Lessons of Love From Harry Potter

“There is a room in the Department of Mysteries that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than the forces of nature. It is also perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there.”
–Albus Dumbledore talking about love, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter series, I thought I’d write a post about some insights the series offers into love. As a Christian, I firmly believe that all Christians must take seriously any source which offers commentary on love, be it fiction or non-fiction. This is not a definitive, or all-encompassing list–but it contains some of the lessons that have stayed with me through the years. 
1. Love is far greater than lust 
Both Harry and Ron have relationships that are defined more by physical attraction than love. Harry’s relationship with Cho Chang and Ron’s relationship with Lavender Brown serve a purpose–but it seems clear to me that these relationships were more meant to show the characters what love is not, than what it is. It is the relationships that follow these, Harry with Ginny and Ron with Hermoine, that are ultimately based on love and that end up giving these characters true love.

It is also worth noting that “love potions” actually only develop lust, not true love. They are thus quite empty, and it is important to keep in mind that the use of a love potion led to Voldemort’s conception. 

2. Love contains both great joy and great pain 
There are numerous examples of this throughout the series. Harry and Ron share great love as friends–and yet their relationship has its down moments. Dumbledore and Grindelwald love each other greatly–and yet Grindelwald’s betrayal caused Dumbledore great pain. Out of love, Harry has to let Ginny go for a time–surely a testament to just how much he loved her, but also a source of great pain. And yet the love between Harry and his friends also builds Harry the family he always wished for.

3. Unrequited Love can cause great pain–but it is still love 
Tonks spends most of the Half-Blood Prince dealing with her unrequited love for Remus Lupin. The depression she falls into is enough to change her Patronus–a sign of great personal devotion. And yet that unrequited love eventually becomes accepted and returned, giving Harry a godson and both Lupin and Tonks happiness and a reason to fight.

Of course, the most famous unrequited love in the series is the love of Severus Snape for Lily Potter nee Evans. It is this love, so deep that it endures for years beyond her death, that becomes integral to defeating Voldemort.

4. Love is the key to resisting and defeating evil  

There is perhaps too much to say to this. Throughout the Harry Potter series, love acts as a shield for Harry against Voldemort. Both Harry’s ability to love despite the traumas in his life, and the love of his mother that caused her to sacrifice herself for him. Snape’s love for Lily Potter places an unsuspecting enemy in close proximity to Voldemort, ever working for his downfall; the love of his friends for Harry drives them to fight Voldemort time and again; and Harry’s love for his friends and willingness to sacrifice himself ultimately proves to be Voldemort’s downfall. 
These are just a few of the lessons of love that are so dynamically present in the Harry Potter series. And there are many more lessons to be found in this wonderful, and formative series. 

Published by Devin Hogg

My name is Devin Hogg. I was born and raised in Carnarvon, Ontario, Canada. I moved to Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 2009 for university and lived here ever since. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching TV and movies, going on long walks, swimming, and practicing Chen style Tai Chi. I love to write poetry and blog regularly about topics such as mental health, sci-fi/fantasy series, faith, sexuality, and politics.

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