I grew up in the age of Harry Potter, but oddly enough, I didn’t become a diehard fan until I reached my thirties. Once I picked up the first book, I couldn’t put them down. It truly is a beautiful world that J.K. Rowling created, and since reading them myself, I’ve introduced them to my children. Not only are the story and imagery amazing, but there are SO many life lessons hidden in the pages of those novels.
Even if you aren’t a fantasy fan (I’m not myself), they are worth reading simply for the things the wizarding world can teach you.
First off, we learn that it’s okay to be different. In case you aren’t familiar with the story, Harry grows up an orphan with his aunt and uncle who treat him horribly. From the time they take him in, they label him a freak, and as he grows and matures, it only gets worse. Once he finds his place in the wizarding world, he’s labeled there because he’s famous. Many gravitate to him for that and many hate him simply because of his notoriety. No matter what happens, Harry never changes. He never apologizes for who he is, and he doesn’t conform to others’ standards, no matter what they say or how they treat him. He rides the rollercoaster of his identity with courage and bravery, and that’s a wonderful example for anyone to follow.
Secondly, those young wizards teach us that friends can help you face anything. Harry has two of the most faithful friends I’ve ever seen in the literary world, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. No matter what deadly situations Harry finds himself in, they are always by his side. They believe in him when others don’t and stand up for him when others think he’s crazy. When he tries his best to push him away, they never waver. When he’s thrown into the spotlight and given all the recognition for everything they accomplish together, they quietly sit in the shadows knowing they helped him. Those three show us that friendship is sacred and should be cared for accordingly.
Going hand in hand with friendship, we also learn how important loyalty is. Harry earns quite a following throughout the series, as does Voldemort. One side is fighting for good, one for evil. On both sides, we meet some of the most loyal characters known to literature. Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley, and Luna Lovegood follow Harry blindly, even when they don’t know half of what’s going on. Dumbeldore’s Army and the Order of the Phoenix believe every word Harry tells them, even when they have no proof Voldemort has returned. Despite being one of the greatest wizards of all time, Dumbledore believes the young teenager when his tales seem unbelievable. On the flip side, Voldemort’s Death Eaters follow him no matter how much destruction they leave in their wake. No matter what side these characters were fighting on, they were loyal until the end.
These novels also teach us that violence isn’t the answer. Voldemort is ready to strike his fellow wizards dead in the blink of an eye, but Harry shows that even when his life is at risk, he’s not willing to hurt someone. Harry lost his family and everything he holds dear to Voldemort, so if anyone had the right to violence, it would be him. Every time they face each other though, Harry refuses to take the easy way out. He protects himself and his friends no matter what, but he isn’t looking to kill anyone during the battle. This is a lesson many adults could take to heart right now.
One of the most important lessons that Dumbledore imparts in Harry throughout the entire series is how important love is. We learn from Dumbledore that without love, life isn’t worth living. Harry is terrified that he is going to turnout like Voldemort, but as Dumbledore constantly points out, Harry has the ability to love, and does so beautifully. Voldemort does not, and therefore leaves a path of destruction wherever he goes. When you have love in your heart, it’s impossible to be evil. If Voldemort knew how to love, Harry wouldn’t have been deemed “The Boy Who Lived.”
And finally, this world teaches us that a mother’s love conquers all. I think any mom knows that this sentiment holds true, especially when it comes to our children. Even though Lily Potter died when Harry was a baby, her love protected him for years to come. Voldemort couldn’t kill Harry because she sacrificed herself for him, showing the ultimate kind of love that Voldemort couldn’t touch or contain. We moms in the real world sacrifice all kinds of things for our children every day — our time, sleep, self-care, bodies, sanity — and if it came down to it, we would easily die to protect our children, just as Lily did. The love between a mother and children can’t be broken, and J.K. Rowling did a beautiful job of expressing that.