So, as some of you may know (and I only know because of my magical friend Rae) this Friday is Harry Potters birthday. In case you were wondering, yes, we are planning on having a party in his honor and yes, spiked Butter Beer will be included. Because of the impending festivities I've been giving the world J.K Rowling so kindly welcomed us into a lot of thought.
There is no denying the power of this story or how immersive and engaging it is. The proof is in the following, and in how often we return to it, re-watching the films, re-reading the books, groping for any shred of information that will bring to life new corners of the world which was built with a well practiced flick and a swish of Rowling's imagination. But it's not just the "magic" itself that draws us I don't think, it's the truths that are built into the very real and very tangible journey of Harry and his friends.
On some level we can all relate, at any age, to the obstacles that Harry must overcome. Trials in love and friendship, self-confidence and trust draw us in and equip us with hope that says, "You can do this. You can make it. You are special, and while it will not be easy, should you persevere you will overcome." This is the message that bids me to leave behind any doubt, to strip away the shroud of judgement and fear and continue to create.
The story of Harry Potter is not unique in this message, though. The Fantasy genre is built around the hero archetype. We find Heroes with their destinies thrust upon them and heroes who choose to pursue something greater than themselves, but the message, regardless, is clear: One becomes a Hero when they shoulder ownership of their lives, embrace the nature of the unknown and declare war on whatever it is that bids them give up.
That's not to say it's easy. Or Pretty. It's not. Fighting for others, believing in the greater good, raising your sword when you are bruised, fatigued and bloody is the furthest thing from easy-- but it is worth it. I could talk about this all day, but I believe stories are stronger than simple words, and so I'll leave you with this:
5 lessons our fantasy heroes (and villains) taught us
Harry Potter : GREATNESS LIES WITHIN EACH OF US
"...the world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters. We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are." - Sirius Black
Harry Potters response when he found out he was a wizard is the heart and soul of this truth. "I can't be a wizard, I'm just... Harry." He is right in that Harry is simply Harry, but therein lies his power. In giving up our pursuit of being someone else and embracing our unique journey we fuel our greatness. Understanding our ability to choose and indeed choosing to be everything we can be is our true power.
Kahlan Amnell : WE NEED HEROES WHO OWN WHO THEY ARE
"We all can be only who we are, nothing more, no less."- Kahlan Amnell
Aside from being a woman, being the voice for the Midlands, and being a bonafide bad ass Kahlan Amnell from Terry Goodkinds Sword of Truth series teaches us that if we are to make a difference we can only be who we are, and that we, as we are, is absolutely enough. Power comes from self-acceptance and self-confidence. Be assured that you are exactly who we need to own your dreams and inspire us to do the same.
Boromir : IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO STAND FOR WHAT IS RIGHT
"I do not know what strength is in my blood, but I swear to you, I will not let the White City fall, nor our people fail. Our people, our people. I would have followed you, my brother... my captain... my king." - Boromir
The human condition of self, the struggle of desire and power, stains the rhythms of Bormoir's journey. The struggle is real and while it seemed as if he was defeated by his choices, in his last moments he makes good on his true nature showing us that even when we fall there will always be grace to stand again.
Katniss Everdeen : SACRIFICE IS THE PRICE OF VICTORY
"You're still trying to protect me. Real or not real," he whispers.
"Real," I answer. "Because that's what you and I do, protect each other.” - MockingJay
A lot of me hates this truth, but it is truth nonetheless. Every victory is won on the battlefield of sacrifice, and it is the greatest price we will pay. Katniss, as well as a plethora of other heroes, show us that we must give of ourselves to ensure the safety of our loved ones and the defeat of that which sets itself against us.
Voldemort : EVEN THE BIGGEST AND DARKEST OF VILLAINS CAN BE DEFEATED
“It is our choices that tell us who we really are, far more than our abilities.” – Albus Dumbledore
If there is one thing that Harry Potter (and Voldemort) has taught us is that our victory lies in our choices. We have the ability to choose light, to choose perseverance and to act in alignment with the good and true parts of us. It is there, in those moments, that we are equip to come against the forces that have given themselves over to the darkness.
Remember, too, that you are not alone. Even as much as it feels like it. On those dark nights, when the moon has hidden itself away, where your compass has given out and all seems lost look to your left and your right for there are others out there fighting alongside you in the dark, and those back home who believe in you.