The Magical Message Harry Potter Shares With Our Kids
It all comes to an end on July 15, the Harry Potter saga that is. Sure, we’ve known the fate of our beloved Hogwarts students and faculty, of the Death Eaters and the members of the Order of the Phoenix since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published in 2007. But come the 15th of July, we’ll see the dramatization of J.K. Rowling’s sad, dramatic and inspiring tale about The Boy Who Lived take to the silver screen one last time.
And then it will be over.
I’ve been absolutely riveted by the series since my 12-year-old twins got sucked into it when they were in second grade and began gobbling up the books, then the films. Their passion begat my passion. I was soon hooked (hence our recent pilgrimage to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Florida). Now my 9-year-old is likewise hooked as my husband and I have been reading the series aloud to him over the course of the past few years. (We’re currently on book six, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.)
And though this was a haunting tale about an orphan who struggles throughout his life with the knowledge that his mother died protecting him and that he was condemned to either kill or be killed by the most sinister wizard of his age without any parents around to provide him guidance or shelter, I think what moved me most about this world of dark and light, of magic and mystery which emerged from Rowling’s rich imagination was Harry’s persistent ache for his parents. Despite their absence, Harry was shaped by his parents who died when he was a baby. The pain of not having them around to rear him was exacerbated by the fact that this smart, sometimes precocious young man was forced to live with an emotionally and at times physically abusive aunt and uncle who openly said he was no good and treated him like an indentured servant. When the series opened, his bedroom was little more than the size of a closet and located beneath a stairwell. In his early years, his craving for love and affection was deep.
To grab you even more by the heart, nearly every time young Harry grew extremely attached to a parent-like figure, that person was violently taken away from him, just like his parents were, leaving him feeling freshly vulnerable all over again. There was the Hogwarts headmaster who took Harry under his wing and imperfectly tried to prepare him and provide him with what he needed to succeed at Harry’s most important task: Defeating the evil wizard Voldemort. Before Dumbledore’s death, Harry discovered that he had a living godfather who’d been his father James’ best friend. This knowledge allowed Harry to fantasize about leaving his abusive aunt and uncle’s home and living someplace where he was loved and wanted . . . only to have Sirius brutally struck down right in front of his eyes.