I started reading the Harry Potter books as a kid, but somehow got sidetracked and never finished the series. On a whim, I uploaded all of the books to my Kindle and read them last March. All of them. In less than a month. I was glued to my screen, wiping tears, raucously laughing, and finding myself growing ever closer to this world that became real, every time I entered it. One of my favorite things about Kindles is that you can highlight whatever you want and it stores it in the “notes” section of that book for easy viewing later on. Today, I want to share both my favorite highlighted pieces and how I’ve learned and been reminded of countless lessons from this beautiful series.
1. Everything will always be okay. You just have to have hope.
“‘You all righ’?’ he said gruffly. ‘Yeah,’ said Harry. ‘No, yeh’re not,’ said Hagrid. ‘Of course yeh’re not. But yeh will be.’”
This was one of my very favorite quotes from the entire series. I think it’s safe to say that all of us have experienced some real struggles or dark periods in life. In those dark patches, it can be difficult to see a way out, but there’s always a way out and as awful as we may feel, we’ll be okay if we just will ourselves to have hope.
2. Never forget: You always have a choice.
“‘It only put me in Gryffindor,’ said Harry in a defeated voice, ‘because I asked not to go in Slytherin…’ ‘Exactly’ said Dumbledore, beaming once more. ‘Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.’”
No matter how choiceless things may seem, you always have a choice, especially in your life and attitude.
3. We are just friggin’ like our parents.
“‘It was stupid, thinking it was him, I mean, I knew he was dead’ [Harry muttered]. ‘You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him….You know, Harry, in a way you did see your father last night….You found him inside yourself.’”
Okay, I know this quote means a lot more than that and I truly do love its sentiment about those we’ve lost. On a completely different note, as I get older I notice myself doing and saying EXACT things that my parents used to do or say. It is so odd to see the transformation, but I guess there is a piece of our parents ingrained in all of us.
4. Fake it ’til you make it.
”It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew – and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents – that there was all the difference in the world.”
If we feel like we’re fighting a losing battle, its easy to throw in the towel before we’ve even reached defeat. But I wholly believe in the power confidence has and if we can convince ourselves that we are worthy and able of success, we’re already halfway there. Most of the time, it’s about projecting confidence rather than actually having it.
5. We are a new person everyday.
“Long ago, when [Harry] had been left alone while the Dursley’s went out to enjoy themselves, the hours of solitude had been a rare treat: Pausing only to sneak something tasty from the fridge, he had rushed upstairs to play on Dudley’s computer, or put on the television and flicked through the channels to his heart’s content. It gave him an odd empty feeling to remember those times; it was like remembering a younger brother whom he had lost.”
I’ve been writing for almost a decade, but when I read things I wrote even five years ago, often they don’t even feel like I could have written them. Not because of their quality, but because of their mindset. I don’t think our sole body’s lifespan is an accurate representation of all the lives we’ve really lived. Perhaps we are growing up and maturing, but my own gradual differences feel so dramatic that my former selves seem more like distant cousins than just younger versions of me. We are a new person each and everyday, and sometimes we need to remember this in order to fully embrace the changes we are able to make in our lives.
6. Don’t let circumstance silence your voice.
”It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
I knew I loved this quote, but I had to take a minute to ponder exactly why, and here’s what I’ve come up with: while it still takes a great amount of courage, it’s easier to stand up to our enemies or acquaintances because of the fact that we don’t care as much about their opinion if they choose to disagree with us. But standing up to people we love and respect? It’s hard because their perspectives are a big part of our world. But if we’re passionate about something or want our voice to be heard, we need to disregard the circumstances and share what’s on our mind, instead of giving in to someone else’s world.
7. You only see what you want to see.
”’-mediocre, arrogant as his father, a determined rule-breaker, delighted to find himself famous, attention-seeking and impertinent -’ [said Severus]. ‘You see what you expect to see, Severus,’ said Dumbledore.”
We only find in life what we’re willing to see, so if we let ourselves view the world and other people through a narrow vantage point, we’re missing out on everything else we could learn or experience.
8. Because I just love this quote.
“‘Tell me one last thing,’ said Harry. ‘Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?’ Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry’s ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure. ‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?’”
What’s your favorite quote or lesson from Harry Potter or any book in general?