This post is a continuation of my original Harry Potter lessons post from a couple of weeks ago. Here are some more great lessons to be gleaned from JKR’s classic fantasy novels:
SPOILER ALERT: Do not continue if you have not read the Harry Potter novels!
1. THERE IS MAGIC TO BE FOUND ALL AROUND US. I love how JKR has the knack of taking the ordinary and the mundane and making them, well, magical. The fact that St. Mungo’s Hospital is disguised as a closed department store is amazing. That the entrance to Diagon Alley is disguised behind a plain and boring pub is just great. It speaks to the creative power of imagination and our ability to transform the world around us into anything we wish. I find that power empowering and inspiring. It makes me want to work to improve the world around me, not just in the imagination, but in reality. After all, even the bleakest surroundings and situations have such potential!
2. A PARENT’S LOVE IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND POWERFUL THINGS IN THE WORLD. The role of Narcissa Malfoy at the end of “Deathly Hallows” is really one to make a reader stop and think. She is an awful, evil woman, but her unselfish love and devotion to her son inspire her to help Harry and, eventually, to walk away from Voldemort, with her family at her side. Really moving and philosophical stuff there! Even if the Malfoys never directly take a stand for good, they abandon evil. All because of Narcissa’s desire to know her son’s fate and to protect him.
3. THE BEST PEOPLE ARE THOSE WHO DO GOOD NOBODY ELSE KNOWS ABOUT. I was SOOO convinced that Severus Snape was the lowest of the low, a leech sucking off both the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters without any real conviction, determined only to survive by passing himself off as a true supporter of whichever side might win out. Instead, he ended up allowing the Order of the Phoenix to loathe his as a traitor and a murderer simply so he could continue, behind the scenes, to help Harry in any way he could. Snape’s character, and his fate, are just heart-rending in their pathos. Snape speaks so much of the power of unselfish love and the redemption it can bring!
Being raised Catholic, I connect this type of service and sacrifice to Christ and his instruction in the Gospels that when we do good, our right hands shouldn’t know what our left hands are doing. That’s the true mark of service–you don’t do it for praise or for a reputation, you do it because it’s simply the right thing to do.
4. GRATITUDE GOES A LONG WAY. The transformation that Harry undergoes from the angsty, self-centered teenager in “Order of the Phoenix” to the grieving, grateful friend who refuses to let anyone help him bury Dobby because he feels an obligation to do the work himself in “Deathly Hallows” is really moving. Dobby’s death brought me to tears, it really did, and Harry’s selfless, grateful response–his love for Dobby–endeared the wizard so much to me as a character!!! I will never forget that scene. It’s heart-breaking, but it also shows, in its way, some of the best humanity can achieve.