What "Harry Potter" Teaches Us About Happiness

What "Harry Potter" Teaches Us About Happiness

Happiness can act as both a sword and a shield.

"Harry Potter" is arguably one of the biggest franchises of our generation, and it is rare to run into somebody who has not seen the movies or read the books. The novels are a staple of bookshelves everywhere, but they are so much more than just a story that people enjoy reading. "Harry Potter" has taught us how to face our fears, how important our friendships are and how good will always prevail over evil. The books cover loss, love, violence and abuse of power among many other topics, ultimately showing how we can adapt to even the most daring ordeals and how we come to terms with them and become better versions of ourselves.

One of the most prominent motifs throughout the series is happiness. Ron, Harry, Hermione and the rest of the Hogwarts students spend their school days taking classes like Defense Against the Dark Arts, where they learn both defense and offense against dark creatures, dark arts and other dark charms. In the third book, "The Prisoner of Azkaban," the students are introduced to a new way to fight against their greatest fears: the "Riddikulus" spell, which stymies a creature made of fear. There is also "expecto patronum," where the very memory of happiness has the ability to beat back the forces of depression.

The instance where positivity is used as a weapon does not stop there. Fred and George Weasley's inventions, meant to make people laugh, turn into weapons against Umbridge's regime. After they leave Hogwarts, their joke shop becomes one of the brightest spots in Diagon Alley (literally and figuratively) in addition to a place of defensive magic. Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, the name of their shop, serves as a reminder that happiness can act as both a sword and a shield.

It is extremely empowering that happiness can be something tangible and usable. In a world where we all have days that seem to be filled with darkness and no light, and using happiness as a defense mechanism is all too familiar and relatable, because we find ourselves doing it all the time. The series has its share of darkness, but it revels most in the light. It emphasizes that the act of joy is not trivial or inconsequential. Happiness is something to be wielded, on your own behalf and on the behalves of the people around you. This is what "Harry Potter" teaches us, and we carry this knowledge with us every day.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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My Top 10 Crime And Thriller Shows

Some people like romantic comedies, I like murder and suspense.

Crime and thriller shows are my absolute favorite to watch. I watch them so much that I’ve got my mom a little hooked, too. I’ve seen my fair share of shows in each genre, both good and bad. So, I’ve compiled a list of my ten favorite crime and thriller series (in no particular order).

Law and Order: SVU

SVU has been on the air almost as long as I’ve been alive (since 1999, to be exact). This show will always be my ride or die. Because the show has such a long run time, the characters are well developed, the stories feel real, and you sympathize with the characters. This is a must-watch for anyone who loves the crime genre.


This is easily one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Our titular character, Dexter, is a blood-spatter analyst by day, serial killer by night. But, he only targets other killers. Dexter is a bit gorier than some of the other shows on the list but, if you don’t mind violence, you should definitely give it a watch.

The Following

The Following tells the story of retired FBI agent, Ryan Hardy, as he tries to capture escaped serial killer Joe Carol. If you’re interested in the occult, you’ll love this one. This show had me captivated from the first episode. Not to mention, Kevin Bacon plays Ryan Hardy, and who doesn't love Kevin Bacon?

The Handmaid’s Tale

This is a Hulu original based on the novel by Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian story that you just have to see to believe; it’s hard to explain without giving too much away. There’s only one season so far, but you’ll be craving the second season by the time you finish watching.

Criminal Minds

I’m still working my way through Criminal Minds, but it’s my favorite “background noise show.” That’s not to say that I don’t pay attention to what’s happening, but because there isn’t really one story arc, it’s a great show to watch while getting ready in the morning, doing the dishes, etc.


Ozark is a Netflix original about money laundering full of suspense. My boyfriend introduced this show to me and, though the money talk can be confusing to me, I was instantly drawn in. (Luckily my dad is an accountant and was able to explain the technicalities to me.)

How to Get Away With Murder

This is another series that I haven’t caught up to, but seriously got addicted to. It’s super suspenseful and will have you biting your nails every second. Plus, Viola Davis is always a win.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is another pretty gory show, so if you’re squeamish I’d skip this one. If you love suspense and zombies, then what are you waiting for? The series has been kind of going downhill the past couple of seasons, but hopefully it will pick back up soon.

Stranger Things

This Netflix original is full of 80s nostalgia and Sci-Fi goodness. You’ll be scared, confused, but most importantly, invested. The plot can be confusing at first, but you will be pulled in by the suspense and those adorable kids.

Black Mirror

Black Mirror, what are you doing with your life? I have been obsessed since I first watched this Netflix original a few months ago. This show is all about the potential consequences of technological advances. The show is an anthology of different stories that are all confirmed to take place in the same universe. So while the stories may not be directly connected, you will see pieces of episodes intermingling. My one piece of advice: don’t start with the first season. Start with season three, then go back to season one and continue on. You will thank me later.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.hercampus.com/school/utah/pros-cons-binge-watching-tv

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10 Reasons Why 'Resident Evil 4' Is A Complete Classic

The bromance between Leon and Luis.

Anyone that knows me knows that "Resident Evil 4" is my favorite video game of all time. I remember being 12 years old watching my older brother play the game, and later on, picking up the controller to experience it for myself.

And I have been in love ever since.

Aside from its well deserved critical acclaim, the amazing voice acting and its unique storyline, here are a few reasons why "Resident Evil 4" holds such a dear place in my heart.

1. The bromance between Leon and Luis between then until "death do us part.

Luis Sera is the true definition of "deserved better." He makes his first and only appearance in the Resident Evil series as he befriends Leon and manages to help him by getting a growth suppressant for the Las Plagas parasite.

I was indeed sad to see him go, but something in me denies that he's dead and that maybe one day he'll reappear in a future game. Pffft. Let me dream.

2. Leon's Character Development

In "Resident Evil 4," we notice a huge growth in Leon. Aside from transitioning from a small town police officer to a government agent, we notice a huge improvement in his fighting skills.

Also, while he still manages to carry his sense of justice and duty, he loses the whole "I'm the boss and everyone should listen to me" attitude that he had in "Resident Evil 2." Here, we see him as more mature and grounded.

3. The Chainsaw Guy (Dr. Salvador)

The first time I ever played this game, Dr. Salvador sneak attacked me (in other words, decapitated me with his chainsaw) and I was completely mortified. Of course, all you gotta do is hear the rev of his chainsaw to know he's ready for some decapitation action. It's moments like that where you thank God for the shotgun.

4. Those creepy Regenerators that scared the bejesus out of all of us.

Its weird breathing noises, eerie appearance and the fact that it freakin' regenerates are the things that made this character iconic.

5. The reunion between Leon Kennedy and Ada Wong

Leon and Ada kinda had a thing in "Resident Evil 2." While it is near impossible for them to actually be together because of their jobs, it was nice to see them reunite for just a little while.

6. The Merchant

Ah, yes. The friendly Ganado that you sell items to and buy weapons from. Greeting you with a warm "Got some good things on sale, stranger!" it would be hard for one to forget his voice and other famous sayings such as "Wadd'ya buyin'?"

7. It is the first game in the series to have a third-person, over the shoulder view.

This is honestly pretty handy compared to the awkward fixed camera angles in the earlier games. Also, the controls run much, much smoother.

8. It has greatly improved graphics compared to the last three games.

Along with better camera angles and smoother controls, there's a huge update in the graphics. The blood looks more realistic instead of some cheesy bright-red color. Also, the scenery of the castles and cathedrals are just beautiful.

9. It's the first of the series to mix action with survival horror.

Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3 mainly focused on the suspense and horror elements. While "Resident Evil 4" comes in the picture with more action-related elements while still having the themes of survival horror.

10. The quick time events.

While quick time events are quite noticeable in gameplay, they can throw you off during a cutscene for first-time players of the game. Don't let Jack Krauser's smooth talk distract you.

Cover Image Credit: Capcom/YouTube

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