When you meet someone, conversation can be tricky – even for the famous Boy Who Lived. What worked for Harry and Ron was bonding over sweets Harry bought from the trolley on the Hogwarts Express. Forget the weather, chatting about Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans were a great starting point that soon got them talking about their own families and the magical world.
This was an error made by Draco Malfoy when he tried to befriend Harry Potter on their first train ride to Hogwarts. After insulting Ron and his family, his exact words here: ‘You’ll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don’t want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there.’ It didn’t go down well – he really should have offered Harry a Pumpkin Pasty instead.
Starting at Hogwarts is overwhelming for everyone, but particularly for those from non-wizarding families. Sharing anything you’ve heard about the wizarding school is a must when making friends – even if it’s just admitting you don’t know very much at all! Ron often made Harry feel like he wasn’t alone in being a little out of his depth when it came to the Sorting Ceremony or lessons – sometimes it’s nice to go into the unknown together.
This is a Hermione Granger classic. We didn’t judge her for learning all the set texts off by heart before she’d even started school – if we could get our hands on Hogwarts: A History, we’d be reading it cover to cover before we arrived too. However, being mindful that others probably won’t appreciate you showing off all your bright, shiny knowledge before the very nerve-wracking Sorting Ceremony, might have got Hermione off to a better friendship start.
Though Harry and Ron found Hermione a bit of a know-it-all at the beginning, they soon learned to be proud of their friend for all the house points she won for Gryffindor, as well as the tight spots she saved them from (ahem Devil’s Snare). And Ron, a huge Quidditch fan – and probably a little bit jealous of Harry making it onto the house team –still put his new friendship first and was prouder than anyone that Harry became the youngest Seeker in a century.
This one is a Ron Weasley special. Not only is it unkind to call someone a “nightmare”, in Ron and Harry’s case it had some pretty catastrophic consequences. And sure, taking on a twelve-foot mountain troll finally brought the Golden Trio together, but a lot of that was down to luck! Ron calling Hermione a “nightmare” just goes to show that you shouldn’t judge anyone too early or call them names – you never know, you just might end up marrying them!
Hermione was very smart, and not just when it came to lessons. She had some words of wisdom for all of us when it came to friendship near the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
‘Harry – you’re a great wizard, you know.’ ‘I’m not as good as you,’ said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him. ‘Me!’ said Hermione. ‘Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry – be careful!’
Enough said, we reckon. Thanks Hermione, wisest witch of your age.
As Harry found over the years, it’s tough being away from new friends and magic over the long summer holidays, particularly if you live with Muggles like the Dursleys. After an adventurous year, full of fun and friendship, remembering to send an owl or two letting your new friends know you’re still around will really help calm the nerves when September 1st arrives and you need someone to save you a seat…
Harry, Ron and Hermione couldn’t be more different, but they soon become the closest of wizarding trios. Making new friends is all about being yourself. And even if it takes a while – like Hermione – when you find the right friends, they’ll love you exactly as you are. And that’s pretty – well – magical.