7 Years Since Harry Potter…
In the wonderful world of Harry Potter, crafted by the brilliant J.K. Rowling, 7 is a magical number.
7 Weasley children. 7 Horcruxes. The 7th day of the 7th month. The 7th floor corridor. 7 Galleons for a wand. Cleansweep 7. 7 secret passageways out of Hogwarts. 7 Potters. 7 years since Deathly hallows…
I know, it’s hard to believe that time is moving faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo, but for millions of Harry Potter fans, the books, films and theme parks remain a source of great joy and endless re-reading opportunities.
The Harry Potter series, for the uninitiated, centres on Harry, a young wizard who after years of neglect in his Aunt and Uncle’s house is rescued by a half- giant and sent to learn magic at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He makes friends, grows up, and fulfils his destiny to defeat the most evil wizard the world has seen, Lord Voldemort. This stunning series, which is full of incredible depth, metaphor, and insight is a remarkable coming of age/adventure story that is beloved by adults and kids worldwide. One of the fantastic things about the series is how the language grows with each instalment just as the audience grows up, aimed at the 7-11 bracket in book 1, and adult readers in the 7th.
So I present, 7 great things about each book in the Harry Potter series. (Sirius spoilers ahead)
– Quidditch – Harry’s first match was, and remains to me at least, super exciting. There was bad sportsmanship, bewitched brooms and a golden snitch. Because you can be cool, but you will never be Harry-Broom-Surfing-And-Catching-The-Snitch Cool
– Diagon Alley – So much to do and see in the wizarding shopping village, as well as Gringott’s bank with its eerie message of warning to thieves and hair raising cart ride through the depths of the bank.
– Hermione Granger – Hermione has always been one of my favourite literary characters. Intelligent, kind, insightful, brave and loyal, she is an exceptional role model and wise beyond her years in the HP series, starting even in book 1 by seeing that there are “more important things, like friendship and bravery”.
– Hagrid – he’s awesome. A gentle (half) giant, the keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts is a wonderful guide into the magical world, with his love of gardening and misguided faith in the good of each fearsome and uncontrollable beast and monster he tries to adopt (dragons, blast-ended screwts)…
– Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans – George swears he got a bogie flavoured one once…
– The Gryffindor Common Room – With red walls, comfy couches, a roaring fireplace and the girls’ staircase that turns into a stone slide whenever someone less than trustworthy tries to climb it. The Gryffindor Common room is comfy and homely for the Gryffindor students.
– Dobby – The Malfoy’s house-elf Dobby is well meaning but does go to extreme lengths to keep Harry from returning to Hogwarts in year 2. While he is a bit crazy at first, he is a great source of help to Harry through the series.
– Freeing Dobby – this was great quick thinking on Harry’s part to free Dobby from slavery to the Malfoys. And Dobby gets the first in a very large collection of socks!
– Harry’s fight with the Basilisk – This was very cool in the films and heart pumping action in the books.
– The Burrow – Ron’s house has always been my favourite in the books. Cosy and full of life, The Burrow becomes Harry’s favourite home after Hogwarts.
– Expelliarmus – the disarming spell, learnt in the Duelling Club becomes Harry’s best move.
– The Flying Ford Anglia – Because of course, the logical response for anyone who misses the train is to simply ‘fly their parents’ car to school’.
– The Marauders’ Map – This was seriously cool. The magical map of Hogwarts that shows everyone inside and all the secret passageways out of the castle. The best bit is where it comes to life and insults Professor Snape!
– The Marauders – Ok, so they were a group of bullies and pranksters, but they grew up and became 3 of the best wizards and 1 snitch to the dark side that we don’t talk about.
– Sirius Black – he’s charming, devilishly handsome, and he’s just escaped from Azkaban 😉
– The Firebolt – The Ferrari of the quidditch world. One day, I would love to play quidditch for real, and I would love a fast Firebolt. Just kidding.
– Hogsmeade – Another famous wizarding village, close to the school where students can visit on weekends. It’s home to the most haunted house in Britain, the Shrieking Shack, and the cosy pub The Three Broomsticks.
– Lee Jordan and McGonnagal’s quidditch Commentary – Solid gold.
- Lee Jordan: “Look at that Firebolt go! Potter’s really putting it through its paces now. See it turn – Chang’s Comet is just no match for it. The Firebolt’s precision-balance is really noticeable in these long-“
- Minerva McGonagall: “JORDAN! ARE YOU BEING PAID TO ADVERTISE FIREBOLTS? GET ON WITH THE COMMENTARY!“
– Expecto Patronum – truly impressive magic, to produce a patronus that would repel Dementors. And I just love that Harry’s patronus is the same stag as his father James’.
– Voldemort’s return – Terrifying, heart pumping action takes over as Voldemort is reborn and Harry fights and escapes him once again.
– The Yule Ball – Ron and Harry discover girls with less than stellar, but rather amusing results.
– S.P.E.W – Hermione’s house elf rights awareness group is a sign of her social awareness and kind heart. I love that she wanted it to be originally called “Stop the Outrageous Abuse of Our Fellow Magical Creatures and Campaign for a Change in Their Legal Status” but of course that wouldn’t fit on a badge…
– The Tri-Wizard Tournament – This was fun, three challenges for wizarding glory and, as Hermione says, a way to strengthen the bond between the magical schools.
– Fred and George and the Age Line – You just can’t mess with Dumbledore’s enchantments, as Fred and George discover they grow rather impressive beards by cheating the Tournament’s age line.
– Mad Eye Moody – ok, he might not have been fully present in this book, but he is an amazing character, always shouting about CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!
– Dumbledore’s Army – the ultimate in friendship and loyalty, what begins as a way to learn practical defence against the dark arts skills becomes a student movement of rebellion and triumph as the team stand up against Death Eaters both inside and out of Hogwarts.
– Luna Lovegood – I adore Luna. She may be weird at first, but she’s brave, loyal and sweet.
– Umbridge – Ok, she’s pure evil, but she was a necessary and interesting character in this book. Often cited as the “one you wanted dead more than Voldemort”, you can’t hate anyone in the books quite as much as her. But why? Because Umbridge is a recognisable evil, one that you are far more likely to encounter and overcome than a wizarding villain like Voldemort.
– The Weasley Twins – I love Fred and George, the great Hogwarts pranksters and I especially love their escape from Hogwarts, leaving Umbridge and Filch to round up hundreds of out of control fireworks and a portable swamp.
– Professor McGonnagal – One of my all-time favourite characters, the head of Gryffindor house is tough as nails with a heart of gold. I love her vow to help Harry be an auror no matter what in this book.
– The Sorting Hat’s Song – The final song we hear from the Sorting Hat in the series, full of wisdom and warning to unite in dark times heralded the beginning of the book’s slide into darker, adult territory as Voldemort returns.
– Weasley is our King – Ron joins the quidditch team and overcomes his anxiety to save Gryffindor’s victory!
– Draco Malfoy – Ok, he’s a villain, but he’s also a lost and scared young man pressured and coerced into working for the most evil wizard. While the books filter through Harry quite heavily, this was the one place where I felt the film was just incredible in showing Draco’s character arc to perfection.
– The potions book – I adore social commentary in fiction and if there is one side of commentary in HP it is a sharp look at the education system. From incompetent or abusive teachers who can make you hate learning, to official instructions in textbooks that fail to work, HP is an amazing and often scathing look at how the education institution can influence students to fail or succeed. Snape’s old potions book is crammed full of his notes and revisions that enable Harry to finally succeed at his most dismal subject, Potions.
– Voldemort’s Memories – Seeing Voldemort’s backstory through memories was an intelligent way to reveal his past, his horcruxes and his great weaknesses needed to be understood so that Harry could work out a way to defeat him.
– The Slug Club – J.K. Rowling has a great talent for comedy and I love the humour that surrounds every meeting of Professor Slughorn’s Slug Club, from Hermione trying to avoid the charmless Cormac McLaggen, to a vampire eyeing up students as a meal to Draco being overlooked as his connections are not as illustrious as he hoped.
– Neville Longbottom’s wand – as we come to understand in Deathly Hallows, wands are unique to each wizard and so it is wonderful when Neville, unable to use his dad’s broken wand, gets a wand of his own and finally begins to excel at magic. Plus, Neville is just one of the greatest characters in the series, I love him.
– Harry and Ginny – Naw, they are so cute!
– Three go off to war – the final moments of book 6, where Ron and Hermione promise to come along with Harry to destroy the horcruxes.
– The Prince’s memories – I defy you to not shed a tear through these memories of childhood love won and lost. “Always”…
– I open at the close – Talk about character development. It’s genius and heartbreaking and life affirming, that the one thing to defeat death is to not be afraid of it.
– Hallows, not horcruxes – Like whoa!! This was truly exceptional writing on J.K. Rowling’s side. There is a significant powerplay between conquering death, hiding from death, love and family in the HP series, and it was well imagined in the power of the Hallows and the destruction of the horcruxes.
– The Three Brothers – I love the stories within stories in the HP series, and I thought the tale of the Three Brothers was particularly well animated in the film version of the book.
– The Battle of Hogwarts – I cried through this! So many of my favourite characters were painfully lost, but at the same time the loyalty and bravery of the Order and DA shone as Voldemort and his followers are finally defeated for good. And again, Neville Longbottom!!!
– 19 Years Later – It’s not enough to win a war, it’s victory to continue to live after one. Harry, Ron and Hermione are shown 19 years later taking the next generation of magical youngsters to the Hogwarts Express. Lives, careers, families and friendships remain in the happy ending to the series, when finally, “all was well”.
Whew, writing this was difficult, as there are certainly more than 7 good moments in each book (closer to 700), so tell us what your favourite parts from the Harry Potter series were in the comments below!
And if you feel like bamboozling yourself with 7s, there’s a whole wiki page dedicated to the surprising links between HP and the number 7, check it out here.