Happy Birthday, Harry

Every summer I open a book and board the Hogwarts Express, returning to the wizarding world. For a few short months I gain the ability to travel through the story of the boy who lived. Though I wish it would never stop, the train cannot go on forever, and I am forced to exit the last page of the last chapter, closing the book for another year.

The muggle world struggles to understand the value of Harry’s story until we read and grasp the levels of sacrifice that created it. In the books we learn that the opposite of of love isn’t hatred; it’s fear. Love drives the entire story to its climax where Harry sacrifices himself for his friends and chooses to face Voldemort’s greatest fear–death. Voldemort’s fear erases his understanding of love and pushes him to mutilate his own soul to escape death’s inevitability. Both Harry and Voldemort must choose either love or fear.

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”
― Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Tom Riddle and Harry Potter start out life in similar circumstances–parentless but talented–however the choices they make determine the direction of their lives. Voldemort succumbs to fear and hatred, but from the beginning Harry choose Gryffindor over Slytherin, his friends over himself, and love over power.

Rowling’s theme of love emanates from every page, wrapping itself around her readers like a warm and comforting blanket. No matter what our lives are like, we can read Harry’s story and experience that feeling of love, like we are finally coming home.

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