Top Ten Reasons I Will Always Love Harry Potter

#HogwartsOctober (1)Hey everyone!  There are only a couple of days left and I’m ready to talk about what makes this entire series so special.  Why I’ve seen more costumes/costume parties devoted to Harry this year than ever before.  Why the series lives on with Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts.

Why the magic endures.

Are you ready?  Because I’m ready.

Always.

Top Ten Reasons Why I Will Always Love Harry Potter

1. The Characters

I think almost everyone you ask about Harry Potter will immediately begin talking about their favorite characters.  And many people will debate for hours with you about why this character is better than that character. (A bit of that started happening when I mentioned I liked Dumbledore more than Snape.)  These characters are so real that many of us see ourselves in many of them.  They’re flawed in so many ways–selfish, quick to judge, arrogant, impulsive, stupid, clumsy, odd–and yet we love them all the more for it.  Even the villains usually have either a redeeming quality or you can understand why they got to the point they did.

It’s just fantastic writing.  These characters have worked their way into our bones and have become a part of us.  Like I will never be able to disassociate myself from Hermione.  She is me and I am her.  I’ve read a lot of books in my life (some with bookish characters like Hermione) but there’s something different about her.

These characters are our role models in so many ways.  Ways to be, ways to not be.  We can learn from their mistakes.

2. Good vs. Evil

One of the most powerful themes in this series is the battle between good and evil.  What makes a person good or evil?  How do you combat evil without sinking to their level?  How do you do the right thing?

In our everyday lives, we see bad things happen and evil acts perpetrated all around us.  (This past weekend was prime example of that here in America.)  Seeing how Harry and the Order stand up to Voldemort gives us a guidebook on how to do our best to rise above it all.  It doesn’t come without sacrifices, and it won’t be easy.  But if it’s something you believe in, you have to be willing to fight for it.

3. The Life Lessons

Whether it is that battle between good and evil or something else, this book is full of life lessons.  Every book is full of them, from how prejudice affects people (Mudblood) to the power of believing in yourself and your cause (Neville and the D.A.).  We see that death can’t stop love.  That our choices show who we are far more than what we’re capable of doing.  That bravery comes in many forms.  That every answer can be found in the library.  🙂

There’s just so much you can learn about life between these pages.  It gives you a better understanding of our world, in its own way.  There have actually been studies done that show that people who read Harry Potter as children are more empathetic than those who didn’t.  It’s because we understand the world and our role in it better.  We see how words and actions can hurt others and we’re cognizant of that because we saw it happen to Harry and his friends.

4. The Humor

It’s the little things, but in the midst of some of these truly terrible things, it’s always nice to know that we can still find humor in the darkness.  Typically this comes from Dumbledore or the Weasley twins, but let’s not forget that Harry can drop a good one-liner himself.

Sometimes levity is what helps you remember that the world isn’t a hopeless place, that there are still good things out there if you can still laugh.

5. Wizard or Muggle, Teen Years Are Awkward

I think we all agree that teen years are incredibly awkward.  We relate with Harry and his friends because we’ve been through those awkward times too.  Hermione’s considered to be…not “ugly” but not pretty…and then she shows up at the Yule Ball on the arm of Victor Krum.  Harry has a crush on Cho for years and his first date with her goes disastrously.  Ron is jealous of Harry and Hermione’s friendship.

Beyond that, there’s stuff about hitting growth spurts, family issues, bullying, struggling with school, and more.  Teen years are tough no matter who you are.  And I love that Harry deals with these very normal things at the same time he’s being known as The Chosen One.  It brings him back to earth in a way.

6. The Wizarding World

If we didn’t all love the wizarding world so much, there would be theme parks devoted to it.  The way Rowling creates this entire world is just enthralling.  We want to be a part of it because we already feel like we know our way around it.  We understand Diagon Alley and we’ve always wanted to find our own wand at Ollivander’s.  We want to go to the Quidditch World Cup and be sorted into our houses.

This world is a wonderful escape from our own.  Sometimes it feels like another layer on our own, the way it hides in plain sight.  I love how we apparently walk past all this magic all day long and never know it (like how St. Mungo’s in an abandoned department store or the entrance to the Ministry is in a phone booth).

7. The Clever Writing

Let’s give Rowling a lot of credit here–she knows how to craft a story.  Her foreshadowing game is strong.  Like how we learn about the locket Horcrux in Order of the Phoenix without actually knowing what it is.  Or Trelawney’s predictions about how when 13 people sit at a table, the first to rise will die.  These are tiny, insignificant things for the most part, but they eventually become bigger deals.  And it’s fascinating that she had the forethought to put all of this together.

I reread the books just to see what new details I can pick up on this time.

8. The Battles

Let’s not lie, we all really like the action/battle scenes.  There’s practically one every book (Azkaban may be the only exception, depending on your definition).  We like seeing how Harry, who’s anywhere from 11 to 17, outsmart and outlast his enemies, who are typically much older and stronger than he is.  (Voldemort’s in his 70s by the final book.)

But I also like the battles because it shows Harry to be the hero we all know he is.  He’s fighting evil, he’s protecting those he cares about, and he’s willing to sacrifice himself to stop Voldemort if he has to.

9. Love

So much of the story revolves around the importance of love and understanding the purpose of love.  After seeing it in this series over and over this month, I’ve started seeing it in different books and movies as well.  (It’s totally present in Hocus Pocus, my friends.  Max and Thackery understand what it means to love their sisters, but the Sanderson witches don’t and that’s their downfall.)

This is why this series will endure.  Its message about love is timeless and will remain so for generations.  I’m hoping that someday hundreds of years in the future, kids will still be reading this the same way we still read Romeo and Juliet or Pride and Prejudice.

10. The Fan Community

This series would not be as successful as it is if it weren’t for the fan community.  I swear to you, I love walking around wearing Hogwarts things because I always get someone who talks to me about it.  The other day, I was at Chick-fil-a and the cashier saw my Hogwarts shirt.  She started telling me that she was a Hufflepuff and we had like a two minute conversation about our houses while she was filling my order.  It was just so funny to me that we connected that quickly over something so simple.

And that’s what it all comes down to: we all have a love for the same thing and it gives us a way to connect to people who are different from us.  We befriend people we might not normally befriend because once we see we have something in common with them, we have a way to see they are just like us.  You can be American, Chinese, German, Kenyan, Brazillian, a refugee or an illegal immigrant, young or old, and we suddenly start seeing each other as people the moment we know we have something in common.

Harry Potter brings people together.  And I love that the book is doing the same work that Harry was trying to accomplish in the books: we combat the evil around us by banding together.  No matter who you are or what your background is, we are always stronger together than apart.

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