Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Hogwarts Education

For the last little while, my sister and my cousin and I have been having Harry Potter movie nights every couple weeks, starting from the beginning and working our way through all 8 movies. It has been so wonderful to relive one of the greatest stories and series of all time. Of course, it's also been quite sad because it's over...again...and you realize how much you've missed these characters and the amazing world J.K. Rowling created for them. I can't be the ONLY one who wishes to go to Platform 9 3/4 and attend Hogwarts, for real. Wouldn't that be so amazing?!

Seeing the movies super close together has been an amazing experience. I remember when the first one came out and subsequently every Harry Potter after that. As a family we'd go see them opening night and it was always such a treat. We stood in line outside Borders at midnight for the new book releases (we called it "Harry Potter Magic Hour" because we are THAT cool). It was such an integrated part of my teen years and even now, in my twenties, that I can't imagine my life WITHOUT them. (Nor do I want to!!)

So, as I've been re-watching all seven movies, I've been thinking about all things Harry Potter (or rather J.K. Rowling) has taught me. I thought maybe other might enjoy this as well, so I've complied a list! [Of course I have, I'm like the queen of]  I hope you enjoy it!!

A Hogwarts Education, or Everything I learned from Harry Potter

1. Perhaps the greatest thing I learned from the Harry Potter series is the value and properties of friendship. Friends truly are the family you choose for yourself. In fact, the greatest strength in the series comes from this bond. They have faced death countless times together and would have been obliterated had it not been for their friendship and support of each other. 

2. It's important to be persistent and keep trying until you're able to do the things you want/need to. I love this scene so much because Hermione is so used to being great at everything...watching her get frustrated saying "Up. UP. UP!" it just wonderful. But, she eventually gets it, because she keeps at it. Also, Ron, who isn't quite ready for success so quickly, gets hit in the face with the broom and it's hilarious. WE MUST ALWAYS BE READY TO SUCCEED AND BELIEVE THAT WE WILL. Boom. A two-for-one life lesson bundle. ;)

Friendship goals.

3. When I was very young, I believed in the magic of *soul mates*, probably because that's what always seemed to be apparent in fairy tales. But as I got a little older, I realized that there isn't just ONE person out there for us, because if there was, our happiness would be dependent upon someone else being exactly where they needed to be and not on us. The idea of soul mates is romantic but not logical, and completely takes the control of our own lives out of our hands. I don't think I was the only person who thought at the beginning that Harry & Hermione would end up together because they were PERFECT for each other. And to be honest, at first I was sort of angry with JK Rowling (I know, blasphemy!) because I felt like they SHOULD have been together. However, I sort of love that they didn't end up that way. Let me defend that notion for a second... I think it proves that we can be truly happy with more than just one person; Hermione and Harry would've been happy together all their lives, just as Ron and Hermione were. It's a grand idea of love that I really respect. In the end, Harry and Hermione are just friends, but the absolute best kind; they have a true friendship based on non-romantic love and it's amazing. 

4. The importance of being precise. Sometimes it's VITAL. "It's leviOsa, not leviosA!" 

5. The best advice given throughout the Harry Potter series comes from Dumbledore. He is probably the greatest life coach. EVER. This is one of my favorites... We are not defined by our abilities, rather, what we choose to do with them (or the absence of them).

6. I loved Sirius Black. So Much. While we generally think of Harry, Ron and Hermione being the appitamy of great friendship, we have to remember all the other examples too. Sirius was someone who was faithful to his friends, no matter what. Loyalty is one of the most important qualities to me, and he had it is spades. 

7. Always look on the bright side of things. Being optimistic is one of our greatest tools in overcoming obstacles. 

8. It's important to face our fears and not let them run our lives; it will make us stronger and give us the confidence we need. But it doesn't mean we ever get over them... we just have to face them head on...

Even when they're staring at you right in the face. Poor Ron.

9. It's important to be practical, but it's also vitally important to *dream*. Let yourself dare to dream whatever it is that you want. Your dreams are yours, and no one can take them away from you. 

10. It's important to do your research. I love Hermione. She is a wonderful character and an extremely smart and strong person, who shows that knowledge is power. (yup. I said it) ;) As a researcher, I couldn't NOT put this in!! :D

11. We can't run away from our problems. We have to stand unmovable and face them head on. If you run away from your problems, they ALWAYS catch up with you in some way or another. 

12. BE YOURSELF. Those that know me know that I LOVE Luna Lovegood! She is probably my *favorite* character in the series. Luna is strong, brave, courageous, zany, caring, unbelievably kind, accepting, quirky and ENTIRELY HER OWN PERSON. She does/says/wears/looks whatever makes her happy! Without fearing what other people may think of her. She is the best example of individuality, of embracing who you are and LOVING yourself. She is AMAZING. [And I really want to buy this lion head dress/hat thing!] "I think they think I'm a bit odd, you know. Some people call me 'Looney' Lovegood actually". She doesn't care. She doesn't hate them for thinking she's crazy. She just is who she is and accepts that.

  Luna's a BOSS.

13. This is probably Dumbledore's most famous quotes, and for good reason. I love EVERYTHING about it. We can find happiness in the darkest of time, we just have to look for it or make it ourselves. 

14. The importance of a well-place joke to lighten the mood. Ron IS the comic relief in the series. Many times he's the one bringing lightness back into some very dark and heavy moments. 

15. The value of being logical.

16. Dreams are really great and super important, but we can't always be looking into the future or dreaming in fantasy or life will pass us by. We have to live in the moment too!! Or all the moments will be gone and we'll have nothing left.

17. Always have your friends' backs. And RESCUE them when they need rescuing. We can't do everything ourselves, even if we don't like to admit it. Sometimes we need someone to help us!

18. Oh Luna. This is my favorite quote of hers. I admire her her wholly. 

19. Snape is mean, cruel, and I often want to chuck a rock at him, but I DO love him. He is such a complex character. But one thing Snape does almost better then anyone is love, with his whole being, without ever being loved back the same way, which actually drives him into being some of those nastier things. Snape loves Lily (Harry's mum) more than anything else in the world. And he never had that same love returned. He's a tragic hero, not your classic type, but equally as important.

20. I love words. I know that I say this quite often, but I do. They are so powerful, both beautiful and disgusting, uplifting and hurtful. That's why it's SO IMPORTANT to choose are words wisely and to not let our emotions get the best of us. It's also equally important to actually say the right things, words of love, encouragement, and 'sorry's.

21. Sort out your priorities.

22. Figure out what's most important to you.

23. This might be one of the most difficult life lessons to learn, but maybe one of the most important. Most often, the things that are right are often the hardest things to do. 

24. I LOVE Professor McGonagall. She is probably my favorite teacher. And I love this quote from her; it takes a lot of courage to tell the truth, most of the time it's not an easy thing. But if we don't we have to understand that it severely affects our character. Engaging in lies is engaging in cowardice. That's a lesson to learn!

25. I'm sorry, there will be A LOT of Dumbledore on here, but how could there not be?! But this is one of my all-time favorites!! Adventure is definitely worth pursuing. Make sure to surround yourself with people that love adventure but also don't be afraid to go experience them alone! 

26. I think about this one a lot... Sirius is such an awesome character! Being humble is really important, and how we treat people says more about us than it does about them. Make sure you're treating everyone with kindness and understanding. 

27. Hahahaha Luna. This should've probably went with one of the other 'Luna' ones, but it deserves it's own. I'm not even sure what the lesson is here... I guess to just be amazing, like Luna. ;) Or maybe it's worth repeating.. embrace your weirdness, your quirks, your individuality. You may feel totally alone in your craziness, but just know that we're all different and that's what makes us beautiful. 

28. Laughter is a critical part of friendship...or any relationship really. Friends that laugh together stay together. :)

29. Lupin's another great character. LOVE THIS!!

30. It's okay to be THAT GIRL that knows the answers, that's not afraid to be smarter than the boys and show them up, to love learning and not be ashamed of your smartness!! Believe it or not, girls are STILL pretending to be DUMBER than boys so that they'll like them. BUT NO MORE. Take a cue from Hermione and embrace it, FLAUNT it even. Brains is just as important as bravery and brawn. (all of those words started with a B and I didn't even try to do that!)

31. The importance of a well-formed Sassy arsenal. Professor McGonagall is the queen of sassy sarcastic remarks and I aspire to be just like her. She has the BEST one-liners! 

Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

32. Life is sometimes really really crappy. While sometimes the sorrow, pain and anguish are overwhelming, we must not give in to it entirely. It will crush us. Battle on. 

33. The last person who's going to baby you is Snape. But sometimes we need that kick in the pants. LIFE IS NOT FAIR. GET OVER IT. 

34. This is so true. Something that is absolutely pivotal, especially in your adolescent years! Stand up for what's right, even if that means you're standing up to your friends. At the end of the day, you have to live with who you are.

35. Don't stand there silently watching the person you love dance with someone else. Even though it's scary, tell them how you feel. If not, you'll be miserable forever. Life is about taking chances, and unfortunately if you don't, your're likely to reap little reward.

36. 'Nough said. 

37. YES!!! This may be the hardest thing to do in the heat of the moment, but success in life requires control of our emotions. We cannot let everything get to us. Learn to harness the bad emotions into a positive/productive response. 

38. FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN. Maybe one of the most grandiose themes throughout the series is this, and it's imperative. We have to stand up for what we think is right, we have to be strong in our values and fight tooth and nail to protect them. 

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