What Lessons Can The “Harry Potter” Series Teach Us?

The Hogwarts Houses


I’ve been reading the Harry Potter series since I was in elementary school. I went to book release parties at the local bookstore each time a sequel was released. I threw my younger brother a Harry Potter-themed birthday party. My best friend and I made a home video of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone before Warner Brothers even entered the picture. It’s safe to say that I grew up with Harry Potter and all of his companions. Even now, the books have a special place on a bookshelf that anyone can see when they walk in my front door.

Few people my age will disagree that the Harry Potter series is special. If you search “Harry Potter” on Twitter, you’ll find that the series is still very much in the public eye, even though the series is now more than 20 years old. Children are still being introduced to the series, as are adults who never read it the first time around. Case in point: I forced my husband to read the books a year and a half ago; he liked them. J. K. Rowling has done something incredible in creating a timeless series that appeals to readers of all ages. She also taught us several important lessons along the way.

Note: If you haven’t read the books, please exit this tab, go to the library, and do it, because I’m going to talk about the ending, the beginning, and everything in between. You can thank me later.

What Harry Potter Teaches Us:

That friendship is more important than anything:

When Harry tricked Lucius Malfoy into setting his servant, a friend of Harry’s, free: “‘Got a sock,’ said Dobby in disbelief. ‘Master threw it, and Dobby caught it, and Dobby — Dobby is free.’” -- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

When Harry donated thousands of Galleons to his friends so that they could start their beloved joke shop: “The twins returned. Harry pulled open his trunk and drew out his Triwizard winnings. ‘Take it,’ he said, and he thrust the sack into George’s hands.” -- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

When Harry wanted to spend a day with his two best friends: “He felt his heart lift at the thought that here was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Hermione.” -- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

That you should never judge a book by it’s cover:

Snape says "Always."

Harry Potter / Giphy

When Harry wrongly assumed that he was being attacked by Snape: “Snape was trying to save me?” -- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

When Harry still suspected Snape of wanting him dead, but Dumbledore shut him down: “Dumbledore did not speak for a moment; he looked as though he was trying to make up his mind about something. At last he said, ‘I am sure. I trust Severus Snape completely.’” -- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

That bravery doesn’t just have one definition:

When Neville tried to prevent Harry, Ron, and Hermione from leaving the Gryffindor common room after curfew: “‘There are all kinds of courage,’ said Dumbledore, smiling. ‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville Longbottom.’” -- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

That love conquers all:

When Bill Weasley was mauled by a werewolf and Fleur proved her love for him: “‘You thought I would not weesh to marry him? Or per’aps you hoped?’ said Fleur, her nostrils flaring. ‘What do I care how he looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All the scars show is zat my husband is brave!’” -- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

When Remus Lupin declared that immediately after Dumbledore’s death wasn’t the time to talk about his relationship with Tonks: “‘Dumbledore would have been happier than anybody to think that there was a little more love in the world,’ said Professor McGonagall curtly.” -- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

That not all battles have to be fought alone:

When students at Hogwarts started Dumbledore’s Army: “There was a gentle knock on the door. Harry looked around; Ginny, Neville, Lavender, Parvati, and Dean had arrived… Harry began to explain, but before he finished more people had arrived, and he had to start all over again. By the time eight o’clock arrived, every cushion was occupied.” -- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When Dumbledore was overcome and Harry had to get him safely home: “‘I am not worried, Harry,’ said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. ‘I am with you.’” -- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

That if you face your fears, you will overcome them:

When Dumbledore taught Harry his first lesson: “Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” -- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

When Harry and Ron found out that Aragog was not the creature in the Chamber of Secrets: “‘Follow the spiders,’ said Ron weakly, wiping his mouth on his sleeve. ‘I’ll never forgive Hagrid. We’re lucky to be alive.’” -- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

When Harry told Professor Lupin that he is more afraid of dementors than Voldemort: “That suggests that what you fear most of all is — fear. Very wise, Harry.” -- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

That loss is a part of life:

When Dumbledore explained that death really isn’t so scary: “To one as young as you, I’m sure it seems incredible, but to Nicolas and Perenelle, it really is like going to bed after a very, very long day. After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” -- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Dumbledore says "Do not pity the dead, Harry."

Harry Potter / Giphy

When Harry felt stupid for hoping that he saw his father and Dumbledore comforted him: “You think the dead we have loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble?” -- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

When Harry knew how important it was to bring his friend’s body home: “Harry let go of the Cup, but he clutched Cedric to him even more tightly… ‘He wanted me to bring him back,’ Harry muttered — it seemed important to explain this. ‘He wanted me to bring him back to his parents…’” -- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

When Harry was greeted by his parents, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin, all deceased, upon using the Ressurection Stone: “Less substantial than living bodies, but much more than ghosts, they moved toward him, and on each face, there was the same loving smile.” -- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

That reading is important:

When Hermione tried to solve the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets: “‘Somewhere over there,’ said Ron, pointing along the shelves. ‘Looking for another book. I think she’s trying to read the whole library before Christmas.’” -- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

When Hermione approved of the plan to start Dumbledore’s Army: “She looked around at Harry, her face glowing, and he saw that the presence of hundreds of books had finally convinced Hermione that what they were doing was right.” -- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

That imagination is powerful:

When Dumbledore taught Harry his final lesson: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” -- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

There are so many other lessons that can be found among the pages of J. K. Rowling’s works: that age is just a number, that family matters, that the choices you make are more important to your character than the way you were born, that wealth doesn’t beget happiness… but you’ll have to read the books to learn these lessons for yourself.

What are your favorite Harry Potter quotes?

About Megan Clendenon

Megan C. is obsessed with Cincinnati-style chili, Louisville basketball, and Scandinavian crime fiction. She has lived in six different states and held 12 different jobs since beginning her undergraduate degree at Carleton College in 2008. The wanderlust abated somewhat in recent years, as Megan settled in Texas from 2013 to 2016 to finish a master’s degree in geosciences, write a thesis on the future horrors that stem from climate change, and get married. During her free time, you will find Megan sitting on the couch, cheering for her Louisville Cardinals, planning future adventures abroad, and snuggling with her dog, Tiger. She currently lives outside of Washington D.C.

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