Harry Potter and the Power of Friendship
Since the release of the first book in the Harry Potter series, The Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling’s magical world has taken our muggle world by storm. The books’ great popularity were capped with the success of a movie franchise and millions of books sold. There is no denying that it has been one of the most impressive youth book series’ since C.S. Lewis’ penned The Chronicles of Narnia.
So what makes the Harry Potter books so great? In the very first story we learn what the whole series is going to be built on. Besides the wonderful world that is created through places like Hogwarts (Harry’s Wizardry School) or the powerful description of characters like the Dursleys, there is a great theme that connects the magical world into magic we can have in our lives.
Harry builds friendships with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger in the first book and those are key to the whole series. All three characters are perfect examples of misfits, similarly to the way we all feel like misfits in our daily lives. Harry is an orphan, Ron is poor and red headed, and Hermione is from a non-magical family. There stories leave each of them feeling like they may not belong at Hogwarts, and that they may never really be good magicians. However, these three twelve year old kids are able to band together and defeat a powerful sorcerer named Voldemort. It is the classic David versus Goliath plotline, but what makes it special is that in the climax of the story all of the characters need each other to survive. Each of them realizes their own skills and what makes each of them great. They are also all willing to sacrifice for each other to make sure that their friends survive.
This theme is continued throughout the entire series. When Harry discovers a diary that leads him to a dark place in The Chamber of Secrets, it is his friends who are able to help him defeat the evil wizard Voldemort’s latest plan of attack. When the friends have to keep secrets for their favored groundskeeper, Hagrid, in the Prisoner of Azkaban they do so out of loyalty and this loyalty helps them continue to survive.
In each story there are the obvious protagonists and antagonists, but it’s more than just the characters. Throughout this story, whenever there is loyalty, love and friendship, the protagonist of Harry Potter is able to defeat the Dark Lord. Whenever there is division, jealousy and anger, the evil wizard is able to make great strides to take over the world. Whether it was Ron’s misunderstood jealousy of Harry being chosen in the Goblet of Fire, or if it was the irrational envy and strife the horcruxes caused in The Deathly Hallows, distrust and strife was always the real enemy.
This theme of love and friendship being able to overcome fear and loneliness is the real reason so many people love these stories. It’s more than fantasy, it is a window into the world that we could have if we loved each other deeply enough.
Categories: Kids Books