I have only read the Harry Potter series once. And it was back when the books were new releases and there were some huge gaps in between the books. Since then, I have enjoyed the movies and knew that while they weren’t up to the caliber of the books, they were pretty well done.
Well, I have almost completed rereading all 7 Harry Potter books in sequential order. And let me tell you first that reading them all is a commitment. I have devoted a lot of time to reading the books and it has taken me about a month to get through them all.
So, what has Harry Potter taught me since I started rereading them?
Friendships are as important as family
All of the friends that Harry has throughout his life are almost as important to him as his family. I think it could be argued that they are more important since he doesn’t know much about his family except that they died protecting him.
How would Harry have faired if Hermione hadn’t been with him and so book smart? What would he have done if Neville never killed the snake? Would Harry have still been able to beat Voldemort? His friendships are just as important as his family.
Good will defeat evil
How long has the good vs. evil notion been around? What I loved about Harry Potter and the series was that you got to read about how Harry struggled with choosing the right (the good) path. I’m not saying that it’s good that Harry struggled with the evil that he knew he could have chosen, but it made him more human to have him struggle the way he did.
But despite the struggles, he chooses good and it ends up defeating the most evil anyone could have ever imagined. It might not have been easy, and there were sacrifices that occurred, but he did manage to defeat him in the end.
Love has many forms
Either from the living or the dead, love is a theme throughout all of the books. I think the biggest aspect of love in the whole series is Lily’s love for Harry. That is what protects him from Voldemort in the beginning and that is what helps Harry once Voldemort returns (Book #4). Also, Sirius’s love for Harry, although short-lived was never in question. He sacrificed himself by exposing himself when Harry needed help from the Order (book #5).
I can not mention love and not mention Dumbledore’s love for Harry. While I think this love was mutual, I do think Dumbledore realized how much he really loved Harry well before Harry knew it. And Jo never hid her affection for Dumbledore and Harry’s relationship. I could write so much about their relationship that truly made the series great, but I will let my thoughts stay where they are.
Death is never easy and grief is something you work to triumph over
The number of deaths that happen in this series is paramount. And they aren’t all small, minor characters who end up losing their lives in the fight. There are some huge characters that end up dying (Dumbledore, Sirius, Fred, Dobby and so many more).
While these deaths were significant, I do think that they were necessary for the story progressing. Jo showed us that these deaths, while significant and paramount, were hard to process and accept. Dobby, who had come to save Harry Potter, as he had done many times before, gets stabbed and dies. Dumbledore, who had an agenda all his own, is killed by a professor at his own school (which you learn later was discussed and planned out).
Thinking about death makes me also have to acknowledge the grief that goes along side it. What kept ringing in my ears as I was reading Harry Potter was that grief is different for everyone and what you might think someone else should be doing or going through, you never really know how they are feeling. Remember that in your own life.
What did Harry Potter teach you?