“Seventeen, eh!” said Hagrid as he accepted a bucket-sized glass of wine from Fred.
“Six years to the day we met, Harry, d’yeh remember it?”
“Vaguely,” said Harry, grinning up at him. “Didn’t you smash down the front door, give Dudley a pig’s tail, and tell me I was a wizard?”
“I forge’ the details,” Hagrid chortled.”
-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Seven books and eight movies later, fourteen years of Harry Potter have already passed us by. Since its first publication (1997) to the release of the final movie (2011), it left us muggles enthralled with wizards, witches, spells, magic potions and the school of every child’s dream. I read my first Harry Potter book in 1998, which was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Ever since then I never stopped being a Potterhead, even though adulthood caught up with me. There is something it posses that can never be replaced by any other fantasy novel series. Actually two things. One, is that I grew up reading the novels and it was part of my childhood. Second, it didn’t feel like fantasy, it was very much real to most of us. Hogwarts was our school just as much as it was Harry’s, Hermione’s and Ron’s. We didn’t learn magic but we certainly learnt the lessons of life, friendship, loss and endurance.
Our generation of first Harry Potter fans are now adults. Just like the cast grew up and went in their separate ways. Many people believe that Harry Potter will continue to fascinate future generations as much as it did to us. But I doubt it. It certainly will be a noteworthy series. Maybe the love for it will rub on our kids, but the excitement, enthusiasm, the anticipation of the last novel and movie premiers have come to an end with us. We witnessed its beginning and its end and we remained faithful to its heroes all along. I read the final book in 2007, but I realised the movies kept us going until they too came to an end with the final installment in 2011. I wasn’t a big fan of the movies, but they prolonged the fame, popularity and life of the best known book series yet. It is also the best selling book series so far, with an approximate 450 million copies sold worldwide.
I still go back to the words of professor Dumbledore at times of darkness and the word itself reminds me of one of his quotes,
“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
I don’t think we payed that much attention to these words when we were reading the books, but as we continue to live, they become the best advice or inspiration anyone can give us. I picked some of Albus Dumbledore’s best quotes to refresh your memory, hopefully they will do a good job.
1. “The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with caution.”
2. “As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all …. the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.”
3. “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.”
4. “You place too much importance… on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”
5. “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”
6. “Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.”
7. “Harry, suffering like this proves you are still a man! This pain is part of being human … the fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength.”
8. “It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.”
9. “When you have seen as much of life as I have, you will not underestimate the power of obsessive love.”
10. “It is a curious thing, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.”
11. “After all to the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”
12. “Do not pity the dead Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.”
13. “Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”
I thought I need to write this before the year ends and new obsessions are formed. Before the memories fade and the finale is forgotten. Thanks to J.K. Rowling it was wonderful growing up with Harry Potter. Nine years of keeping up with an epic story gave me nine years of muggle excitement. So there may not be a platform 9-3/4 at the King’s Cross Station or a Diagon Alley, but the world of Harry Potter was a part of our rites of passage. If you are a first generation Harry Potter fan, be proud of it. We were in the making of a legacy, a history and the greatest story of our generation.
“The old faiths light their candles all about, but burly truth comes by and puts them out.”
What I like about fairy tales is, no matter how difficult the problem is there is always a solution. You always find a witch at a steaming cauldron making a magic potion, a wizard in a far away land who has a magic carpet rolled up in the attic, a spell that can come to the rescue and true love, which always conquers. Yes, there are dragons, curses and evil stepsisters too but according to G.K Chesterton “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
This idea that evil can be defeated is what makes fairy tales more alluring. Their contradiction to real life is what makes us want them to be true. They say faith can be as much powerful as any magic in the fantasy realm, but the problem with that is…..faith in the real world is always confronted by the bitter truth.
Each year when I blow out the candles on my birthday cake, I make a wish. This year, I realised I won’t be doing that anymore. When you make a wish, you have to believe with your whole heart that it is going to come true – which is faith. I would love to have faith. Faith serves so many good purposes in life, but when you know that real-world truth stands opposite to your convictions…..we fall from grace. Just like I would blow out my candles without a hope or a wish, this time. This emptiness drains me of the power to fight my fears, troubles and inner demons.
I failed at fighting the evil which made someone I love, hate me forever. I never imagined such would be the dragons in real life. That they would take over every faith and truth I possessed. But I still believe G.K Chesterton is right. The essence of every fairy tale is that evil can be defeated, monsters can be beaten and happiness can be restored. Heroes of these tales always meet a test of faith, a test of love and a test of life. And the brilliant thing is they always pass. They stay true to themselves and their hearts, and recognizing that, the supernatural comes to the rescue of the wrongly accused, unjustly treated and the suffering innocent. Someone somewhere gives them a magic sword, and tears of an aching heart have the power to wake the sleeping giants. This is why I still love fairy tales despite being an adult. When we were younger they taught us truth always wins. When we grew up they taught us, it happens only in fairy tales.
I dream of such a place. Where truth isn’t mere perception and victorious evil. Where, when hope is summoned…..its not defeated in a dragons den.