Well, here we are. It’s Halloween and the official end of #HogwartsOctober.
As we all know, Halloween is a very important day in the series for a number of reasons like (1) the day Lily and James Potter were killed and Harry was given his scar, (2) the day the troll was in the dungeon and Harry, Ron, and Hermione became a trio, (3) Nearly Headless Nick’s death day party and the day the Chamber was opened again, (4) the day Sirius broke into Hogwarts, and (5) the day Harry was picked as a Triwizard competitor.
Phew, I’m tired. That’s a lot of stuff happening on Halloween. You’d think Harry would start circling it on the calendar and then wearing his invisibility cloak all day just to avoid it all.
But in all seriousness, I feel like Halloween is a day that we as Potter fans mourn. Lily and James were betrayed by a close friend and lost their lives protecting Harry. Sure, it ended the war and Voldemort was no more (…I uh, didn’t mean to make that rhyme…), but the cost was high.
And that’s the point. War is costly. Any time we fight for what we believe, there is a cost. Perhaps we feel like we can pay it and we fight back. Perhaps we feel the cost is too high and we either bury our heads in the sand or we flee.
Lily and James taught us the importance of sacrifice and love. James willingly stood between Voldemort and Lily to protect her and Harry, to give them time to run. Lily refused to move so Voldemort could attack Harry, even though he would have let her go.
Both of them were only 21 at the time. Since wizards live to incredibly old ages, they literally had their whole lives ahead of them–possibly upwards of 100 years or more. And yet this was important enough to lay down their lives for.
Because of love. James loved Lily and Harry enough to sacrifice himself. Lily loved Harry enough to die for him. Neither of them cowered or begged for their own lives–they begged for the lives of their family instead. Because they loved them enough to die for them if it would save them.
Love is the lasting legacy of Lily and James Potter. They taught Harry how to love fiercely, even if he didn’t consciously remember that lesson. He knew the effect, he knew the importance of it.
And through them, we have learned to love as well.
We’ve learned to love our friends with all our hearts. Especially when they make mistakes or act like prats. (Looking at you, Ron.)
We’ve learned to love a significant other unselfishly, and to let them go if need be. (Like when Harry breaks up with Ginny.)
We’ve learned to love those who are different from us because each of us is important and you never know what we can contribute. (Thanks, Luna.)
We’ve learned that love also means forgiveness, even if you don’t always forget. (*cough* Ron)
We’ve learned that love comes in many forms and is expressed in many different ways. Hagrid’s love and belief in Harry is exhibited differently than McGonagall’s or Dumbledore’s or even Dudley’s. Because no matter what’s happened in the past, by the end of the series I firmly believe that Dudley realizes he does love Harry as a brother.
We’ve learned that sometimes with love, actions speak louder than words. The Weasleys may never have said they loved Harry in so many words, but he was undoubtedly part of the family from the beginning.
We’ve learned that love lasts beyond death. Those that we love never truly leave us.
And we’ve learned that underestimating the power of love is a dangerous thing. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Voldemort, a political figure, a terrorist, or a bully/abuser. Forgetting the power of love is to your detriment.
This is why we all still love Harry Potter and why it will continue to move generations beyond ours. It’s a simple message, that love–and being willing to sacrifice to protect those you love–will bring light to even the darkest times.
Love is love is love.
We’re experiencing some dark times ourselves in the US and around the world. Remember that with love, we can rise above the hate.
Thank you, Lily and James.