Life lessons from Harry Potter, Part I

Though the series began as a children’s book written by an unknown first-time author, Harry Potter quickly morphed into a massively popular series for readers of all ages. Aside from the magical fun, why does Harry Potter speak to readers and viewers of so many ages and backgrounds? It holds a number of life lessons that appeal to everyone, no matter the age. Here is a three-part list of life lessons gleaned from the tale of Harry Potter.

1. Choices matter more than talent. In Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore tells Harry, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we are, far more than our abilities.” Voldemort is a prime example of this; he’s an incredibly talented wizard, but he makes the choice to become evil. In fact, when Dumbledore tells Harry this, it’s in the context of explaining how Harry and Voldemort are different. While both Harry and Tom Riddle were clever enough to be in Slytherin, Harry got put in Gryffindor because he asked the Sorting Hat not to put him in Slytherin.

2. Everyone deserves respect. One of Harry’s best friends is Hermione, a “Mudblood.” Although some – consistently those who are portrayed as bad guys – would hold this against her, Harry doesn’t. In fact, generally, it is the good guys who treat everyone as deserving of respect and the bad guys who don’t. Harry and Hermione respect Dobby; the Malfoys do not. Many Death Eaters hate Mudbloods and Halfbloods; the Order of the Phoenix and members of Dumbledore’s Army are less judgmental.

More will follow tomorrow.