Radha Rani, I Year B.Com
Divya Iyer, I Year B.S.W
Pushpamithra, I Year B.A. English
Nikhita U, I Year B.Com
Harry Potter, the most loved fantasy series of all time, is not just a story about magic and spells. There are several reasons why so many people, young and old, cherish this series, and here are some of the themes that focus on much more than just the story:
The Boy who Lived:
On the topic of Harry Potter, let’s talk about Harry Potter. Not the book series, not the movies, not the video games, but the boy. The boy who lived.
See, long before I read meta posts and fanfics on the topic, Harry’s sacrifice(s) fascinated me.
How? How can you be that stubborn? That noble? That selfless?
How can you love someone that much? Enough to be prepared to give everything to protect them?
And to be honest, I still don’t know the answers. Harry sacrificed his life to save people, he was ready to die if it meant making the world a better place. He was a traumatised child who decided that he didn’t want people to suffer, not anymore, and he did all that he could to achieve that.
So really, the most important thing I’ve learnt as a fan is that it was never the scar, it was always the boy.
Sorting & Houses:
Imagine being an eleven year old, sitting in front of a large hall full of children much older than you. These children are sitting at four different tables, and even though their uniforms are essentially the same, their school ties are of different colours. An old and frayed hat is deposited unceremoniously on your tiny head, and it calls out a house, and suddenly you belong to one of those groups, and are an outsider to the other three. You’re just eleven, and suddenly, your identity is defined in terms of these narrow ideologies, boxed in, labelled.
Is there no scope for growth? Sorting, as we know it, doesn’t give you the space to re-examine your ideologies and decide that maybe the values you found important at eleven aren’t what you want at seventeen. How is an old hat and a school tie supposed to understand you and decide your future for you? If this isn’t stratification, I don’t know what is.
The Charm in Charms:
Most people love Harry Potter but how many of us know that most of its spells are derived from latin and greek? J.K. Rowling has told us that imagination is important and through her book, she proves it to us. Even when her parents thought that her imagination wasn’t of much use and wanted her to pursue a vocational course, she brilliantly brushed them off and did the course of her dreams and through that she proved that learning a bunch of old myths and legends wasn’t useless.
All the spells she uses are derived from latin or greek and each contain a meaning which we wouldn’t have thought of. For eg., the spell ‘accio’ is derived from the latin word ‘accerso’ which means “to summon or fetch” and ‘sonorus’ from ‘sonare’ which means “sound”. An interesting spell is ‘wingardium leviosa’. It is a mix of many languages- “wing” provides image of flight; the “ard” part is from “arduus” (latin) which means “steep/elevated” and “levi” means “to lift”.
A Tale Fuelled By Our Fancies:
What makes fantasy so appealing to us is that imagination is all you need to design miracles. Rowling cleverly exploits our never-ending list of what-if-there-were’s to shape the Harry Potter Universe. Haven’t we all wanted to be invisible? To teleport? Ta-da, Rowling gives you the invisibility cloak and the apparition. Even the most profound desires find salvation in her words.
Our fears are our most gruesome foes, it takes a lifetime to overcome them. But Jo silhouettes them and says that all one has to do is wave at them with a ‘Riddikulus’. She gives us the ‘Pensieve’ which allows us to relive the moments that we’re afraid to lose. But losing our loved ones can be the most daunting; to have things you wish you’d told them; to want to connect to them again. While Death cannot be defied, the Resurrection stone can give you the ‘one last time’ you crave with them, though separated by a veil.
To sum it up, don’t we all find joy in making up scenarios in our head? Likewise, Harry Potter is a euphoric make-believe, something that is a part of us and will live after us, like a horcrux; a horcrux created not by destroying another soul but by truly loving one.