The Hogwarts Express must have been the scene for many a burgeoning friendship, and we know of at least two sets of best friends who cemented their relationship with sugar. Obviously, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley were one such pair. Ron’s corned beef sandwich was quickly forgotten after Harry nearly cleaned out the Trolley Witch’s supplies, and they were soon bonding over Chocolate Frogs, pumpkin pasties and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans.
Maybe it was this famous example that Scorpius Malfoy’s mother, Astoria, had in mind years later, when she packed her son’s Hogwarts Express bag.
It wasn’t a stupid idea, though. Harry’s first meeting with Scorpius’s father, Draco, was far from sweet, but when their sons met, things were quite different. Because Albus Potter stayed for Scorpius’s sweets, despite his cousin Rose’s best attempts. And that confectionary-filled moment kicked off another eventful relationship.
Just as many Muggles indulge in the odd sugary snack, lots of our favourite wizarding world characters also turned to confectionary and cakes for the occasional pick-me-up.
The most obvious example of this was the use of chocolate to diminish the impact of a Dementor. Professor Lupin initially alerted us to this remedy, and even though we have never experienced an actual Dementor attack, we can still appreciate the feeling Harry got when he ate his slab of chocolate after such an intense experience:
Chocolate wasn’t just a post-Dementor pick-me-up, either. Harry’s friends sent him cake to help him get through the long summer holidays he spent with the Dursleys, Ron and Hermione bought him heaps of Honeydukes sweets when he couldn’t visit Hogsmeade, and when he was attempting to re-grow the 33 bones Professor Lockhart had mistakenly removed from his arm, it was cakes, sweets and pumpkin juice Harry’s friends brought to distract him. Because in such painful situations, fruit won’t cut it.
Regrowing bones might be an extreme example, but many of us turn to our favourite foods when in need of comfort. And there’s something about wizarding world treats that seemed particularly comforting in their sweetness.
Whether it was warming hot Butterbeer, Florean Fortescue’s ice-cream sundaes or second helpings of treacle tart, the treats Harry enjoyed were in such contrast to the mealtimes he spent with the Dursleys that they became part of the whole rich wizarding world tapestry. OK, being a wizard might have cost Harry his family, but it was only in the wizarding world that he finally felt at home – and was there ever anything more comforting than a Hogwarts feast?
From Mrs Weasley’s celebratory dinners to Queenie Goldstein’s apple strudel, many witches and wizards used their talent for creating a sweet treat to show affection. Of course, not everyone had a talent for it – Hagrid’s rock cakes might have been a labour of love, but by all accounts they were pretty laborious to eat – but just as we Muggles show our appreciation by buying a box of chocolates, so too did many of our favourite Wizarding World characters. And sometimes, sweet wrappers were just as good. They were for Neville Longbottom, anyway:
Sweet treats also had an important part to play in celebrating happier moments – like when Fred and George organised an impromptu post-Quidditch feast in the Gryffindor Common Room, and arrived armed with Butterbeer, pumpkin fizz and bags of Honeydukes sweets. Not to mention the many mouthwatering desserts that adorned the tables of actual Hogwarts feasts, or the delicious morsels Mrs Weasley had a knack for supplying seemingly at a moment’s notice. After all, nothing says ‘party’ like birthday cake.
Sometimes, the magical elements of sweets could make us laugh. It was the Weasley twins’ Skiving Snackboxes that really put sugary treats on the wizarding world map (not the Marauder’s Map, to be clear, although we’re pretty sure the Marauders would have approved of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.)
A particular humorous confectionary highlight has to be Dudley Dursley becoming an unwitting guinea pig for Ton-Tongue Toffee. After the whole Hagrid-pig’s tail thing you’d think he’d be a bit wary about picking up something that had dropped out of a wizard’s pocket. But then, like a lot of us, Dudley never could resist a sweet treat.