It’s that time of year that we all sit down at a table full of food and say what we’re thankful for, like our health, being with family and friends, and Harry Potter. Yes, I said Harry Potter. The books and movies have long ended, Harry’s kids are all at Hogwarts, and we should all probably move on with our lives. But we’ll be there until the very end! While my Hogwarts letter never came and I don’t know any magic whatsoever, I do have a few things to say about Harry Potter. And by a few things I mean I could go on for days just about how Hermione carried the golden trio to victory… Sorry Harry and Ron, but it’s kind of true.
While you’re stuffing your face with turkey and fixings leftovers while watching football, and before you rush out for some Black Friday shopping, let’s talk about 10 reasons to be thankful for Harry Potter this magical holiday season.
1. The fandom
The Harry Potter fandom is probably the largest fandom in the world. Whether you came to know Harry Potter through the books or through the movies, Hogwarts and the fandom is always there to welcome you home. If you were ever on the internet in the early 00’s and you were a Harry Potter fan, you know that the community of Harry Potter fans knows no bounds. There were chat rooms to discuss what was going to happen in the next book. Would JK really kill Dumbledore? Was Snape as bad as he seemed? And would Ron and Hermione finally get over themselves and get together already? The best part of these chat rooms and online discussions is that the fandom really heard people out. You could throw out a random theory with no real evidence and Harry Potter fans would hear you out. They got it, they understood literally anything can happen in this world of magic. Fans of Harry Potter are so welcoming too. I can’t tell you how many people I chatted with while waiting in line at midnight to pick up the next Harry Potter book or waiting in line to go into the midnight showing of the latest Harry Potter movie. The Harry Potter fandom is so welcoming and understanding of each other because we are all there for the same reason: the magic and the escapism it brings (more on this later). The Harry Potter franchise would not be as successful without the masses of fans supporting it and supporting each other, and vice versa our lives would all be a lot less magical without Harry Potter and the fandom.
2. Hogwarts is our home
One of my favorite things JK Rowling has said is “The stories we love best do live in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” How wonderful is that? Hogwarts was Harry’s sanctuary for so many years and it was ours too. I’ve rewatched the Harry Potter movies about 1,000 times each and the magic of Hogwarts is still so amazing. That castle could do so much and it was so important that the final battle took place there. The fact that the castle could be damaged, but not destroyed, was symbolism for the fact that a place of magic, of friendship, of learning, of welcoming, and of diversity was not about to sit there and take Voldemort’s hateful prejudice nonsense. It sheltered those who fought for what was right and protected the golden trio for so many years. And for that we say shout out to you Hogwarts… You’re the real MVP!
3. Friendship is key
The Harry Potter books have a huge main theme: friendship. It is because of friendship that Harry survived everything he was put through. Friendship saved him countless times from the Dursley house, friendship protected him as he dealt with Draco’s bullying, and it saved him when he was determined to fight Voldemort alone because his friends refused to let him. That is what friendship is. It’s never having to face anything alone. Harry’s friendship with Ron and Hermione taught us so much. It taught us that we can all try to be the friend that makes you laugh like Ron, the friend that wants the best for you and is smart enough to save your ass on several occasions like Hermione, and to be the friend that needs to be saved like Harry. It is because of friendship that Harry is able to defeat Voldemort on numerous occasions. And from reading/watching that friendship over the years, we all learned how to be better friends.
4. JK Rowling is our Queen
JK Rowling created an entire magical world full of so much riveting detail and characters with endless histories. Pottermore.com was a huge deal when it came out, not only because of it was now a place for the Harry Potter fandom to come and interact with each other, but because JK kept releasing histories and backgrounds of characters and magical creatures. This woman put so much detail into this world. That’s why it feels so real when you read the books or watch the movies; because it is so rich in detail and magic. Every character, even the very minor ones, had back stories because to JK every character is important (more on this later). Even when she was killing characters we’d rather see live, she always kept in mind the importance of writing a story that was true and real. I would literally read anything this woman writes, even her grocery lists. She gave us the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you JK for writing a world that is both captivating and endless.
The world that JK Rowling has crafted does something very important and it is the reason people love the Harry Potter universe so much: escapism. Because JK created an entrancing world of detail and magic, it had us all diving into the books or movies to escape our own magic-less lives. When the Harry Potter books came out, I was in Elementary-Middle school. School sucks and it definitely was not a school of witches and wizards, so of course I would race home to jump into a world that would whisk me away on an adventure to help Harry defeat Voldemort. Escapism is important when it comes to books and movies. If a story can’t make me feel like I’m in the world with the characters, if it can’t make me crave going back to that world once it’s all said and done, then the story did something wrong. But Queen JK always knows what she is doing and for that, we bow down and say thank you.
6. Magical Creatures
Magical creatures play just as big of role as magical characters in the Harry Potter universe. Hagrid, the half giant, helps Harry countless times… from saving him from the Dursley’s when he was 11 to fighting alongside him during the Battle of Hogwarts. Dobby, the house elf, warns Harry about the chamber of secrets and even ***SPOILER ALERT*** dies trying the help him escape Bellatrix’s clutches. ***END SPOILER*** Harry also receives help from the centaurs when he is lost in the forest as a first year student and later, when they take away the evil professor Umbridge. Magical creatures are so interesting and frankly, badass and heroic. Harry would not even exist in the magical world if it wasn’t for these magical creatures and the help they give him. For carrying on the series and helping our sometimes lost and clueless main character, we are thankful for all the magical creatures in the Harry Potter universe.
7. Strong female characters
JK Rowling gifted us with Hermione, the brightest witch of her age, who was smart, kind, and an all around badass. We all know Ron and Harry would have been lost without her and probably would have either died or would still be out there trying to find the rest of the Horcruxes. We also got McGonagall, who was strong, fierce, and stood up for what was right. Mrs. Weasley was the baddest witch/mom around and will not stand for you going after anyone in her family. She cared for her family and was so tough, yet generous. We also got Ginny, Luna, Cho, Fleur, etc. who all stood up and fought during the Battle of Hogwarts, who helped Harry or his friends in their time of need, and were selfless and brave always. All these women were great role models to all the young people reading the books and watching the movies. For little girls, these lovely ladies showed us that we could be anything and that women run the world (cue Beyoncé song) and for the boys reading/watching it taught them that girls are equal and are an endless source of knowledge and strength. Shout out the these strong female characters, and the strong ladies they helped create. We’re thankful for you!
Harry Potter stories or movies are absolutely timeless. The stories about prejudice, strength, adversity, love vs. hate, magical worlds with real world struggles, and so much more apply to any decade and any generation. These stories are ones I can’t wait to share with my children. I want to see their faces light up as they discover these worlds for the first time, as they read about Harry’s struggles, as they realize how similar those struggles are to the ones they can and will face in their own lives. I want to see them learn the lessons Harry and others do throughout the books/movies and learn to be better people themselves. JK Rowling has so carefully created a world that can exist anywhere and at anytime for anyone. And for this we should be thankful because now we can share these stories for years and years to come.
9. Everyone is important
I told you I would come around to this. If there is one point that JK Rowling stresses, it is that every person, every character, is important. Every character had a detailed background. Though not always in the book, she would often mention little snippets of character histories on Pottermore.com and on social media. Even characters like Collin Creevy, the ghost of Hogwarts, and Crokshanks the cat had backgrounds and all played small but important roles in Harry’s story and the overall story JK was crafting. Because of this, JK’s story writing was always rich and deep and taught us that everyone matters. Every single person is a being with feelings and a history and thoughts and deserves acceptance and love. Every person in the world is here for a reason. We may not all be the chosen one like Harry Potter, some of us may be Collin Creevys, who help the hero along in his story, but the Collins of the world are just as important as the Harrys. Many thanks to JK for this wonderful lesson that we should carry with us always.
10. Imagination and Belief
This last one is a big one, so hold onto your seats. The world of Harry Potter was a magical one where you could create potions that gave you good luck and drive a flying car to school. JK Rowling brought us a world full of imagination and endless possibilities where literally nothing was off the table. You could do anything in this world. You want to heal a cut? There’s probably a spell or potion for that. Need help with your homework? There’s probably a spell or potion (or even a Hermione) for that. You get the point. They accomplished a lot of things with magic, which we don’t have here in the real world. This taught us to have extremely active imaginations, We imagined that these things could happen and also began looking for the magic in our regular world. We were taught to believe we could find it if we looked hard enough and believed hard enough. Speaking of belief, besides all of the reasons listed above, a very important reason to be thankful for Harry Potter this feasting season is because it taught us to believe that good could defeat evil. And if there is any message we should always hold near and dear to us, it is the belief that good can still overcome evil. Love can still conquer hate.
When you sit down to stuff your face with turkey and mashed potatoes and all the good foods, remember to be thankful for family, friends, heath, and most importantly, Harry Potter and all the gifts it has bestowed upon us. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!