It has officially been 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published. I got Sorcerer's Stone when I was about seven. My Nanny got me the books and read them with me as they were published and we were hooked. In honor of her, and the 20th anniversary, I decided I would list 20 lessons I have learned because of the Harry Potter series.
1. Harry Potter taught me that there are causes worth dying for, but there are none worth killing for. He taught me despite a traumatic or tragic past, you should never give up, and that life will get better.
2. Bravery comes in many forms. It's not always a grand gesture. Sometimes it is, like when Snape and Harry sacrifice themselves. But other times, it's smaller moments that hold just as much value. Standing up for what you believe in, even if people tell you it is a waste of time (Hermione and S.P.E.W.), standing up to your friends (Neville), or even admitting when you were wrong (Ron).
3. Hermione taught me that when in doubt, go to the library. She taught me to never be ashamed of my intellect but instead to embrace it. However, she also taught me that although intellect is important, there are more important things.
4. Ron taught me that you have worth even if you do not have a lot of money or possessions. Ron, despite being from a large poor family, never hesitated to take Harry into his home. Despite feeling overshadowed, he shared his family with Harry without question. He is also a great example that you can be a good person can be prejudiced and you can mature and overcome said prejudices with an open mind and good people around you.
5. Family and friendship are some of the most important things in your life. You can have power, money, fame, but without people you love (and who love you) life gets lonely.
6. Gilderoy Lockhart reminds us that putting people on pedestals can be dangerous, and ultimately disappointing. Your favorite celebrities, authors, etc, despite how well you think you know them can be problematic. No one is perfect, and blindly loving someone can backfire. We are also reminded that there will always be people in the world who lie and cheat their way to the top.
7. People are not born good or bad, but instead it is the result of our choices we make. And even with your choices, it's never too late to do some good. Not all bad people are always bad (Snape) and not all good people are always good (Dumbledore). But in the end, no matter what, everyone is human.
8. Hope and happiness can never be eliminated for good. We must remember to turn on the light especially during dark moments in our lives.
9. Luna Lovegood taught me that individuality and unique qualities should be celebrated not hidden. That the people who matter in your life will stick by you no matter how weird others think you are. She also taught me to listen to ones who are often unheard.
10. Fred and George Weasley taught me that laughter is the best medicine, and sometimes can be that light we need in dark times in our lives or in history.
11. Sirius Black taught me that you can determine what kind of person someone is based off how they treat other people. Especially people who are less privileged or in a position less than yours. He taught us that loved ones we lose never truly leave us.
12. Death comes for us all, it doesn't matter if you're wealthy or how old you are. And you often do not get to say goodbye before it happens. So don't forget to show love to the ones in your life and be the best person you can be while you're alive.
13. Hagrid taught us the importance of vulnerability, and not being ashamed of it. To love others deeply and being loyal to them. Whether it be humans or animals. Hagrid teaches us not to be ashamed of where you come from, and instead celebrate it. He also reminds us that sometimes all you need is a big hug, tea, and someone to talk to.
14. Love is irreplaceable, and it makes living worth it. Lily Potter reminds us that love is the most important weapon and that it is one of the most magical things we have in life.
15. Remus Lupin taught me that despite hardships in life, it is important to be kind. He also teaches that despite what you look like, or what you've been through, you'll find love.
16. The Order of the Phoenix taught me that you cannot defeat bigotry and prejudice alone. It takes a lot of people and it takes many generations. And although battles can be won, there's always more work to do.
17. Dobby taught us to have value in ourselves. That even if you're expected to act or be a certain way, you do not have to abide by those rules. Stay true to who you are and go after what you want. He also taught us that everyone deserves equal rights and the choice to live their lives the way they want to.
18. The Dursleys taught us that you shouldn't obsess over what people think of you. Be yourself, because instead you're going to be bitter and angry.
19. The Ministry of Magic taught us that the government or people in power can not always be trusted. The Daily Prophet also teaches us to check more than one source, that the news can be wrong or biased. To not blindly follow authority, but question it.
20. Expecto Patronum taught me that happy thoughts and memories are a powerful force to be treasured and we should tap into them when we need them the most. It's a reminder that things have been good in the past, and things will be good again.