7 Things I’ve Realized after Rereading Harry Potter

This past January/February I reread the Harry Potter books, and I’ve been wanting to write something about it, but I wasn’t sure what. Then, my mom was telling me how she read an article about a girl who’d grown up watching Gilmore Girls recently rewatched the show and wrote an article of things she realized about the show now that she hadn’t seen in it growing up.

So I thought I’d do the same with Harry Potter. Admittedly, some of these things aren’t exactly new, but reinforced in new ways. I chose seven things, quite appropriately.

(If you’ve never read the books, don’t read this. (Jen this warning is for you!! 😉 ))

I can understand why Ron and Hermione may divorce in the future.

This pains me to say this, it truly, truly does, because no one rooted for them more than I did back in the day, but…..they’re always. Fighting. And it drives. Me. INSANE. Maybe I’m not as patient a Hufflepuff I was as a teen, but honestly, but reading the books this time around I realized just how often they’re arguing. And, to be quite honest, Ron could really be a jerk to Hermione at times, and I wouldn’t blame her for having enough of that.

HOWEVER I’m quite aware that they’re teens in the span of these books, and both of them are quite immature (especially you, Ron), and while they do mature significantly when they reach the end of Deathly Hallows, I do think it’s entirely possible that they’re 20s did them some good. As someone currently in their twenties, I firmly believe that most of maturity comes during these years, and I have faith that Ron and Hermione’s relationship blossomed into something lovely as they grew together. I do think a lot of their chemistry and animosity comes from mutual that Gryffindor fire and stubbornness, and fighting will always be a part of their relationship (as it is with all couples) and would say they probably get into really NASTY ones as a couple….but,  they love each other. And they’re so cute in the epilogue, really.

So yeah. I think now I could (very painfully) accept why J.K. Rowling said they may divorce, but I’ll still have a million and one arguments about why I don’t want them to, please. Starting with Ron screaming his lungs out for Hermione in the Malfoy Manor basement to keeping the trio’s friendship strong and unblemished forever and ending with PLEASE DON’T TEAR APART MY PRECIOUS OTP LIKE THIS.

I can take the marriage counseling J.K. Rowling mentioned. Just don’t break my heart, please.

 

The way the Weasleys yell at each other.

Perhaps this comes off well after the last one, considering the firey stubbornness of Gryffindors, but I love, love, love how the Weasleys are such a real family, simply because they’re constantly YELLING AT EACH OTHER. Insults thrown around, name calling, and there’s even an instance in Half Blood Prince when Ron even throws a paring knife at Fred. I love how Mrs. Weasley is constantly screeching at her children because they’re honestly such little brats sometimes.

Reading the books this time around, the magic and homeyness that tends to surround the Weasley family was punctured slightly by all this fighting (when they stole the car, when Fred and George annoy Percy, when Fred and George secretly develop their joke shop, when  Fred and George bug Ron for becoming prefect, when Fred and George………………yeah), but I was also like….I can relate to this so much, the insults they chuck at each other that’s just so familial. They’re full of such fire but it’s also warm and full of love for one another, and they’ll always fight to the death for one another. Without being afraid to call the other an idiot every once in a while, because, come on, siblings fight.

 

Mr. Weasley is the funniest character.

The Harry Potter books are some of the funniest books I’ve ever read. They’re hilarious. They make me laugh out loud. J.K. Rowling and her characters have a fantastic sense of humor. The whole universe is laden with a sense of humor, from the very titles of Harry’s spell books. It’s a part of the light heartedness of the series that I adore so much.

This time around, I was brought to tears by Mr. Weasley (followed closely by Dumbledore and Hagrid, and Fred and George, because I feel they deserve an honorable mention).I always knew he was funny, but this time I found him downright hilarious. His fascination with muggles (his dearest ambition being to discover how planes stay up, his delight at hearing Ron and Fred and George flew his car, using the opportunity of getting bitten by Voldemort’s snake to try out “muggle stitches”), and of course  his relationship with Mrs. Weasley:

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I LOVE IT. So much I had stopped to take a picture of it. And I love Mr. Weasley. I vote him best HP dad , and thank him for the laughs.

 

I didn’t like Sirius.

Before you hate me, let me explain that by not falling for Sirius this time around, I learned to appreciate his character better. I didn’t quite like him, but I do love him, and I feel terribly sorry for him. I think he has a good and honest heart and he was betrayed in the most horrible, heart breaking way. He was imprisoned at age twenty one for something he never would have done and didn’t get out until twelve years later.

Sirius is a fascinating character. By the time he meets Harry when Harry’s thirteen, Sirius hasn’t had a chance to mature into the thirty-some-odd year old man he is. I know it may not be fair, but I think it was the nature of his immaturity  that made him unlikable to me this time around.

I think, though, being annoyed by his immaturity made me appreciate it so much more, and appreciate the effects Sirius’ past had on him. Sirius had a rebellious nature, coming from a family of Slytherins, he didn’t always give Harry the best advice and he could be could be hurtful (not to mention that Gryffindor temper again).

It’s terribly tragic that his disrespect and meanness to Kreacher is, ultimately, what cause him to lose his life, and I think it’s what makes his death one of the most bitter, yet brilliant deaths in the books. Depth of kindness is, perhaps, the most important theme in Harry Potter (that, and the power of choice), and Sirius’ death showed that in the most painful way.

He was bitter in the time Harry knew him, but I can’t blame him, even if it doesn’t exactly make me like him. It’s not fair that Sirius died in his thirties, with the heart of a man still in his twenties, who knew the depth of friendship and loyalty but who so much of life had been stolen from by someone else’s lack of friendship, loyalty, and kindness.

So what I’m trying to say, is that disliking Sirius has made me appreciate the tragedy of his character so much more. Will I ever be over Harry finding that mirror in his trunk???

 

I really appreciate Draco Malfoy.

I’ve never liked Draco Malfoy, and I still don’t. He drives me insane, always picking fights with Harry, especially throughout the earlier books. And when Harry takes the bate and starts fighting back I just want to smack some sense into both of their stubborn selves.

And that still annoyed me this time around. But, much like with Sirius, I experienced a new sense of heart with Draco. Maybe the fact that I’m twenty four and he’s now well and truly a teenage to me in these books, I feel more sorry for him.He was raised in an incredibly intolerant home ruled by “pure blood” superiority and dark arts. The “nurture” part of his childhood was despicable, and he’s the definition of a bully envious of their victim, because Harry gets all the fame.

Then we reach Half Blood Prince, which is where is where my heart began to feel something for the little brat. Given the impossible task of killing Dumbledore for Voldemort, he begins to crumble, and thus begins the questioning of his upbringing, of his entire worldview, continuing more greatly in Deathly Hallows.

J.K. Rowling wrote on Pottermore:

People whom Draco had been raised, or else had learned, to hate, such as Dumbledore, had offered him help and kindness, and Harry Potter had given him his life.

That theme of kindness again- all it is, really, are just acts of kindness that change Draco, that make it difficult, suddenly, for him to admit Harry’s identity when he’s brought by snatchers to Malfoy Manor, because it doesn’t quite feel right to him anymore. Suddenly, this kindness has given him a conscience.

And I love how he wrestles with it. When I first read Deathly Hallows, I couldn’t believe he’d still try to plead with a Death Eater  that he was still on his side after Harry had just saved his life after pulling him out of the fire in the Room of Requirement. This time, I realized it was because Draco was still learning, still didn’t quite understand where he stood, or what he stood for. It’s a lot, to happen when you’ve only lived seventeen years.

Another reason I’ll always appreciate the Malfoys, and Voldemort’s utter ignorance of love, is that it’s Draco’s very life and his mother’s love for him that allows Harry to live to defeat Voldemort. Even in the darkest, most repugnant families, Voldemort didn’t understand love could be found, and that it could so easily destroy allegiance to him.

I think anything else I’d have to say about Draco can be found in this Pottermore article, written by J.K. Rowling. I love it, it’s so interesting, and I’d love to see what happens with his character in the years after the final battle at Hogwarts. Alas, I’ll take whatever gives me 😉

There is, after all…some unextinguished good at the heart of Draco.

 

The heart of Harry’s character.

Okay, here it is, the big one, my favorite part in the entire Harry Potter series, and what I believe to be the utter heart of Harry’s character. It’s after Voldemort kills Harry in the forest, and he’s alone with the piece of his soul in Kings cross, encapsulated in the second paragraph:

He recoiled. He had spotted the thing that was making the noise. It had the form of a small, naked child, curled on the ground, its skin raw and rough, flayed-looking, and it lay shuddering under a seat where it had been left, unwanted, stuffed out of sight, struggling for breath.

He was afraid of it. Small and fragile and wounded though it was, he did not want to approach it. Nevertheless he drew slowly nearer, ready to jump back at any moment. Soon he stood near enough to touch it, yet he could not bring himself to do it. He felt like a coward. He ought to comfort it, but it repulsed him.

Harry’s goodness is shown so starkly here- it’s Voldemort’s soul, the one thing that can never be helped, the thing that has done such terrible things, and Harry’s frightened of it, repulsed, and yet still he feels compelled to help it.

He was distracted by the whimpering and thumping of the agonized creature behind them and glanced back at it yet again. “Are you sure we can’t do anything?” “There is no help possible.”

Before I got to these scene, I’d been flip flopping between who my favorite character was- Harry or Neville, but when I read this part (sobbing my eyes out, I might add) I had to choose Harry (but Neville is a VERY close second).

This affinity to save, to do good, to help if he can, is the very epitome of Harry, and even when Dumbledore tells him he cannot do anything to save it, he still feels sorry for it. It’s a trait that so many other characters do not share- similar to when Harry had saved Fleur’s little sister in the Great Lake during the Triwizard tournament when he didn’t have to, and when no one else bothered. And it’s something that is so enormously difficult for other characters to learn, such as Dumbledore. It took him years, and deadly mistakes, to realize that his and Grindelwald’s means of achieving the “greater good” did in fact no good at all, if it meant that innocents had to be sacrificed to get it.

I think another reason this part hit me so powerfully this time around is the fact that I’d been reading the four gospels around the same time, and the themes that run so powerfully through both of these came together in such an emotional way for me.

Kindness – and doing good despite pain – is so immensely difficult, and must be learned sometimes. And even though Harry feels naturally compelled to help the helpless, he still chooses to go back and finish his work against Voldemort for a brighter future and so that more lives may be saved

“I’ve got to go back, haven’t I?”

“That is up to you.”

“I’ve got a choice?”

“Oh yes.” Dumbledore smiled at him. “We are in King’s Cross, you say? I think that if you decided not to go back, you would be able to . . . let’s say . . . board a train.”

“And where would it take me?”

“On,” said Dumbledore simply

In conclusion, I adore Harry infinitely.

 

I love the epilogue.

I’m going to be brief here. I liked the epilogue the first time I read it. Then it was kind of annoying, once I’d engaged in discussion about it (the name Albus Severus is bad, blah blah, etc, etc.), but now, reading it for the umpteenth time, I love it. It’s adorable. It’s heartwarming and funny. Harry’s children pick on each other and Harry’s a good dad and Teddy Lupin is kissing one of the Weasley daughters.

“Oh, it would be lovely if they got married,” whispered Lily ecstatically. “Teddy would really be part of the family then!”

“He already comes round for dinner about four times a week,” said Harry. “Why don’t we just invite him to live with us and have done with it?”

“Yeah!” said James enthusiastically.

“I don’t mind sharing a room with Al—Teddy could have my room!”

“No,” said Harry firmly, “you and Al will share a room only when I want the house demolished.”

I love funny dad Harry. And funny husband Ron-

“Parked all right, then?” Ron asked Harry. “I did. Hermione didn’t believe I could pass a Muggle driving test, did you? She thought I’d have to Confund the examiner.”

“No, I didn’t,” said Hermione, “I had complete faith in you.”

“As a matter of fact, I did Confund him,” Ron whispered to Harry, as together they lifted Albus’s trunk and owl onto the train. “I only forgot to look in the wing mirror, and let’s face it, I can use a Supersensory Charm for that.”

And ending it all off with that last reminder that everything is up to choice-

“But just say—”

“—then Slytherin House will have gained an excellent student, won’t it? It doesn’t matter to us, Al. But if it matters to you, you’ll be able to choose Gryffindor over Slytherin. The Sorting Hat takes your choice into account.”

“Really?”

“It did for me,” said Harry.

He had never told any of his children that before, and he saw the wonder in Albus’s face when he said it.

It’s heartwarming and sweet, and all ends well, which is GOOD AND REASSURING and I’m terrified of what The Cursed Child this summer is going to do to destroy that. I’m excited, of course. But I also like my characters being well forever.

I love the epilogue. And I love Harry Potter. I wonder what I’ll have to say after I read them again in a few years.

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