When I was eight years old, I fell under the spell of the Harry Potter series. I waited for each one impatiently and than read them ravenously. I watched the movies, discussed which house I’d be sorted and waited for my incoming Hogwarts letter.
I haven’t read the series since their initial release. I decided to reread them in September and finished it in January. I didn’t realize what an impact it had on me! Here is a list of 10 Harry Potter characters who helped me shape my beliefs and values.
Luna Lovegood: Let your freak flag fly
When readers are first introduced to Luna, she is described as giving off “an aura of distinct dottiness”. Luna is an eccentric and she is not afraid to show it. She makes bold fashion choices (her infamous dirigible plum earrings! the necklace made from butterbeer caps!) and she reads magazines upside down.
In a world in which magic and the unimaginable comes to life, she stills manages to stand out. The kids at school call her “Loony” and would steal her personal items, so it is evident that not everyone understands her quirks.
As the series goes on, Harry and his friends realize how lucky they are to have a Luna in their lives. She is sweet and unbothered by her detractors. We should all be a little bit more like Luna.
Fred and George Weasley: Impossible is nothing
I only have good things to say about the whole Weasley family. There’s no fictional family I have ever wanted to be apart of more than the Weasley clan.
However, there’s a special space in my heart for Fred and George, the hilarious and mischievous twins. The boys are always praised for their wit and jokes, but one quality I admire is their indomitable spirit.
Ginny, their sister, said it best: “The thing about growing up with Fred and George is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
No situation is too improbable or too dire for the twins. Be it leaving Umbridge’s oppressive school with a bang or using an ageing potion to bend the Triwizard Tournament’s rules, the word impossible is not apart of the Weasley’s vocabulary.
Narcissa Malfoy: Bravery and loyalty comes in different forms
As accommodating and warm the Weasleys are, the Malfoy family is cold and snobbish. However, the Malfoy matriarch pulled a quiet act of bravery. Narcissa’s allegiance is to her family, not the Death Eaters.
She does not hesitate to lie to Voldemort about Harry, putting her life in danger for the sake of her son. I value my family, and this act of hers was both noble and understandable.
Rubeus Hagrid: Never judge a book by its cover
Hagrid just subverts expectations. Described as “twice the size of a normal man and at least five times as wide”, he sparks fear into the heart of those who don’t know him. Readers have the pleasure to get to know Hagrid for the sentimental, kind softie he is.
Being half-giant, a vilified race in the wizarding world, Hagrid knows what it’s like to be ostracized. He extends his kindness to animals with less than savoury reputations. He chooses to see the best in everyone, from giant killer spiders to three misfits teenage wizards.
Severus Snape: How to let go
Everyone thinks it is the height of romance that Snape never moved on from his teenage sweetheart, Lily Evans. I did too, at first! But now I realized it is a weird and creepy to still cling onto your high school crush after graduation.
Not only that, he is an absolute jerk to the child of his supposed love of his life. Snape is a good lesson in “how not to deal with rejection.”
Neville Longbottom: Never give up
Poor Neville. For the longest time, he was the butt of all jokes, the victim to Snape’s cruel bullying and just had really bad luck. As the series went on, we got to see that there was more to Neville than what meets the eye. We learned about his parents horrific and tragic past, his talent for herbology and his unquavering courage.
It could have been so easily for Neville to internalize all the negative things said about him. Neville chose not to let his haters bring him down. If Neville can go and slay Nagini with the Sword of Gryffindor, you can do anything too!
Ron Weasley: Loyal to the end
If you look up the definition of “loyalty” in the dictionary, there’s a picture of Ronald Bilius Weasley. Ron is with Harry until the end of the line. Ron has repeatedly risked his life, his academic career and his family ties but never falters.
Sure, there are scraps and fights (we are dealing with moody teenagers), but Ron always comes back to be by Harry’s side. That fierce loyalty is a quality I admire. Mr. Weasley once said it was a lucky day for the Weasleys when Ron befriended Harry. Harry is lucky too because he got one of the best friend and surrogate family one can ever ask for.
Hermione Granger: There’s nothing wrong with loving books
Hermione Granger is all-types of aspirational. She is smart, clever and brave. Hermione is the perfect heroine for bookish little girls. Hermione trusts books with her life. God knows where Harry and Ron would have been without her and her knowledge of A History of Magic.
They owe their education and their lives to this brainy Gryffindor. She got made fun of a few times, but she stuck to her convictions. Hermione is a card-carrying bookworm, and so I am.
Albus Dumbledore: Death isn’t the end, nor does it have to be scary
In the middle of reading The Order of the Phoenix, I lost my cousin to cancer. It was an incredibly trying and difficult time. I would dive back into the series, hoping to lose myself for a while. Instead, I found myself trying to make sense of what was going on.
The one to help me was the Hogwarts headmaster, just like he helped Harry. Dumbledore’s words would resonate throughout the ordeal. His wise words brought sense to the incomprehensible. Reading the last three books was cathartic for me. I could easily put myself in Harry’s shoes, because I was grieving too.
Dumbledore is such a calming, soothing presence. After all, what is death anyways but “the next great adventure”.
Harry Potter: You are never alone
I love Harry so much. From the tender age of one, he was sprung forth with this enormous responsibility. And Harry took it, without hesitation. He goes through so much trauma but he always willingly sacrifices himself. I became incredibly protective of Harry. He has such a hero complex.
However, a lesson that Harry learns repeatedly, is that he is never alone. He has incredible friends who stick by his side, no matter how many times he protests. That’s what helps Harry survive throughout the series, the love and friendship that surrounds him.
There are so many great messages to be found in the series while never being preachy or condescending. I get a little jealous every time I see a little kid about to start read the series. They’re about to embark on a great adventure.
The world JK Rowling created is so rich and filled with so many amazing characters that it was hard to narrow it down to ten!