Harry Potter’s stories will remain in the minds of whoever has read the books or watched the movies. And it is not only because of its incredibly rich world and engaging characters.
Every page of each one of its seven books has, at least, one lesson that you will want to take with you for the rest of your life. And then pass it along to the next generations.
(Spoiler alert: several decisive moments and facts are revealed below!)
# 1 – That people can be good and bad (and good again)
On Harry Potter books, we will meet several characters with dubious personalities. Malfoy had several changes of heart, and we end up not sure of where he actually stood up for many pages. Dumbledore also had a troublesome past and many doubts in his mind here and there. And as another controversial character, Sirius Black, says, we have both good and evil in us… what matters is the part we choose to act on.
# 2 – That we can mistake good for bad
Snape is an example of a character that most of us thought that was supporting Voldemort only to discover that he wasn’t. Of course, he tried very hard to be hated by everyone so to ensure that his plan would work, but still, it is fair to say that many of us felt pretty bad when realised that he was just trying to help all the time.
# 3 – That our family is the one that we choose
Happy Potter leaves their adoptive family without second thoughts. He never felt bad for not standing by them, and embraced Hermione and Ron as their new brother and sister. He actually had some many parent figures over the books that it is hard to list them all. And he treasured each one of them.
# 3 – That appearance doesn’t mean anything
Hagrid has one of the best hearts in the book, but he certainly wouldn’t win any beauty contest. Luna was also always considered “weird”, but then happened to play a decisive role in the story. She never cared about what other people would think about her and remained authentic until the end. Only to prove that we should never judge a book by its cover.
# 4 – That courage and self-confidence are the keys for everything
Nobody would expect that a little boy would be the one to defeat Voldemort, even though there was a prophecy predicting it. Only Dumbledore, and later his friends, never doubt of him. It was Harry’s courage and self-confidence that kept him firm on his mission, despite how big his role was to play.
# 5 – That loyal friends are all that you need
Even though Harry was the one with the curse and the mission, he couldn’t have done it without Hermione and Ron. It was their support, each one on their own way, that made possible for him to defeat Voldemort. Hermione’s knowledge was the answer to many life-threatening situations, for instance.
# 6 – That the voices inside your head can be ignored (and used in your favour)
Harry suffered from hearing Voldemort’s voice and feelings inside of his head, something that many of us can relate to self-sabotage and depressive thoughts. It disturbed him and made him weak for a while, but soon he found out how to deal with it and use it in his favour. And so can we.
# 7 – That people might try to manipulate your weakness
In the books, the Dementors use their powers to manipulate people’s fears and sadness. Actually, they feed upon unhappiness and were known for being able to cause desperation and despair in their victims. And we probably have met a few people like this, that take pleasure in making us feel bad. Still, in the books (and in real life), they can be defeated.
# 8 – That you can be a hero without being perfect
Harry is almost an anti-hero, a boy full of insecurities, not that strong, not that handsome, neither that smart, but that still has a critical job to do. And he wins his game despite all adversities. His secret is, first of all, not caring about any of this. Secondly, he learns how to delegate some of his tasks to his friends and keep himself motivated and focused on his goal.
# 9 – That it is all about choices
Dumbledore tells Harry that “it is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”, and you will find several examples of it in the books. It is when people make decisions that things in their lives change, not destiny or lack of resources. And many of them have changes of hearts and are forgiven for his mistakes.
# 10 – That life happens while you are following your goals
Life doesn’t stop happening while Harry is on his quest. He and his friends still have to do deal with adolescence, happen to fall in love, give their first kisses away, go to a ball, and everything else. And it is a reminder to all of us that insist waiting that something happen or that we are 100% ready so we can follow our dreams.
# 11 – That it is OK when things don’t work well
Not everything has a happy ending for Harry Potter. Cedric died on his watch and by mistake, plus so many other friends pass away over the pages, including his beloved Albus Dumbledore and Sirius Black. But he wasn’t defeated by his losses. Instead, they gave to him more purpose and determination.
# 11 – You can’t change your past but you can change your future
Coming from where he came, you wouldn’t believe that Harry Potter would be able to accomplish what he did. But he made a choice of accepting his past as it was, and then building a new future for himself and everybody around him.
# 12 – That love is the most powerful thing in the world
It was love that kept Harry alive, it was love that made Snape give himself for sacrifice. The books are full of small and big examples of the power of love, how it can it the most creative and destructive thing if them all. And how everything can turn well in the end.
Harry Potter’s books and movies are an endless source of endless conversations and lessons to learn. You can use them for self-reflection, to delight your children, and even for a motivational speech at work.
Just take your favourite character or sequence and spend some time meditating upon the pages or videos. You will see the stories with brand new eyes and be happy to have read or watch them.
Photo: Getty Images