Most people believe that Harry Potter is just a children’s book where a group of wizards go to this magical school named Hogwarts and learn spells and stuff. But that’s what sets these people and Potterheads apart.
Harry Potter shouldn’t be limited to ‘just a children’s book’, because it is far more than that. It draws parallelism between our world and the Wizarding world, something which is a little difficult for children to understand. It contains horrors that no one can imagine of. It is true that if a child reads Harry Potter, he will like it because it is magical, has fantastical beasts, has a magical school,etc. But if you read it as an adult, you will realize the depth that no child can even wonder of.
I am going to write seven blog posts on this, this being the first. In each post, I’ll write what I thought about each of the Harry Potter books, and you’ll get a chance to view this series through my eyes.
The story begins with the death of Harry’s parents, as they sacrificed their lives to save their son from the clutches of Voldemort, the Dark Lord. Voldemort is the Hitler of their world – indulging himself in slaughter and seeking for the ultimate power. He wishes to kill the new born Harry Potter, the one who stands in his way as he conquers the Wizarding world. Harry Potter becomes ‘The boy who lived’ as he survives the Unforgivable Curse ‘Avada Kedavra’ casted by Voldemort.
That night only, he is left at the doorstep of his only family- The Dursleys who are his uncle and aunt.
As he grows up at Privet Drive, we get a glimpse of his not so good life with the Dursleys. They are extremely cruel to him- treating him like an outsider. He is given a small cupboard as his room. His cousin Dudley is even worse to him. Harry is all alone, with no one to give him the love as much as his parents, no one to laugh with him, no one to cry with him, no one to talk to him. Harry is at a point of his life where everything is wrong and he feels like he doesn’t exist. We can all relate to him at this time of his life because we have all experienced it and some of us are experiencing it right now. We can’t help but feel sorry for him , as we wish to tell him that we are there for him. We have all been through this unbearable loneliness. But we learn to grow up. We realize that nothing lasts forever, not even loneliness. Soon, everything seems to make sense when Harry receives his Hogwarts letter and he finds out that he is a wizard. His dull life suddenly becomes interesting and joyful when he starts his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He becomes best friends with Ron Weasley. Ron is like a little goofball of happiness and we thank him for accepting Harry for who he is. They encounter Hermione Granger, who at first seems really annoying.She is the kind of girl who always seems happy in herself.But as the story continues, we realize that Hermione is alone too. She needs friends like Harry had needed some time ago. But, sometimes in life, the people you forge bonds with in the craziest way possible, are the ones that always stay in your life, no matter what. And something similar happened with Harry, Ron and Hermione too. The three of them become the best of friends after Ron and Harry save Hermione from the monstrous and gigantic troll!
My favorite chapter in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is ‘The Sorting Hat’, with the second being ‘The Mirror of Erised’. I absolutely loved ‘The Mirror of Erised’ because it is deeper than just a magical mirror. Harry finds this huge mirror,lying against a wall in a room. He looks into it, and sees his parents with him,staring at him with smiles on their faces. And Harry’s heart breaks as he realizes that they are only inside the mirror, and not actually there with him. Now, I find this very relatable to the working of our minds. Much like he finds that mirror, sometimes, a memory with our loved ones crops up in our minds. This single memory reminds us of them, of the happy old days, those times. Much like he sees his parents in the mirror, our minds get absorbed in that memory and their faces. Much like he yearns to be with them, we too yearn to escape this reality and just dive into that memory, to relive it. But, nor Harry gets his parents back, nor we see them again in real. And all of this is concluded by Dumbledore, who tells Harry that The Mirror of Erised doesn’t show the future,neither the truth. It shows our deepest and darkest desires. The same goes for us. Our mind contains many deep memories and a constant desire to be with those people again. But, ‘it does not do good to dwell on dreams, and forget to live’. And thus, both Harry and us learn to move on, even just a little bit, so as not to get lost in those dreams,which are not real and can never be.
Draco Malfoy. Can we say anything about him apart from him being an arrogant little git?! Yes, we can. He is the way he is because of his family traditions. He has always been taught that Slytherins have the upper hand above all, that Slytherins mustn’t befriend other students who aren’t in Slytherin. He represents most of the people in our society. He depicts the kind of people who are taught that the rich and the literate sit on the highest pedestal and the ‘poor’ and ‘illiterate’ are their minions. Draco easily judges Ron by the condition of his clothes, his books,etc, much like those people judge the poors to show that they have the utmost power in the world. But it was Draco’s fault that he never questioned his family’s unreasonable beliefs. If he had done so, he might have been an entirely different person, with a different perception.
And Severus Snape… he is such a complicated man to comprehend. He clearly detests Harry Potter, but at the end, we come to know(much to our shock) that he was actually trying to save Harry during the Quidditch Match. We don’t understand why he did so. But there are people who try to show that they don’t really care about you or that they hate you, while inside their hearts,they don’t want to be attached to you because they are afraid….of something;while inside their hearts, they are pure and they do care about you. That’s what I deduced about Snape’s personality in this book.
On the other hand, there are people who present themselves in such an innocent and caring way, while in their hearts, they want to destroy you, they want to see you fall and hit the ground even though you haven’t done anything. Such is Professor Quirrell. He unties his turban to reveal Voldemort, who has been stuck to the back of his head since the beginning of that year. Voldemort had possessed Quirrell so that he could have a temporary body, which would help him in seeking Harry Potter and to kill him once and for all. So, there are people like Voldemort, who can’t accept defeat, who become obsessed until they witness your downfall.He is an exact Hitler, who wouldn’t stop murdering Jews and torturing them to death. Hitler had reasons for this, which were completely impractical and all in the favor of his party and followers.He didn’t even care about his followers, and Voldemort is no different in this case too.
But, this story culminates on a happy note, with Harry getting the Philosopher’s Stone and defeating both Quirrell and Voldemort. When Harry was forced to look into the Mirror of Erised, he saw himself holding the Stone. Now, here’s the catch. I had said that,metaphorically, this mirror represents out mind, which bores a powerful deep desire or yearning. But, does Harry seeing himself holding the Stone represent something too? And yes,it still does.Much like Harry’s yearning to meet his parents didn’t interrupt, and instead, it paved the way for him to see himself holding the Stone, those deep desires help us to live in the present and battle our problems in the best way possible.
So, the story ends, with Harry, Ron and Hermione battling out the evil together by supporting each other and even sacrificing their lives like Ron for their friends. Everything turns out just as fine, but with Dumbledore telling Harry that Voldemort hasn’t fully gone and that he has other ways of returning. Oh, and yes, Gryffindor wins the house cup because of the extra points given to Hermione, Ron, Harry and Neville for their courage and acts of bravery, thus beating Slytherin ( much to Draco’s annoyance!). This also shows that no matter how much you try to act smart and try to show that you have the upper hand, in the end, what matters is honesty and bravery at the time of peril.
(I’ll write one for the next book quite soon. So,wait up!)