truly magical moments.
7. Intelligence is one of your greatest weapons
Hermione Granger. Need I say any more? She was one of my absolute favorite characters because she knew what she wanted, and knew that she was the one that was going to have to get it for herself. She was the most intelligent witch in their year and didn't try to make herself smaller to make somebody else feel comfortable. She was unapologetically herself, smarts and all. One of my favorite Hermione quotes, "Actually, I'm highly logical. Which allows me to look past extraneous detail and perceive clearly that which others overlook." She wasn't afraid to be the smart girl, and that is a lesson that we should all take something away from.
8. The people we love never truly leave us
So many deaths in the Harry Potter series. Although each one made me tear up, okay bawl sometimes, I feel like Rowling had a reason to take away some of the most important characters. Dobby, Sirius, Fred, Dumbledore, Snape, Lupin, and so many others were so very hard to read. But, death became a very important lesson in these books. The scene that made me the most emotional out of every single Harry Potter book was when Harry was about to go and give his life to Voldemort in the Deathly Hallows, and the people who had passed came to see him before he went in, with the help of the Sorcerer's Stone. Harry says, "You'll stay with me?" Lilly replies, "Always." This whole scene makes you realize how close we are to the people who leave this world even if they're not physically here. We must never forget that.
9. Forgiveness can be given to anyone no matter what they've done in the past
Forgiveness tended to be a major theme of the Harry Potter series, as well. Harry chose to forgive Malfoy, not because he forgot what he had done, but because they both needed to move on with their lives. He chose to forgive Snape for the way he had treated him in the past after realizing what Snape had sacrificed for him. He taught us some of the best ways to offer forgiveness.
10. Take it all in
Lastly, the Harry Potter series taught us to take it all in, and don't take a second of it for granted. I think the epilogue gives us the best example of taking it all in. Before the trio knew it, it was 19 years later. They were watching their own children board the Hogwarts Express, and life was going on whether they liked it or not. How common is it that we take the little moments for granted. We don't realize what we're missing out on by not realizing what's going on around us now. Harry Potter taught me to take it in and hold on tight because life is one wild ride, and I never want to be the person that looks back with regrets.
So, thank you to J.K. Rowling for gracing us with the Harry Potter series. The lessons that it taught us will forever hold a place in our memory, and I will never forget the adventures I had with Harry Potter. To leave off with one of my favorite Albus Dumbledore quotes, "And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure."