No matter how weird, how different, how odd or how demanding you may be, you are the best possible version of yourself. And this is a truth many Harry Potter characters understood, from those with an unrequited love to ones with an unconventional attitude.
Luna with her Spectre Specs holding the Quibbler

Being different is never easy, no matter whether you’re Muggle or witch or wizard. Hermione endured severe prejudice because her parents were Muggles, Hagrid was constantly mocked for his appearance and Snape was hated and reviled for his actions. Yet each of these characters was so much more than the labels others gave them. They rose above the bias to become someone extraordinary.

Don’t be afraid of your unconventional opinions

Two of the most unconventional characters in the wizarding world were also two of the most interesting — Luna Lovegood and Professor Dumbledore. Luna didn’t give a flying Thestral what other people thought of her. She chased Nargles, believed in conspiracies, said the oddest things and even earned the unfortunate nickname of ‘Loony Lovegood’. Yet Luna’s unconventional way of viewing the world was the reason she became such an invaluable member of the D.A. She saw interesting ways out of complex situations and her resilience to being mocked stood her in good stead when she was captured by Death Eaters.

‘She will,’ said Harry. He could not bear to contemplate the alternative. ‘She’s tough, Luna, much tougher than you’d think. She’s probably teaching all the inmates about Wrackspurts and Nargles.’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Illustration of Albus Dumbledore from the first Order of the Phoenix infographic

Professor Dumbledore may not have been as airy as Luna, but his unconventional views were the subject of many stern parental letters and visits from the Ministry of Magic. He rarely explained himself or his actions and his commitment to both Hogwarts and the conquest of Voldemort never wavered. From the moment we met him, Dumbledore’s actions were being questioned – McGonagall asking why Harry was being left with the awful Dursleys – and even after he died, his deeds were hauled out and examined in minute detail thanks to Rita Skeeter. However, at the end, we discover that Dumbledore, like Snape, walked an incredibly complex path of self-sacrifice and hard decision-making. He knew that Harry would have to die, and yet he continued to guide him towards this eventual end. As unconventional as his choice of reading material and sweets (knitting patterns and sherbet lemons), Dumbledore never changed who he was or what he stood for, even when it meant that he would be harshly judged – even by Harry.

‘And you knew this? You knew – all along?’
‘I guessed. But my guesses have, usually, been good,’ said Dumbledore happily, and they sat in silence for what seemed like a long time, while the creature behind them continued to whimper and tremble.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Don’t allow prejudice to change who you are

Hermione and Hagrid both experienced a lot of prejudice just because of their lineage. Hermione endured endless abuse and suffering because of her Muggle parents, and Hagrid was humiliated when Rita Skeeter revealed his secret – his mother was a giantess. Hermione handled her ridicule and contempt with extraordinary grace, often calming down her friends rather than getting upset herself. In fact, as she grew up with the relentless calls of ‘Mudblood’ she became rather adept at deflecting and deflating…

‘You’re joking, Weasley?’ said Malfoy, behind them. ‘You’re not telling me someone’s asked that to the ball? Not the long-molared Mudblood?’
Harry and Ron both whipped around, but Hermione said loudly, waving to somebody over Malfoy’s shoulder, ‘Hello, Professor Moody!’
Malfoy went pale and jumped backwards, looking wildly around for Moody, but he was still up at the staff table, finishing his stew.
‘Twitchy little ferret, aren’t you, Malfoy?’ said Hermione scathingly, and she, Harry and Ron went up the marble staircase laughing heartily.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

An illusration of Hermione in her Yule Ball dress

Hagrid was often mocked for his size (and his unending love for monsters and beasties), but it was only when he confessed his heritage to Madame Maxime that things got truly hairy. Rita Skeeter, eavesdropping from a nearby statue at the ball, revealed to the world that Hagrid’s mother was a giantess and Hagrid almost fell apart with the shame. It was only after Harry and Ron, led by an outraged Hermione, went to see him and demanded that he stop being ashamed that he stood up and held his head high. Then, instead of carrying his heritage as a weight, he used it in the fight against Voldemort, setting out with Madame Maxine to try to persuade the giants to join their cause. He also saved his half-brother, Grawp, and together they ended up fighting side by side in the Battle of Hogwarts.

Hagrid stooped down, bestowed upon Harry a cursory and rib-cracking hug, then ran back to the shattered window.
‘Good boy, Grawpy!’ he bellowed through the hole in the window. ‘I’ll see yer in a moment, there’s a good lad!’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Hagrid and Madame Maxime slow dance together.

It doesn’t matter what other people think, you know the truth about yourself

When it comes to keeping who you are a complete secret from the rest of the world, nobody was more adept than Professor Snape. He loved Lily Potter. He loved her with every fibre of his being, right up until the day he died. Her marriage to his nemesis, James Potter, her giving birth to a son, Harry Potter, and her tragic death – none of this changed how he felt about her. And nobody knew about it. Until the very end, nobody knew how much he had sacrificed for Lily: his reputation, his career, his friendships and his future.

The only person who knew who he really was and how much he had sacrificed was Dumbledore.

There was a long pause, and slowly Snape regained control of himself, mastered his own breathing. At last he said, ‘Very well. Very well. But never – never tell, Dumbledore! This must be between us! Swear it! I cannot bear… especially Potter’s son… I want your word!’
‘My word, Severus, that I shall never reveal the best of you?’ Dumbledore sighed, looking down into Snape’s ferocious, anguished face. ‘If you insist …’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

When Dumbledore died, Snape could have stopped being a spy. He could have stopped being half in each world, passing information to Dumbledore and risking his life every time he met with Voldemort, but he never did. Not once. He kept on fighting for what was right and for Lily. He made sure that Harry got the sword of Gryffindor in time to destroy the Horcrux, and he made sure that Harry knew what he needed to do to defeat Voldemort. Now that is commitment.

Snape didn’t care what others thought of him, because he knew what he was inside – and that was all that mattered.

Illustration of Severus Snape casting his doe Patronus from Read the Magic
Harry Potter to Fantastic Beasts
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