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What Harry Potter Taught Me About Life

by Elise Yeakley-Nelson
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Harry Potter life lessons

It’s no secret that Harry Potter is one of the most beloved book series of all time, but I have often wondered what made it so loved and long-lasting. If you ask a hundred people on the street, I’m sure you’ll get a variety of answers: “Great, multi-dimensional characters that I can relate to,” “Great story with a deep plot and abundance of twists and turns,” and “It’s such a deeply and thoroughly written story” could be among the most sophisticated answers. There is no wrong answer to this question because different people love it for different reasons.

Although there is a wide range of possible reasons why the Harry Potter series exploded like it did, the most prevalent answers you may get from those that grew up with the series is this: “Harry Potter taught me about life.” This simple phrase encompasses all of the previously stated answers that could be given about the series’ popularity. J.K. Rowling knows her stuff, and she didn’t shy away from putting her whole heart and soul into the series that took her the better part of two decades to complete. Because of this, the Harry Potter series is filled with every type of character imaginable, along with so many relatable problems that adolescents face when growing up (despite the fantastical nature of the series itself).

What Will Our Response Be to Suffering?

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No matter how different someone’s life may be from yours, they still have to go through similar hardships. We, as readers, enjoy relating to the characters we read about. J.K. Rowling wrote about so many characters that you are bound to find one that you relate to the most (for me, it was Ginny Weasley). Although we don’t have magical powers and fly around on broomsticks playing Quidditch, we still had bad breakups, fights with friends, and family problems just like the characters in J.K. Rowling’s bestselling series. Being a teenager sucks, and Ms. Rowling accurately portrayed this through all of the love triangles, problems with classes and teachers, and of course, Harry’s angst (how could we forget).

Prejudice & Discrimination is Wretched

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It’s not okay to discriminate against others. One of the greatest life lessons we could ever be taught is to love everyone, despite their differences. One of the great issues throughout the entire Harry Potter series is the fight against Voldemort’s prejudice against anyone with a non-magical relative in their blood. Harry’s fight (alongside the Order and many other noble witches and wizards) against Voldemort went so much deeper than saving his own life-it was the fight to save everyone who wasn’t Voldemort’s ideal human being. Through this, readers are taught against the cruelty of discrimination and, basically, being a bully (on a wide scale).

Whether you grew up reading each newly released novel as it hit the shelves or you are just discovering the magnificence of the book series now, you are sure to find these truths and life lessons throughout the pages of the Harry Potter series. Where would we be without the strong emotional connections we made with these characters? What makes a series great is more than a compelling plot, it’s all about the characters and the substance.

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