Writers Who Read: 7 Lessons Harry Potter Taught Us


Summer is a big reading time for me. I can read book after book. This past summer, I spent my time reading all seven of the Harry Potter novels, discovering that there is much more to the wizarding world than many people think. Not only does the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry teach potions, herbology, and more, the school also teaches life lessons that were passed to the readers through J.K. Rowling’s writing. For this month’s article, I decided to go another route and focus on the 7 lessons that the Harry Potter series has taught us.

  1. Good versus Evil: Scrap away all of the details and the basis of the series’ plot is good versus evil. Harry Potter, his friends, professors, and more are working together to defeat Lord Voldemort, a dark magic wizard who has plans to take over the magical community and rid it of anyone who is a Muggle-born (no magical parents) or half-bloods (only one parent is magical). In the end (spoiler alert) Harry and his gang defeat Voldemort, returning the world to normal. In reality, this lesson can encourage us to always fight for what is good and to work towards making not only our own lives better, but the lives of those around us. Good versus evil can be an internal choice that we choose to make on a daily basis. One of my favorite quotes from the book series is from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: “We’ve all got light and dark inside of us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
  2. Love Triumphs All: The reason Harry Potter survived Voldemort’s first attack at a year old is because of his mother’s love. His mother sacrificed herself and when Voldemort tried to kill Harry, her love won over evil. At the end of the series, Harry sacrifices himself to end the Battle of Hogwarts and prevent others from dying. Love triumphs over all is a lesson we can all use. It is about being kind to each other; treating others with respect; agreeing that we may disagree. I think we can all agree on one thing though – the world could use more love.
  3. Our Actions Show Who We Are: Professor Albus Dumbledore once said “It is our choices, Harry, that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities.” In reality, our actions give a better description of who a person actually is, their personality, and values. It is like the phrase “Action speak louder than words.”
  4. Friends Can Become Family: Harry Potter was orphaned at an early age. His friends from school and their families quickly became his. This lesson shows us that family isn’t always blood relatives, but can be those you love and that love you in return.
  5. We All Have Courage Inside Us: One of Harry’s friends, Neville Longbottom, was known for being less than strong in his beginning years at Hogwarts. However, by the end of the books, Neville became a key figure in taking down Lord Voldemort. His actions are an example of how we all have courage inside of us; it may just take time for that courage to fully develop and shine.
  6. Remember to Live in the Present: In the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry discovers the Mirror of Erised, which, according to Dumbledore, shows people their “deepest, most desperate desires of their hearts.” For Harry, he saw his parents in that mirror. In return, Dumbledore told him “It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” We only get one life, so why waste it? It is important to remember the past, but it is also important to make the most of the present.
  7. Happiness Can Always be Found: Another poignant quote from Professor Dumbledore is “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” This quote has never been truer than this year, 2020. Moments of happiness are all around us; we just have to pay attention to them.

There are many quotes I love from the Harry Potter series and I could spend pages explaining why. These seven books are timeless, full of adventure and meaning. No matter how many times a person reads them, they will always get something new out of the books. Just be sure to say at the end of every reading, “Mischief Managed.”


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