We can’t all have it as easy as Queenie and Jacob; being a Legilimens would really come in handy when trying to work out how someone feels about you. But for most of our love-struck characters, mindreading just isn’t an option and they have to pluck up the courage to say how they feel. And it isn’t always easy.
Poor Harry waited so long to ask Cho Chang to the Yule Ball that Hermione could have brewed three batches of Polyjuice Potion by the time he got his act together. But although Cho turned him down faster than you can say Quidditch, there’s a good lesson here in getting your feelings out in the open.
Sometimes actually finding the right words to express how you feel is the problem. Nobody struggled more with this than Newt Scamander, who found it impossible to tell Tina he liked her without comparing her eyes to those of a salamander. Although we wouldn’t necessarily recommend comparing your crush to a magical beast, or indeed screaming in their face like an overexcited Mandrake – oh Ron. The way you express your feelings tells the other person something about who you are, and it’s important to be yourself.
Scorpius Malfoy found it even harder to ask out Rose Granger-Weasley, but he taught us an important lesson about positivity when she turned him down: ‘But I asked her. I planted the acorn. The acorn that will grow into our eventual marriage.’ Bless him. Hopefully he’s got more of a chance in the future than Harry and Moaning Myrtle.
A final word on the first step: if you’re not as optimistic as Scorpius and wish you could Obliviate all memory of your confession, take comfort in the fact that at least you have been true to yourself.
On the path to romance, it’s important to remember that looks and personality don’t always align. Hermione ¬– blinded by Gilderoy Lockhart’s good looks –couldn’t see past his wavy blond hair and bright blue eyes to accept that he might not be the wizard he claimed to be in his books. The Veela at the Quidditch World Cup were perhaps the best warning that looks aren’t everything. One moment they were beyond beautiful, and the next they turned into terrifying creatures with ‘cruel-beaked bird heads, and long, scaly wings’. Mr Weasley had some particularly wise words for Harry and Ron once their true natures were revealed: ‘And that boys is why you should never go for looks alone.’ Quite.
James Potter and Lily Evans taught us a slightly different lesson: personalities can improve over time. Harry was horrified when he witnessed his father being ¬– as Lily put it – ‘an arrogant toerag’ in Snape’s memory. Despite his Quidditch player kudos and constantly rumpled hair, Lily declared to him: ‘I wouldn’t go out with you if it was a choice between you and the giant squid.’ Lily set us a good example when it comes to choosing someone for looks as well as personality: she waited until the seventh year to date James – once he was mature enough for her.
This isn’t to say that looks and personality can’t go together. Save for a slight blip in the Triwizard maze, Viktor Krum was a genuinely lovely young wizard despite his brooding looks being worshipped by witches everywhere. And then there’s Fleur Delacour. The moment when Mrs Weasley assumed Fleur wouldn’t want to marry Bill anymore, after he’d been bitten by Greyback, warmed our hearts: ‘What do I care how ’e looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk!’ The wizarding world teaches us not to jump to conclusions about personality, until we really get to know someone.
Whether you like someone from afar, you’ve just started dating, or you’ve been married for years, romantic gift-giving can be tricky. And never was there a day more fraught with these difficulties than Valentine’s Day, as many of our favourite wizarding characters found out. But what can their blunders teach us?
We can safely say that embarrassing public moments are certainly worth avoiding. Harry’s singing Valentine from a particularly aggressive dwarf doesn’t go well for him or Ginny. Then again, we’d probably also avoid telling someone their ‘eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad’ or telling them their ‘hair is as dark as a blackboard,’ as well.
Harry and Cho’s disastrous date was also made much worse by its location at the very public Madam Puddifoot’s. But it has something else to teach us about Valentine’s Day generally: it’s a day that makes it very easy to compare your relationship to others. Roger Davies and his girlfriend snogging at the table next to Harry and Cho’s, pressured Harry into feeling he should be behaving differently. But the truth is, if he’d just stuck to topics he’d felt comfortable with when spending time with Cho, the date might have gone a lot better.
There is no shortage of unrequited love in the wizarding world, and the heart-broken characters have much to teach us. One lesson is that loving someone who doesn’t love you back isn’t something you should bottle up. In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt was still upset about how things ended with Leta Lestrange. However, Queenie was the only one who found out about her, saying ‘people are easiest to read when they’re hurting,’ because Newt was hiding his feelings. But it’s not just difficult emotionally when you pine for someone: it can affect you physically. When Remus continued to reject Tonks, she ‘…looked terrible; thinner than usual, her mouse-coloured hair lank,’ and she also lost the ability to shift her appearance.
Remus eventually came around, but some love stories are never meant to be and that can be tough for the person who can’t move on. Just look at Snape’s enduring love for Lily. Was there ever a more heart-breaking exchange than Snape and Dumbledore’s in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: ‘After all this time?’ ‘Always.’ Through love potions, the wizarding world also teaches us something important: you can’t force true love – just look at Merope Gaunt or Romilda Vane’s efforts. Instead of dreaming about love potions, it might be better to make some tea – as Ron says, ‘that’s what my mum does whenever someone’s upset,’ and eat mountains of Chocolate Frogs while reading about Cheering Charms. If Vernon and Petunia found each other, there’s hope for us all.
So you like someone, and they like you back and everything is as perfect as the Hogwarts grounds in sunshine. Then other people start finding about your new relationship: your friends, your family, your exes… What wisdom does the wizarding world have for us when our relationship goes public?
Prepare for people to have lots of opinions. Remember all the Weasley resistance to Bill and Fleur? Ginny kept calling Fleur, ‘Phlegm’, and hoped that Bill would decide to marry Tonks instead. And Mrs Weasley wasn’t at all keen on her to start with, either. Fred, George and Ron had plenty to say about Ginny’s love life too. Although of course, it’s important to respect other people’s well-meaning opinions, we think that on the whole Ginny had the right idea when she told Fred it was none of his business.
At the end of the day, people with the emotional range of a teaspoon may be insensitive and nosy, but if you’re happy with your new beau, you might not mind. As Harry found when he finally got together with Ginny: ‘it made a very nice change to be talked about because of something that was making him happier than he could remember being for a very long time, rather than because he had been involved in horrific scenes of Dark magic.’
When everything’s going right, it’s easy to see your life through rose-tinted Spectrespecs. But every relationship has its ups and downs ¬– even for our favourite Wizarding World couples. Do you remember how angry Mrs Weasley was with her husband when she found out about his flying car? Or about his Muggle stitches in St Mungo’s? And Mr Weasley was never much of a fan of Celestina Warbeck. But despite their differences, they can teach us an important lesson – compromise. Mrs Weasley put up with her husband’s plug collection, just as Mr Weasley pretended to enjoy ‘A Cauldron Full of Hot Strong Love.’
Sometimes it is external forces that put pressure on your relationship, rather than internal ones. Jacob and Queenie seemed to be made for each other right from day one, but their disagreement over Rappaport’s Law caused a rift between them. In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Harry and Ginny found that their struggles with their son, Albus, put pressure on their own relationship. And of course, back when they were younger, Harry had to make the difficult choice to break things off with Ginny, so he didn’t put her in danger whilst trying to defeat Lord Voldemort.
But what can we learn from how our favourite characters faced difficult times? Unlike Ron avoiding a difficult conversation with Lavender, we think that talking to each other and being open about your feelings and fears would be a good place to start.
We’re all out of wisdom for now, but remember, if all else fails: ‘there are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.’ On second thoughts, it might be better to stick to a Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks.
Has the Wizarding World ever helped your love life? We’d love to hear about it! @WizardingWorld #wizardingwisdom