First thing’s first: we know Gilderoy Lockhart was one of Hogwart’s worst Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers (which is saying something, given that list included Professor Umbridge and a Voldemort-controlled Professor Quirrell) and, yes, he was extremely arrogant and full of his own importance. But, when everyone else was living in fear of an unknown monster busily Petrifying people, Lockhart hit upon a bizarre little morale booster just in time for Valentine’s Day. Harry might not have appreciated being serenaded by a surly-looking messenger in golden Cupid’s wings who was unafraid to kick people in the shins, but we have to hand it to Lockhart – those singing Valentines were pretty funny.
If you think about it, Boggarts are the perfect example of the importance of light relief. Imagine the thing you are most scared of in all the world, and then make it ridiculous. Laugh at it, and it will go away. There’s a metaphor to be explored here, but for now, let’s just remember the fact that a) Neville Longbottom’s greatest fear was Professor Snape and, b) that he confronted that fear in Boggart-form by imagining Snape dressed in his grandmother’s highly unique get-up. Lace-trimmed dress, crimson handbag, vulture-topped hat and all. Ha! indeed.
We could have picked any number of Fred-and-George moments for this list. The extra-long tongue they gave Dudley Dursley as a parting gift. The (generally) gentle mockery they dished out to perfect Prefect Percy (and, later, Ron). The way they gifted Harry the Marauder’s Map when he was forced to miss out on those Hogsmeade trips. But their final Hogwarts exit has to be top of the list, especially given they did it with such style that even Peeves had to salute them. Replacing a school corridor with a Portable Swamp was pretty impressive. Freeing their chained-up brooms and riding off into the distance complete with still-fastened iron locks was pretty daring. And their swaggering sign-off was pretty funny…
All this, and it bought Harry valuable time to talk to Sirius and Lupin. Personally, we agree with Professor Filch. It was a really good bit of magic.
After Dumbledore’s death, and before the Horcrux hunt, Bill and Fleur’s wedding provided Harry with, as he himself thought of it, “one last golden day of peace… to enjoy with Ron and Hermione.”
Even before he embarked on the gruelling task that lay ahead, Harry knew hunting Horcruxes would be no picnic. And without Dumbledore, he was in a particularly dark and perilous place. So the fact that a wedding was taking place at all might have seemed incredible – but the fact that it was taking place at all was also a testament to the very things he was fighting for. Sure, he may have been disguised as a Weasley cousin and sure, it didn’t end that well, but Harry got to spend some extra hours at The Burrow, surrounded by people who cared about him, watching two people in love get married, and witnessing the Lovegood’s amazing wedding outfits. Honestly, what could be better?
It wasn’t discreet. It wasn’t sensible. Even for Hagrid, the timing was shocking. But to throw a ‘Support Harry Potter’ party and risk being captured by Death Eaters, just as Harry himself was living through the darkest times of his life – well, it was also a brilliant way to show defiance and spirit. And Hagrid always knew how to lift Harry’s spirits, even when he was miles away.
Like Fred and George, Ron had a knack for comedy, although in his case it was more sarcasm and jokes than magical pranks. He certainly also had his weaknesses – envy, occasional rudeness, that whole deserting-his-friends-in-the-middle-of-a-crisis thing – but whenever he and Harry fell out, it was noticeable how much more serious things seemed. He knew how to lighten the mood, did Ron, and such a skill should never be underestimated. Maybe that’s why Dumbledore left him the Deluminator. After all, he might have deserted his friends, but as Harry said, he also came back – with his quips and his buoyant energy firmly back in place.
We think our favourite one-liner of Ron’s was his comment about Peeves’ Battle of Hogwarts song, which he delivered as he was exhaustedly shepherding his friends out of the Great Hall and mourning the loss of his brother:
See? Dumbledore was right. To paraphrase something he said in the Prisoner of Azkaban film, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times – you just have to remember to turn on the light.