Warning this article contains Spoilers from to the Harry Potter novels.
If you thought the Harry Potter phenomenon was going away after The Deathly Hallows, think again. With seven core novels, three novellas, eight movies and one two-part play, Harry Potter is far from being over. JK Rowling has taken to sending her new Potter writing straight to the silver screen with the Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them franchise. The next film in the Potter universe, The Crimes of Grindelwald will be released November 16th, 2018.
One of the central themes of the Harry Potter series is that blood does not equal family. Friends and mentors can love and care just as deeply for one another, sometimes more than a biological family. In anticipation of the new film, let’s reminisce with the boy who started it all. Harry Potter didn’t have much of a support system until he entered the wizarding world. After, he was surrounded by people who loved and cared for him. So, let’s look at some of the most influential characters in Harry’s life.
Hagrid was Harry’s first wizard contact. He introduced Harry to the wizarding world and he was the first person to give Harry a meaningful birthday gift; a cake and Harry’s owl Hedwig. While Hagrid’s heart was in the right place, he had the gift of the gab and would (accidentally) give Harry information that he wasn’t supposed to know. In the Philosopher’s Stone, the trio is trying to gain information about what the three-headed dog is guarding. In desperation, Hagrid says:
“’… Now listen to me, all three of yeh — yer meddlin’ in things that don’t concern yeh. It’s dangerous. You forget that dog, an’ you forget what it’s gaurdin’, that’s between Professor Dumbledore an’ Nicolas Flamel—’
‘Aha!’ said Harry. ‘So there’s someone called Nicolas Flamel involved, is there?
Hagrid looked furious with himself.” (Stone, Rowling 142)
No matter how hard Hagrid tried to not over share, he would always let out tiny details that would help further the trio’s quest. But sometimes you need someone just as reckless as you in your life.
Apart his Aunt and Uncle, Sirius Black was closest thing Harry had to an actual family since he was Harry’s Godfather. Sirius did his best to care for Harry despite doing it as runaway felon. He signed Harry’s permission slip for Hogsmeade, bought him a new broomstick, he worried about Harry’s well being, and invited Harry to spend the summers with him (that one didn’t work out).
In a scene from Order of the Phoenix, Sirius and Mrs. Weasley argued over Harry’s involvement in the Order. The argument reached a head when Mrs. Weasley exclaimed:
“’…I’ll just say this: Dumbledore must have had his reason for not wanting Harry to know too much and speaking as some who has Harry’s best interests at heart –‘
‘He’s not your son,’ said Sirius quietly.
‘He’s as good as,’ said Mrs. Weasley fiercely. ‘Who else has he got?’
‘He’s got me!’” (Phoenix, Rowling 85)
Sirius wanted to make up for the time he lost with his Godson and felt he needed to share everything, despite Dumbledore’s orders and Mrs. Weasley’s concerns.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley
This brings us to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. They loved Harry like son and this is plainly shown through their actions. They welcomed him into their home on multiple occasions during the summer breaks. One of which, Mr. Weasley took the family along with Harry and Hermione to the Quidditch World Cup Finals. Throughout the novels, The Weasleys continued to struggle with wanting to treat Harry like an adult to ensure his safety, but also wanted to preserve what was left of Harry’s innocence.
In the same scene where Mrs. Weasley argued with Sirius about Harry’s involvement in the Order, Harry was frustrated by the adults in his life and wanted to make his own decisions: “He had been touched by what she had said about being as good as a son, but he was also impatient with her mollycoddling. Sirius was right, he was not a child” (Phoenix, Rowling 86). What child has not had this feeling of being smothered by a parent before? This scene shows how any adolescent would feel when they want to be treated like an adult, but their family member isn’t necessarily ready for that.
Dumbledore, the wise old headmaster of Hogwarts, was intelligent beyond belief and known for his inspirational quotes. He was a mentor and a major figure in Harry’s life. Their bond was strengthened in Half Blood Prince when he taught Harry about Voldemort’s history. Harry trusted and followed Dumbledore’s orders even after his death.
At the end of one of their lessons together, Dumbledore explains the importance of honesty and accuracy, after viewing a false memory given to them by Professor Slughorn: “It is most important that we secure the true memory, Harry… how important, we will only know when we have seen the real thing. So, good luck… and goodnight” (Prince, Rowling 348). Dumbledore relies on Harry just as much as Harry relies on him. Their bond is strong not only because of their common goal, but because of their genuine love and respect for each other.
Hagrid, Sirius, Dumbledore and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley not only helped Harry along in his formative years but also provided him with the love that he so desperately needed. It is said that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and this rings true in the Harry Potter series. The stories are fantastical, but the themes are universal and speak to all of us.