We’ve all got a past and we’ve all done things we’re not proud of in life, but luckily it’s never too late to change. James Potter wasn’t always the noble, kind wizard Harry first heard about. Remember, at school he was a bit of a bully with a cringeworthy hair-fluffing habit worthy of Gilderoy Lockhart.
James clearly learned some serious lessons during his last few years at Hogwarts; the importance of friendship and how you need to earn respect and love, to name a few. Harry may have been shocked by the younger version of his father but really, it just shows how much James grew up to become the person he was when he died.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if life was easy and wonderfully straightforward? Sadly, as we saw time and time again throughout the Harry Potter series, it doesn’t always work out that way. There are times when you’ll be faced with a tough choice – doing what’s right or doing what is easy.
Frank and Alice Longbottom, Tonks and Lupin, and Lily and James all stepped up and did what they believed was right, even though it would likely result in their own untimely ends. They did it because they wanted a better future for their children, their friends and their families, even if they weren’t around to see it. Take inspiration from these formidable characters – the things you really want in life won’t be easy and there will be sacrifices along the way, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Lily and James Potter were an excellent example of this. Harry might have had a very romanticised image of his parents and their love story until he took a trip into Professor Snape’s memories. Seeing how his mother wasn’t immediately taken by his arrogant, show-off father, Harry was more than a little shocked and can’t help but wonder how they ended up together.
Lily might not have realised it at first, but as James grew up, she grew to like him. Some of the best, most enduring love stories begin with two people who are at odds with each other. After all, you know what they say – love works in mysterious ways.
It’s easy to get so caught up in life that you forget about the mainstays of family and friends – people that you love the most and that always have your back. Seeing them day-in and day-out can mean you can end up taking them for granted, but take a leaf out of the Weasleys’ book. They might not have had many Galleons to their name but as long as they were together, safely tucked up amidst the cosy chaos of The Burrow, they were happy.
Harry may have had a mountain of gold hidden away in his vault but he would gladly have exchanged that to get his family back – something that Mr and Mrs Weasley recognised straight away, readily treating him like one of their own.
In real life, love isn’t all compliments, heartfelt speeches and ‘Won-Won’ nicknames. For Lupin and Tonks, making the choice to fight was done in the name of love. Mrs Weasley seemed to spend nearly every waking breath berating Fred and George, but it was only because she cared and wanted them to reach their full potential.
Neville’s grandmother was so hard on him that he dreaded her finding out when he didn’t achieve certain grades – but it was her way of showing that she cared and wanted him to do well. It’s worth remembering that sometimes, when our parents seem to be hard on us, they’re doing it for our own good.
Although we may not like it or even realise it at the time, it’s our parents who teach us many of life’s important lessons. Manners, social etiquette, the alphabet: this is all knowledge that can be passed on. But sometimes there are things we have to work out for ourselves, as the Weasleys well know.
Poor Molly was devastated when Voldemort came back and Percy refused to believe it, firmly allying himself with the Ministry. It didn’t matter how much they pleaded with him or tried to get him to see sense – Percy was adamant that he was right. As parents, they knew then that the only thing they could do was to let him go, hoping that he saw sense and came back to them. Percy finally saw the light, of course, but it was a hard lesson to learn and one he wasn’t likely to forget in a hurry.
Xenophilius Lovegood, always quirky and slightly unpredictable, could be relied on for one thing during Voldemort’s second reign of terror – he was firmly on Harry’s side. So much so that he devoted most editions of his magazine, The Quibbler, to the subject and wasn’t exactly quiet in his support.
Unfortunately, this made him a prime target for the Death Eaters and they took the one thing that was most important to him – Luna. Xenophilius was ready to give Harry, Hermione and Ron up to Voldemort if it meant getting Luna back – even though it went against everything he believed in. It just goes to show that even the strongest among us can go down the wrong path if it means protecting the ones we love.