Life-Changing Lessons I Learned from Harry Potter

7.20.2016


I think I speak for all Harry Potter fans when I say I've learned a lot from the famed book series. I grew up with this series; and, as a result, these books have impacted my childhood and shaped who I am today. When I return to the series now, even years later, I'm always delighted to discover and learn something new from my favorite stories. These are just a few of the many irreplaceable life lessons J. K. Rowling's novels have taught me.

1. The future is not fixed.

“We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.”

As Sirius Black more eloquently put it, people are not born innately good or bad. We as humans can dictate our own paths in life. Of course, surroundings can have an impact. But ultimately, life-changing actions are left to the individual to execute. 

2. Not caring is an issue, but caring too much can be equally detrimental. 

“You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.”

Especially with the other list items in mind, determination and passion towards achieving a goal is crucial to realize that goal. However, forcing oneself to strive tirelessly towards that goal without breaks or consideration for personal well-being can also be harmful. This idea resonates with me particularly when I think of schoolwork; sleepless nights and stress that engenders friction in relationships, extracurricular activities, and the mind seem to be the sacrifice for that ideal grade. While it is important to remain steadfast and aim to achieve high, sometimes a break-- from a project, friendship, assignment, or whatever the trigger may be-- is okay. Necessary, even.

3. Everyone has the potential to succeed.

“You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!”

I've always considered myself a driven person, but taking a step back to reflect on previous instances and imagine the future is important. Although the saying is cliche, Harry Potter taught me than anything conceivable is possible; if I can think it, than I can do it. Sometimes the hardships we face can be intimidating and seemingly unfeasible. In other instances, we may feel as if our pre-determined fates control our actions more than our will, and that we cannot change human nature or create an impact. Harry Potter fostered my belief that with determination, anyone can accomplish anything.

4. Close relationships last beyond a lifetime.

“The ones that love us never really leave us.”

Largely through my moving experiences, I have learned that some companions will pass through and later slowly fade. Other friends and family members, though, will strive to make a relationship last. As I transition to new houses and new communities and experience the loss of old friends and the development of new companions, Harry Potter reminds me that these changes are okay. Even as I might struggle to cope with losing contact with a former friend, I can remember that there are others who care for me as I care for them. 

5. Be yourself.

“I am what I am, an’ I’m not ashamed. ‘Never be ashamed,’ my ol’ dad used ter say, ‘there’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth botherin’ with.”

The first few months after arriving in a new community can be tough. One can transition from content in their previous residence to an unknown in their new one. It takes a while to adjust and make new friends, especially in a school environment. This relatable feeling, whether discovered in a new school after a move, a jump from high school to college, a job in an unfamiliar area, or other circumstance, can be discouraging while adjusting. Even when times grow tough, and new surroundings seem to make us shrink into our shells, Hagrid and Luna remind us that being yourself is the best thing to do in these times.

6. Always be prepared for class.

“Turn to page three hundred and ninety-four.”

I just had to include this quote. Come on, it's Snape.


7. Happiness is achievable.

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."

Despite hardships, Harry Potter encourages readers to strive towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Even in the face of adversity, happiness can be found. Whether joy is achieved through friendships, pursuing a passion, playing a sport, or another activity, happiness can always, always be found. This is crucial to remember. 

8. Doing the right thing can be challenging.

"We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy."

At crossroads, doing the right thing is never easy. Everyone must face difficult decisions during their lives. Dumbledore advises us to weigh the benefits and consequences of these decisions and make the best choice for ourselves, our communities, and our world. 

9. Reflecting on the past is important, but the past shouldn't dictate the present.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."

Ever experience those cringe-worthy moments in which your biggest mistakes and failures replay in your mind as you wish you could do things over? Me too. (Jeez that was a detailed description­čść­čść) While it is important to learn from previous experiences, it is also important to realize that these instances, however embarrassing, exist in the past. In spite of our greatest wishes, these instances remain unchangeable. The only instances we can actively change, now, are those we create today. 

10. Words matter.

“Words are in my not-so-humble opinion, the most inexhaustible form of magic we have, capable both of inflicting injury and remedying it.”

Being a reader of Harry Potter (and a muggle), I'm gradually realizing the power of words. With widespread technology, media, and innovations, sometimes we as a whole forget the influence of carefully selected words. Words have the power to shape perspective and can, quite literally, change lives. In the future, I hope that I can use words to make some kind of positive difference.

Well, that was deep. Special thanks to Aentee @ Read at Midnight for hosting #PotterheadJuly, an event for book bloggers to share their favorite Harry Potter highlights through blog posts! 

What are some lessons you have learned from books?

15 comments :

  1. Lesson 5 - Be Yourself - that's definitely something that I've noticed in Harry Potter! I loved it, because I know that's something I used to struggle with a lot. With some amazing role models, like Luna and Hermione, who weren't afraid to show who they were, I honestly loved reading Harry Potter <3
    Awesome post, Claire! :)

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    1. Thanks, Geraldine! Lesson five especially resonates with me as well, and I'm so glad Harry Potter provides great characters, like you mentioned, who shamelessly be themselves throughout trials and tribulations.

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  2. I love these. I definitely think that Harry Potter had a huge impact on how I view life.

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    1. Thanks, Haley! I completely agree!

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  3. Nice lessons! I think Dumbledore's quote from the beginning of Prisoner of Azkaban is one of my favorites. The others are nice, certainly, but remembering that hope and joy are a choice I have power over gives me a little bit of strength in those dark times. Thanks for sharing these!

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    1. No problem, Heather! Dumbledore's quote has to be one of the most memorable to me throughout the entire series. I don't have many book quotes memorized by heart, but you can bet I have this one committed to memory to shine light in darker times.

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  4. This is wonderful, Claire. I haven't read Harry Potter in nearly a decade and I am sad to say I had forgotten some of the vital lessons the series had taught me at a young age. It is such an important series that heavily influenced me. I think lesson 1 really stuck with me. It can be scary to think that we all have the ability to shape our own lives but it is also very empowering. Loved this!

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    1. Thank you Erin! It's been a while since I read the Harry Potter series too, and I'm hoping to re-read the series soon. I recently read your post on transitioning into the world after high school and I think lesson one can definitely relate to those feelings.

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  5. Harry Potter teaches some great lessons and I think you summed them all up really well. I'm also kinda feeling like I want to re-read the books now...

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    1. Thanks, Alex! I had the same feeling when I heard about the release of the Cursed Child!

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  6. I agree so much, Harry Potter is endlessly quotable and I think they can make an entire booklet of these wonderful quotes and I would buy it in a heartbeat. I especially love Sirius Black and his words of wisdom, he's a man twisted by bitternes but can still shine on with such strength at times. His quote with 'the ones who love us will never really leave us' made me cry so much the second time I read it!!

    Thank you so much for participating in Potterhead July! Loved your post.

    Aentee at Read at Midnight

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    1. Yes! I hope someone compiles something like that in the future. You can bet I'd want it on my shelves. Thank you so much for hosting Potterhead July, it was a fun experience and I can't wait to read the Cursed Child!

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  7. I'm so in love with this post and couldn't agree more. I especially feel it with the lesson 1 & 2 <3

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  8. Oh, I loved this post, Claire! I can relate to all of them, and Harry Potter taught me so much too, especially since Harry Potter was what got me into reading. (Before then, I hated the idea of reading, hahaha.) I think another lesson that Harry Potter taught me that standing up for what you believe in can be hard but it is everything. I think about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and how everyone stood together and against Voldemort. Even if death was a possibility, losing liberty and living in fear would have been worse. I think that's why the ending really, really moved me.

    CW (Read Think Ponder)

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