The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing, they say. I feel that that is true. Life brings a rainbow of emotions with it, and at times, it gets overwhelming and we know not what to do. That’s when that love comes to the fore and helps us. That love helps us to understand, or tide through, or even celebrate the emotions that are so important to us. And make no mistake; every emotion is important in life in one way or another. There are quite a few things that are cathartic when we need to drown some emotions that are drowning us in the first place. Reading a good novel, writing a poem, talking to a friend, the love of a family… these are but few. I have experienced all of them and know the value of each. One of my favorite fiction series is the Harry Potter series, which continue to be bestsellers across the world. Even in the pages of these wonderful books, there is life and there are emotions which a Potterhead lives, not just reads. The value of a family and the love of a family is but one aspect of these books.
Harry Potter is a young boy who has not had the best of childhoods. He is told that his parents died in a car crash, and that is why he is living with his mother’s sister Petunia, her husband Vernon Dursley and her son Dudley. Family is very important for anyone, I feel. It is even truer when one has lost his parents early in life and is living with a foster family (even if said foster family is a family member). The love that Harry does not get from his parents Lily and James Potter is a sadness that needs to be balanced by understanding and love from the Dursleys. Instead, he is mistreated and bullied by all three of them. The truth of who he is, what is his legacy etc. are hidden from him in the hope that he can become what they want him to become rather than what they know is destined for him. There exists no sense of family or togetherness there.
This essence is completed, I feel, only when Harry meets and befriends the Weasley family. Even the first time he meets them, trying to figure out how to get to Platform 9 ¾, he experiences the kindness that had been, until then, missing from his life. Not every witch or wizard would think of helping a new student find the way, and I’m sure had it been a family like the Malfoys who Harry approached for help, the first year of Hogwarts would never have happened. Instead, he is gently told by Molly Weasley how to get on to the platform. When Harry struggles to put his things onto the train, Fred and George Weasley help him out. Molly also gets angry when the twins want to ask Harry if he remembers what Voldemort looks like. She forbids them to do so, and understands he has been through enough, another thing that had been missing from his life. She sends him a gift for Christmas, a hand-knit Weasley jumper. It showed me that she considered Harry, who was Ron Weasley’s best friend by then, as good as her own son. Perhaps Ron wrote to her about Harry, perhaps not. But to make an effort to give Harry something for Christmas was touching. The Dursleys had just sent him a coin. She made a jumper for him for every Christmas that followed. The relief that was so evident in her reaction when Harry is rescued from Knockturn Alley by Hagrid showed she cared for him a lot. The love that she had for Harry, as she would her own children, can be seen in many places through the novel… when she came to support Harry during the final Triwizard task, when she baked a cake in the shape of a Golden Snitch, when she and her husband accept their personal items to be checked while Harry stays at the Burrow. Though she could never replace Lily Potter as a mother character, she made a better impact on Harry’s life as a mother than Petunia Dursley could.
Though Molly Weasley is the more prominent, her husband Arthur Weasley’s character also makes an impact on Harry’s life. While Molly is the more concerned parent, Arthur Weasley brings a touch of fun and daring into the character. The instances where he is concerned for Harry’s well-being are many, the most notable among them perhaps when he wants to warn Harry about Sirius even though Cornelius Fudge, the minister for magic does not wish to. It’s not that he wants to alarm the child, but he wants him to be prepared. He’s also one who gives the children – Harry as well his own children – a bit more space to breathe. He is not that bothered by some rule breaking, and even help Harry once in a while. He escorts Harry to his hearing, though he doesn’t really need to. He wants to let Harry get a correct version of events from them rather than a half-version from others. He knows Harry wants to spend some time with Ron and Hermione to prepare for their Hallows quest, so he lets Harry go from the duty with chickens. He is willing to take risks for Harry even if his own life is at stake, like guarding the door to the Department of Mysteries, or being a part of the plan to deceive Voldemort in the final book.
In Ron Weasley, Harry finds not just a best friend, but a brother. They become very close, and the strength of their friendship is something that’s evident across the books. From first guiding Harry through his first steps at Hogwarts and the wizarding world, to going with him through the trap door, taking the risk of flying the Ford Anglia, and of course, quitting Hogwarts to go hunting Hallows, the whereabouts of which are unknown, Ron’s character is vital to the story. The other Weasley brothers are not that prominent, but still do make excellent supporting roles. Fred and George, the twins, protect him against the rogue bludger, help him in no small amount by giving him The Marauder’s Map, break rules that could mean their own expulsion from Hogwarts so Harry can chat with Sirius in Umbridge’s fire, believe in his leadership enough to be among the first to sign up for Dumbledore’s Army etc. Ginny Weasley turns out to be more than just family to him of course, but no doubt her character also helped him a lot. She’s the one who gives him hope when he feels Voldemort is controlling him. She is the one who Harry thinks of when hoping all is well with the Weasley family after they disapparate from the wedding. When Bellatrix attacks Ginny, he cares for her enough to change his point of attack away from Voldemort himself.
Be it Molly’s protective love for him, Arthur’s more free way of handling things, Ron’s constant presence, the twins’ rule breaking or Ginny’s thoughts, the books, and Harry’s life would not have been the same had the Weasley family not been a part of it. It is their support, I feel, which gives Harry the hope and the strength to take the evil that’s thrown at him and battle it. Yes, deep down, he cares for the Dursleys too, but without the prominent love, support, happiness, understanding and other aspects, I feel the Weasley family is what shapes Harry Potter’s character more than anything else.
Vinay Leo R. believes that the quote from Isaac Asimov, “I write for the same reason I breathe, because if I didn’t, I would die.” holds true for him, for he has experienced the therapeutic power that words have. He’s a web developer by profession, but is always focused on his passion. A voracious reader, he is a poet as well as a writer of fiction, and blogs at his space which he calls I Rhyme Without Reason and reviews some of the books he reads at A Bookworm’s Musing.
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