11 ways that reading Harry Potter makes you a better person


by Emma Dodds |
Published on

It's the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter today! To celebrate, we've rounded up all the ways that reading Harry Potter as a child makes you a better person as an adult...

Can you BELIEVE that Harry Potter is twenty-years-old today?!

The book series, that is - the man himself would be in his late 30s now (SPOILER ALERT- he doesn't actually die).

It's true that reading as a child in general can expand your imagination and make you more accepting of other people, but there's something special about the Harry Potter books.

The fact that it's one of the biggest movie/book franchises in the WORLD proves that ten-fold.

The below reasons will feel familiar to Potterheads, but if you're not accustomed to the wizarding ways, here are some reasons you may want to give it a try...

1) It makes you appreciate your family

The very first thing we learn about HP is that he's got literally no-one that he can count on. His parents perished when he was one and he's forced to live with his grotesque Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and dastardly Cousin Dudley.

Reading about this poor little mite living in the cupboard under the stairs might just make you remember to call your mum like you were supposed to.

2) You learn that friends can become your family

Ok, so this isn't news to us, but when you read how much Harry, Ron and Hermione love each other and see how they literally put their lives on the line for each other, it might make you well up.

As Harry has had no love from his family to speak of, the bond that he forms with Ron and Hermione is strong and they become his family. In every single book, they are all ready and willing to sacrifice themselves to save the other, to step out of their comfort zones and put their faith in each other.

Friends stick with each other through thick and thin... (Credit: Warner Brothers) ©Warner Brothers

3) It teaches you that knowledge is power

Ok - read those books and show an example of when the day wasn't saved (at least partially) by a piece of knowledge or a fact that Hermione had known and stored away in her bushy head?!

She's derided by almost every single character - especially Snooty Snape - at one point or another, but she refuses to be deterred and never lets anyone see that it's got to her. And anyway, she becomes Minister of Magic at the end (Wizarding Prime Minister for non-Potterheads) so THERE.

Professor Dumbledore is also basically the biggest boss of the whole series, and he is one smart cookie.

4) You know that women can be just as brave as men

We quite often associate bravery with male characters, but in the Harry Potter book series, there are a refreshing amount of strong, confident, brave, courageous and fierce female characters.

We've already mentioned Hermione's bravery, willing at a moment's notice to put herself in danger for the sake of her friends, but there's also Harry's mum, Lily Potter, who literally stared death in the face for the sake of her son and protected him with fierce love. There's Molly Weasley who spent most of the series worrying, cleaning and cooking, and then at the end stepped up and KILLED the evil and dangerous Bellatrix Lestrange at the Great Battle of Hogwarts. Professor McGonagall who is strict and powerful, but ultimately loving.

It might not seem as though it's important anymore - anyway, we've got the vote haven't we?! - but sexism is still prevalent, and it's so important that we show our little girls that they can be anything at all that they want, regardless of gender. Female characters like these help them to realise this.

5) It teaches you not to judge a book by its cover

Serverus Snape. We all literally HATE him because of how unnecessarily mean he is to Harry throughout the book series. But in fact, Snape's personal story is one of the most heartbreaking in the series.

Having grown up with Lily, Harry's mum, he of course fell in love with her. When they got to Hogwarts, she made other friends and fell in love with the handsome, charming James Potter who bullied Snape mercilessly with his friends. Snape hates Harry because he looks like James, but he actually sacrifices himself for Harry and becomes a snitch on Voldemort because of his undying love for Lily. His Patronus is even the same as hers... Oh, we're welling up over here.

On the flip side, there's snivelly Professor Quirrell who just seems like a wet flannel, and then it turns out that he's only got blimmin' Voldemort on the back of his head.

6) You learn about devastating loss in a harmless way

Well, it's harmless unless you start to feel a deep connection with the characters in the book. Learning about loss at a young age in this way helps prepare you for the inevitability of death in later life. Especially as the very first chapter reveals Harry's deep loss - his parents, who died to save him.

7) It teaches you not to underestimate anybody

Let's all just take a moment to applaud Neville Longbottom and Rubeus Hagrid.

Hagrid is seen throughout the series as a bit of a clutz, a bit of an oaf. Nobody takes him seriously. Everyone takes the piss out of him. He doesn't fit in with anybody - being half-human, half-giant. But he loves Harry as though he were his own son, and takes care of him, again putting his life on the line to make sure he's safe. Hagrid is the first person Harry knows in his entire life who genuinely cares about him.

And NEVILLE. Well, Neville starts off life at Hogwarts in a similar way. But we learn that his parents were also victims of Voldemort, as he drove them crazy with the Cruciatus Curse, and he was brought up by his grandmother. Neville kills the final Horcrux - a GIANT SNAKE - with a bloody SWORD whilst wearing a KNITTED SWEATER. Has anyone else ever killed a snake using a sword with such panache? No. No they have not.

8) You learn the importance of loyalty

You can't truly be friends with someone if they don't have your back. It's all very well loving someone implicitly and caring about them, but unless they're willing to stick you through thick and thin, they can't be counted on.

Those who learn this at an early age can save themselves a lot of heartache as an adult, and one way to learn the importance of loyalty is by reading these books. Harry, Ron and Hermione prove their loyalty to each other time and time again, and their lives are richer for it. But if we look at Malfoy, Harry's (sort-of) nemesis, his friends run at the first sign of anything untoward. He is ultimately a sad, lonely boy with no-one that he can really count on to have his best interests at heart.

Hedwig is a loyal friend to Harry throughout the entire series (Credit: Warner Brothers) ©Warner Brothers

9) It teaches you to respect animals

It's important to respect everyone - whether human or animal - but cruelty to animals is just intolerable. Harry Potter taught us how close humans are to animals through the Patronus charm and through their magical pets.

Your Patronus is essentially your spirit animal, and it is summoned to protect against Dementors - the soul-sucking guards of wizard prison Azkaban. The Patronus is an animal to who your personality is similar and that can encapsulate who you are as a person.

There was also the pets - in particular, Hedwig. Hedwig was Harry's pet owl that Hagrid bought him as a present on their first visit into the wizarding world, who stuck by his side throughout the entire book series, and ultimately threw herself in the way of a death spell that was meant for Harry, saving his life.

10) You learn how ugly prejudice is

We learn that there are different types of creature in the wizarding world - and that some are deemed to be "lesser" than others. For example, if a wizard is born from two muggles (non-wizards), they are known as "mudbloods" - an offensive word - and "pure bloods" look down on them. But Hermione, who is a "mudblood", shows that there are literally no differences between the two - they are all wizards, at the end of the day.

There are also house elves, who are literally enslaved by wizards to clean their houses. They can only be freed when presented with an item of clothing by a wizard. Dobby the house elf is freed by Harry after Dobby helps him throughout the second novel, and by the end of it, takes on some of the most powerful wizards.

11) Love conquers all

Is there ever a more important lesson to learn? One of the biggest messages in the book series was how love is a bond that can never be broken - even after death.

Did you read the Harry Potter books? Is there anything else you learned from the Harry Potter book series? Let us know over on Facebook and Twitter.


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