The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is considered to be one of the most beloved stories of all time. For the non-Potterheads, Harry Potter is the story of the boy wizard who does the impossible. As a baby, he escapes unharmed from the dark lord Voldemort. With his parents dead, he lives with his non-magical aunt and uncle until age 11. On his eleventh birthday he receives his invitation to attend Hogwarts. Upon realizing he is a wizard, he attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he meets his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, and his mentor, Professor Dumbledore. He finally realizes the significance of defeating Voldemort and spends the next six years in a battle to the death, which proves to be much more complicated than anticipated. To get the full story and the greatness that is Harry Potter, I strongly recommend reading the books.
The books were made into movies, all of which were extremely popular, especially the most recent and final installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which is one of the highest grossing movie franchises of all time.
Besides the fact that these books and movies are incredibly entertaining and well-written, there are plenty of life lessons that can be learned from the series. Here are five of my favorites:
1. With the support of friends, anything is possible.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione complete each other. Each is very brave, but the talents that make them successful are unique. Without Hermione's brilliance or Ron's creativity and support, Harry would not have been nearly as successful in his endeavors. Through the hardest of times, they were always there for each other, and even when they had their fights, they always found their way back home.
2. Never judge a book by its cover.
Snape is one of the best examples of a character with the ultimate plot twist. Although it is known throughout the series that Dumbledore trusts him, I personally developed a strong hatred for Snape throughout the series because I felt that he betrayed Harry. However, in the end, he redeemed himself by proving that he was always protecting Harry. Despite his greasy hair and obnoxious manner, Snape is a hero. Harry even names one of his children after him. It can be hard not to make judgments, but sometimes, people may surprise you.
3. It is great to be smart, but sometimes, that isn't the most important thing.
As Hermione says in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, "Books! And cleverness! There are more important things -- friendship and bravery." As Hermione pointed out, sometimes knowing the right answer is not enough. Although Harry never would have been nearly as successful without the expertise of Hermione, it is his bravery that makes him able to fight for what he believes in. In terms of real, non-magical, high school life, a high value is placed on intellectual ability and getting into college. Although this is important, other personality traits can be equally as vital, if not more crucial, than being on the honor roll.
4. You control your future through the choices that you make.
Sometimes it may seem that everything is out of your hands. However, with the right mindset, you can control fate. Although the sorting hat typically decides what house each Hogwarts student is placed in, Harry sways it with his own two cents. For teenagers, everything seems to be controlled by pressure from parents, teachers, and friends. It may seem like everything is out of your control, your thoughts, and ultimately, your actions, can change what may seem like a predetermined fate.
5. Love is the most powerful weapon you can have.
Love was Harry's savior many times throughout the book. His mother's love protected him until he moves away from home (and, spoiler alert: it is why Voldemort was unable to kill Harry way back in the Sorcerer's Stone). When he moves away from his aunt and uncle's house, Harry comes to the realization that the power he held over Voldemort was not in who was a better wizard. What gave Harry so much power was the fact that Voldemort will never know love. Harry's love for his friends allowed him to put them before himself when making the ultimate sacrifice. Knowing that there are people out there that love you and loving others provides the support and motivation necessary to make it through hard times.
It's hard not to fall in love with the characters, the story, and the writing of the Harry Potter series. I strongly recommend it to everyone of any age. Not only is it entertaining, it teaches priceless life lessons that can be carried from the elementary school age all the way into adulthood.