Why We Love Harry Potter

I saw Eclipse this past weekend, and no, this is not a review about the lukewarm Twilight series. Prior to the movie, I saw a trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Parts 1 and 2. I was so excited, I almost started crying. I have been obsessed with the Harry Potter books and movies since I was a sophomore in college, and with each passing film, the addiction increases—because I know that soon, there will be no additional movies. The series will be over, and then, what will I do with myself?

This got me thinking: why do I love Harry Potter so much? Is it because of the magic wands and broomsticks? Is it because I have a nerdy crush on Daniel Radcliffe? Is it because the writing is so good in the books? No! Heck no! None of these things matter as much as one, simple thing about the Harry Potter series—

WE RECOGNIZE THE BAD GUY.

Voldemort is BAD. Harry Potter and his friends are GOOD. We want Voldemort to FAIL. We want Harry Potter to WIN. It’s so simple!

See, I had a moral crisis recently. Since my presentation at Ignite Phoenix, I’ve been inspired to look out at the world and try to make a positive difference. I started watching the news a bit more often. I started reading “serious” blogs. I started discussing politics and religion in public, and I realized something: we can’t recognize the bad guy anymore. As a society, we can’t agree on anything, including good and evil. In a group of six friends, you’ll have two people with completely differing opinions on one topic. It could be anything, from Christianity to Michelle Obama’s new outfit. They will both have good arguments. They will both be informed and enlightened. And at the end of the conversation, nothing will have changed.

I’m not saying differing opinions are bad. In fact, differing opinions keep things interesting. Instead, I’m just asking … how do we know what’s worth fighting for anymore? The world has gone all to hell. There are a million and one causes I could fight for, but how do I know what’s real and what’s propaganda? Because let’s face it: we’re on such information overload, half of what we hear could be fabricated. We don’t recognize the bad guys. They don’t come with a built-in evil music soundtrack, like in old Westerns. They’re not the ones smoking cigarettes. They’re not the ones wearing all black. They’re among us with no recognizable factors, and they’ve even shaved off their Hitler mustaches.

Movies like Harry Potter, V for Vendetta, and Fahrenheit 451 make it all so simple. We recognize the bad guys. Everything is black and white—no gray area. We love these movies because they aren’t like real life, where everything is gray. The characters have a defined purpose: Fight the Bad Guys. They don’t worry about unemployment. There aren’t oil spills or natural disasters, and they don’t worry about social anxiety or depression. They fulfill their purpose singularly and make it look easy without all of life’s messy complications.

This is why I love Harry Potter. The bad guy has a snake face and yellow eyes, and his name is Voldemort. He’s not wearing a suit, standing behind a podium. He’s not the mild-mannered guy down the street who beats his wife. He’s not the eleven-year-old who brings a gun to school.

What do we fight for anymore? Hogwarts is worth fighting for. The Weasley family is worth fighting for. For me, Jake is worth fighting for. My family is worth fighting for. Books are worth fighting for, and God is worth fighting for. The rest of it? I guess I’m still deciding.

15 thoughts on “Why We Love Harry Potter

  1. Sara –

    This is spot on and does a great job of crystallizing something that’s been bothering me for a while. Thanks.

    • Hey, Jana. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. It took me awhile to decide whether or not I really wanted to tackle the issue, but … I just couldn’t help myself. Boo bad guys!

  2. I love this post and I agree. I love HP and I think that seeing the people you want to root for so clearly outlined is wonderful sometimes. There’s something calmly about being about to point to Voldemort and say, “That’s him, that’s the bad guy.” I can’t wait for the final two movies.

    • It’s comforting, isn’t it? And don’t worry. I’m gonna have some kind of insane blog extravaganza as the movie premiere approaches. I’ll probably by one of the dorks at the midnight show. In fact, I definitely will be.

      • I know I will be at the midnight showing. I almost cried when I watched the preview as well but I was watching it on my little computer. I cannot wait to see it on the big screen. I absolutely agree with your post, but honestly, I like Harry Potter for the Hippogriffs.

  3. There seems to be some reverse snobbism to not liking HP but I think the books are brilliant. The creativity of the storyline and characters, the subtle and not-so-subtle messages, the lushness of the settings all compelled me to pick up the series. I love the movies. I even love the idea of going to the new them park at Disney in Orlando and buying a wand or something equally crazy that will just collect dust. I’m with you, Sara.

    • I’ll join you at the theme park. I was just thinking the other day … hmm, how could I afford a random trip to a theme park? Hmmmmm.

  4. I’m in total agreement with you Sara. We all have to be very aware that there is so much subtle evil in our world and I’m reminded of a verse: Matt. 10:16- I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Love you Doll

  5. Hey Sara. Good to read your blog again this week. I agree with you about Harry Potter having very clear-cut themes of good and bad, but I think V for Vendetta was more ambivalent. The ‘good’ guy in the movie was walking the line with his tactics, and although he was clearly going against an evil force, it seems that he was more than willing to cross the line numerous times in order to take down the perpetrator.

    That’s what made the movie so good, is the uneasy feeling you got when he did something, and made you wonder if it was right or wrong, given the circumstances.

    Keep up your superb writing! I always look forward to it!

    Tom Ossa
    Rockland Web Design
    (845) 271 – 4488

    • A good point about V for Vendetta. I think I was brainwashed by a single shot in that movie. When Portman wakes up to a room filled with books that survived the burning, I no longer cared what V had to do to win. I was on his side completely. Like I said, brainwashed. But he did still make me uneasy. And that was a dang fine flick 🙂

  6. I was so excited to see that trailer too!!! In fact, I am re-reading the books right now!! However, your post goes beyond just the brilliance of these books and hits on something so much more! I love it and cannot agree more! Thank you! 🙂

    • I’m having some trouble re-reading, and I think it’s because I forgot how HEAVY the 7th book really is. It’s so weird to have them outside of Hogwarts, ya know? But I love every second! I’m glad you agree with this post. It was something I’d been thinking about a lot. There’s so much crap out there; Harry Potter is a nice ray of sunshine, even through the dark parts. Can’t WAIT for the movie!! I feel like throwing a month-long party or something …

      • I’m not quite there yet! I’m only on Goblet of Fire, but will be slowing down to read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo! It has been so much fun to re-visit Hogwarts though! I will be re-reading Deathly Hallows for the first time, so I’m wondering if I will have the same feelings as you. I remember it being odd that they were no longer at Hogwarts . . . though it does eventually have a part!

        And, just for the record . . . I’d be in for a month-long HP party!! 🙂

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