How Harry Potter Helped Me Accept The Hardest Truth Of Life?
Updated: May 15
"Of course it is happening inside your head... but why on earth should that mean it is not real?" - Albus Dumbledore says in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.
In my previous blog about my new song Stranded, I mentioned that my CBSE Term 1 examinations were in progress. They just ended, and I am so excited (well, maybe not that excited if you consider the topic of this blog) to write a new blog. I have been planning to write this blog for a long time, actually. Finally, here it is. By the way, if you are not a serious Potterhead, this blog is not for you.
When asked about my favorite literary series, I almost always think of Harry Potter first. Don't get me wrong, I am not confined to Harry Potter. I have explored books by Dan Brown, Enid Blyton and many more. I also take an ardent interest in Bengali literature, especially the works of the great Satyajit Ray. But Harry Potter is different. It is so relatable in so many ways. In this blog, I will reveal how the Harry Potter series helped me accept the hardest truth of life.
When I started reading Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone about five years ago, I didn't like the progression of the story, and it was all so unreal. Maybe my five-year-younger self could relate with the young boy called Harry Potter, but I couldn't see where the story was leading, and I didn't like it very much. There were unexpected turns, revelations and everything, but the plot was filled with plot holes and it was much like a fairy tale, that I didn't really want to know what happened in Harry's second year at Hogwarts. The first book doesn't really fit in well with the rest of the series. The very idea of a Philosopher's Stone reminds me of fairy tales. Then, what was the point of setting up so many obstacles in the path of the Stone, when the Mirror Of Erised alone would have been enough to protect the Stone? The wizarding world is not a kid's fantasy world. As the famous saying goes, "Magic causes as much trouble as it cures." If wizards could get whatever they wanted with a wave of their wands, there would be no story in the first place. But as the adventure progresses, the dark theme sets in and it all becomes more relatable and more serious. Well, maybe I didn't like the first book very much, but I definitely enjoyed it. And when I reread the book a few years later, some phrases actually made deep sense. Like: "To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." And I still remember that I got frustrated when Dumbledore refused to answer Harry's first question: why Voldemort wanted to kill Harry in the first place.
Finally, one day, I decided to check out the second book, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets. As for this book, I really enjoyed it. The plot is loads better than the first book, and I like how Tom Riddle is revealed to be none other than Voldemort. We get a glimpse at the young Voldemort and one of his Horcruxes, thus it is an important book in the series. Of course, there are plot holes. Also, I had some difficulty accepting that at the end of each school year, Harry comes face-to-face with Voldemort and emerges victorious. Rowling did break this cycle in the third book. But this continues again in the fourth and fifth books. Anyway, there are some great lessons to be learned from the second book. "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
Death. That's the main theme of the books. Rowling puts stress on the fact that death is inevitable, even for wizards. Although this is not apparent in the earlier books, things steadily get darker as we read on. From the third book, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, things start getting darker. I love how the story progresses from the third book to Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire and Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix. In the third book, I really love how Harry saw James inside himself, and how Dumbledore said that the ones we love never truly leave us. It was an emotional plot, and a good one. In the fourth book, from the very beginning, something was amiss, and there were constant indications of approaching danger. Plotwise, the fourth book is perhaps the best book of the series, and it also has a lot of elements. Rowling had by then created a serious world of herself, and at that point she didn't need to borrow ideas out of fairy tale books for her stories. Her wizarding world was all set: a complete world. The plots are much more serious, and relatable. I like how Voldemort returned, and how Hagrid said that what would come would come, and you would have to face it when it did. But the fifth book is what made me really fall in love with Harry Potter. The writing is so good, so relatable to me as a teen and there are so many elements in the fifth book. Harry's frustration, anger and insecurities are so well described, as well as Sirius's death and its aftereffects. And there was the revelation about the prophecy, how Harry and Dumbledore were singled out by the wizarding community and how finally Voldemort's return was confirmed. The fifth book ends with the beginning of the second war; the first war being the war between Harry (and Dumbledore) and the rest of the wizarding community, and the second war being the war between Harry and Voldemort. I really don't know why, but the fifth book shook me really deep. I love the sixth book, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince and the seventh book, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows as well, but the fifth book is just different. It's easily my favorite book of the series. (And I will keep Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire as my second favorite book, after the fifth book.)
There are many things I have learned from Harry Potter. The power of love. (Yes, I see love as an illusion, but it is a powerful illusion, and a positive one, if used properly) Then there is a deep message behind the fact that Voldemort himself gave Harry his own powers, marking Harry as his equal. He believed the prophecy and acted, and that made all the difference, not the prophecy itself. What I have also learned from Harry Potter is that death is inevitable, and we have to accept it. This is the hardest truth of life, and we all have difficulty accepting it. It's easy to say "I know we all have to die one day" but it's harder to truly accept the death of a loved one. I have learned a lot of things from reading Harry Potter, but the most important thing, according to me, is that we should not pity the dead. Instead, we should pity the living, and above all those who live without love. Harry Potter has helped me accept death. I was never afraid of dying, but initially I was really afraid of seeing my loved ones leave me. Harry Potter helped me overcome that fear. Harry Potter has helped me realize that we should not dwell on the past, and focus on living our lives to the fullest, and enjoy our time with the people who are still alive. The stories are really deep, and they have changed my life. Honestly.