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Posted at 03:09 PM ET, 07/17/2011

Lessons we learned from ‘Harry Potter’

What, after all these years, did we learn from “Harry Potter”?

That miracles can happen, at least to:

*A single mother named J.K. Rowling who was living on public assistance and didn’t give up on her brilliant idea for a book series about a boy wizard.

*The casting folks who found Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

Here are some other lessons learned from various people (with names, ages and hometowns):

Alexa Dettelbach, 18, Chevy Chase

Harry Potter has taught me that love always prevails, and about the importance of creativity. Each book is filled with enough cleverness to last a lifetime, and every book has made me want more.

Sophie Fry, 20, London

Harry Potter has been one of the constants throughout my childhood and early adulthood. It taught me about friendship — not just the sunny side but the rocky roads filled with fights and arguments that will inevitably come when you grow up alongside people you first met at the tender age of 11. It taught me that it was OK to make mistakes, and that everyone must fall first before they can grown. My world may be slightly different from that of Horcruxes and Hogwarts, but the ability to relate to the books has been a universal trend across many of my friends, even those who have grown up in diverse countries all across the world.

Rebecca Sharer, 18, McLean

I started reading Harry Potter when I was 7. I’ve been in love with the series ever since, and it seems especially fitting that the last movie is coming out a month before I leave for college. Harry Potter has shaped my childhood. It taught me about friendship and love.

Danielle Pavlansky, 23, Arlington

Because I was the same age as Harry, Ron, and Hermione, the most important lesson I took away (from the many lessons that I learned) was what being a true friend meant. I learned that loyalty to your friends is most important even when turning your back on one another would be the easy choice, like in The Deathly Hollows when Harry wanted to go off alone to fight Voldemort but Ron and Hermione fought beside him. I learned that your friends can be your family when your family fails to be the support that you need in the way that Ron and Hermione became Harry’s family where the Dudley’s fell incredibly inadequate. In the same sense, I learned that your friend’s family can become your family too in the same way that the Weasleys “adopted” Harry. I learned that it is okay to fight with your friends, but to always remember that they have your best intentions at heart like when Ron thought Harry entered the Tri-Wizard Tournamet. The unconditional love and infallible support that Harry, Ron, and Hermione gave each other over their seven years of Hogwarts taught me that friendships can last under the most impossible conditions.


Valerie Shen, 18, Madison, Wisc.

I think the biggest thing I learned is the importance of friendship. As cliche as it sounds, Harry’s success would not have been possible without the help of those around him, and I think the defining force that made his life better once he got to Hogwarts was not the magic, but rather the fact that he actually met people who care about him. Someone recently pointed out to me that when you spend a lot of time away from friends and family, life gets lonely and I’ve realized how true that is, and that love of all kinds really makes the world go around :)

As for me, Valerie Strauss, I learned that it pays to try something you don’t think you’ll like. When the first Harry Potter was published, I didn’t read it, not being a fantasy buff and not imagining that there could be much behind all the hoopla. Eventually, deciding that I should at least know what the sensation was all about, I picked it up, and was entranced. I still am.

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By  |  03:09 PM ET, 07/17/2011

 
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