10 Life Questions To Consider After Reading Harry Potter
The wonderful thing about the Harry Potter series of books is that it’s not simply a young adults magic-adventure saga. There’s a whole level of subtle sophistication meant for matured readers. For example, the intricate politics between the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Or the extreme discrimination of “muggle-born” wizards by the Death Eaters, which parallels real-life social issues. Hereby are 10 life questions for you to consider after reading the Harry Potter books. Some are introspective, others are downright disturbing. The answers to some might also inject a bit of magic into your daily life, during those moments when you truly need the world to be enchanting again.
1. Which Hogwarts House Would You Be Sorted Into?
If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the four houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Respectively, their key values are courage, perseverance, wit, and ambition.
And so to ask yourself which Hogwarts House you wish to be in, is to determine what you feel to be your greatest strength. Knowing this could be highly useful for many situations, for example, what sort of career would best suit you? A front-line kind of job? Or a back-end administrative one? Conversely, knowing which House you rather die before stepping into indicates the sort of people you are most likely enter into conflict with. Whether to subsequently start avoiding such characters, or to devise some way to co-exist with them, then becomes the next logical question to chew on.
2. Do You Avoid Talking About Things You Fear?
This began as humour in the earlier books. The wizard world insisted on referring to Voldemort as “you-know-who,” instead of using his name. In later books, it was suggested that speaking Voldemort’s name runs the risk of informing him about your whereabouts.
Whichever the case, author J.K. Rowling meant for it to be satire of the popular misbelief that just because you don’t talk about it, a problem can’t affect you. Do you believe in that too? If you do, then it’s high time to reassess your mentality. Problems NEVER go away simply because you keep quiet about them. Instead, they often worsen because you neglected them. To quote Professor Mcgonagall from the final movie, “you might as well use it. He’s going to try to kill you either way.” "It," referring toVoldemort’s name. The same goes for all problems. Acknowledge them. Attend to them. Never pretend they do not exist or are unable to affect you.
In the stories, Dementors were wraith-like beings said to be among the vilest creatures on Earth. Yet, the wizarding world was happy to use them as prison guards, simply because they were great at preventing outbreaks. Do you agree with their decision? Was this also another example of how people tend to ignore threats, if they feel they are immune to those threats?
3. What Would You See in the Mirror of Erised?
The Mirror of Erised (Desire spelt backwards) is a fantastical object featured in the first book. A person gazing into it would see his deepest desire manifest vividly. Albus Dumbledore cautioned that “Men have wasted away before it, not knowing if what they have seen is real, or even possible."
Note Dumbledore’s words “or even possible.” This strongly suggests that the mirror almost always shows things that can never happen. This was author J.K. Rowling’s way of stating that too many people are obsessed with things they can never have or change. And so the real question here is not what you would see in the Mirror of Erised, but what have you been wastefully obsessing over for years? Is it something that would someday turn into an unbearable grudge, something that would destroy you utterly? Quite a depressing question, yes? But the answer to which is also so important. An answer that you should evaluate, embrace, and then decisively put behind you forever.
4. How Would A Boggart Torment You?
This is the most disturbing question for me. It is so because I know what terrifies me most. God knows that I might just pass out if I see that manifests before me.
For you, well, it’s the baby step in confronting your worst fear. Very unpleasant exercise, I agree, but surely you wouldn’t contest the benefits? Naturally, for such benefits to happen, you must be honest with yourself. There’s no point if you substitute your worst fear with something lesser. When you do that, your phobia only worsens. You accomplish no more than to give a “Boggart” a worse way to torment you, the next time one pops up unannounced in your face.
What is a Boggart?!?!
In the Harry Potter Universe, a Boggart is an amortal creature that takes the form of the worst fear of the person it is facing. The prescribed defense against a Boggart is to concentrate on overcoming one's fear, and to imagine the Boggart as something comical or nonsensical.
5. How Would You Summon Your Patronus?
The Patronus Charm is my favourite spell from the entire Harry Potter series. I love it so much I’ve given extensive thought to it. From what my Patronus would resemble, to how I would be summoning it.
You should too. Because this is a guaranteed cheer-you-up for any terrible day. To summon a Patronus, a wizard must focus intensely on his happiest memory. When you do likewise, wouldn’t it make any bad day feel far more bearable? Wouldn’t it also remind you that life isn’t that bad after all, that there were moments when you were genuinely happy? This Patronus Charm question is the most uplifting question in this list, and I strongly recommend anyone to train for it. Yes, train, as in with wand swishing and incantation. Believe me, that increases the potency of this remedy. On top of giving you another reason to break into a laugh afterwards.
The Thrilling Scene of Harry Summoning His First Patronus
6. How Would You Use the Polyjuice Potion?
Polyjuice. The foul tasting liquid that allows a wizard or witch to transform into another person temporarily. It is arguably the most fascinating potion in the Harry Potter series. For who among us has never fantasised about being somebody else?
To put it in another way, how you would use Polyjuice is a combination of questions 1 and 3. It reveals who you dream of becoming and who you crave to be. Needless to say, this shines a harsh light on your dissatisfaction and insecurities about yourself. If you feels this question to be too upsetting, modify it and consider who would want your hair to make Polyjuice. Would you feel better after concluding there are many people out there longing to be you? I bet you would. I’m sure you would.
7. How Would You React If Your Pure-blood Child Marries a Muggle-born?
The thorniest question in this list. Just swap the wizardry terms with racial ones.
How exactly would you react, beyond politically and socially correct responses? Would you truly welcome a person from another community into your inner life? What would be your concerns, if any, and are these at all valid? Considering these questions doesn’t make you a racist or bigot, it’s the first real step towards understanding prejudice. The hope, of course, is that you can emerge enlightened from the exercise. Or at least be able to explain your opinions rationally.
8. Why Did Albus Dumbledore Tolerate Slytherin House?
This is one of the most debated questions among Harry Potter fans. Why did Albus Dumbledore tolerate the continued existence of Slytherin House, when it was a fact that Slytherin House produces the most dark wizards?
Was it blind respect towards tradition?
Or did he do so in order to keep tabs on those with the greatest propensity for evil?
Was it part of his grand scheme towards defeating Voldemort?
Or did Dumbledore accept that darkness can never be vanquished completely, and so it’s better to temper it, rather than attempt to crush it?
In the real world, worse evils than dark wizards exist in abundance. The all important question is therefore how we should react to this harsh reality. Should we go all out to destroy evil at any cost? Or should we strive for a system that can monitor, restrain and prevent evil? Easily the most contentious question in this list, this is a debate that would not end anytime soon. We can only hope that as we stumble towards the solution, we don’t cause too much irreversible damage. We should also never lose our true self in the unending quest to combat evil.
9. If You Have a Time-turner, and Can Only Use It Once, What Would You Change?
In Book 3, Hermione Granger used this miraculous gadget to manage an impossible timetable. In short, it allowed her to travel back in time to attend multiple lessons in the same time slot.
For you, the question is, if you could time travel, what is that one thing you would definitely change? Now, this is not about wallowing in regret, or daydreaming, it’s about facing your past so that you would never long for a Time-Turner. It’s also about accepting limitations. About embracing the hard fact that there’s only so much we could do, even with the best of foresight, and so why harbour any regrets about the past? Note that this theme of moving on is prevalent in the Harry Potter series. (Erised. Letting your decisions, not your birth, define you, etc). Perhaps this was J.K. Rowling’s way of sharing her real life experiences. Had she wallowed in self-pity during her darkest times, she never would have completed the series. Today, she would still be a struggling, unknown writer. Instead of the celebrated maestro she became.
Readers and movie watchers have long questioned why Time-Turners weren't used to erase Voldemort from existence. There's even a HISHE parody on YouTube. This speculation is extensively addressed in the "eighth" story, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
10. What Objects Would You Use for Your Horcruxes?
We are venturing into truly nefarious areas here! Horcruxes are dark artifacts that Voldemort used to achieve immortality. They are made using the most violent act possible. That of murder.
I’m NOT encouraging you to consider murder. Instead, I’m inviting you to contemplate what you would use IF you were to make Horcruxes. In the story, three of Voldy’s Horcruxes were made from famed relics. Another was made using his Pure-blood grandfather’s ring, and yet another from his teenage diary. These not-so-subtly pointed at Voldemort’s pride in the Pure-blood part of his lineage. They were also telltale signs of Voldemort's belief in his own greatness, as well as his extreme arrogance in what he achieved during adolescence.
For you, what would your Horcruxes be? What are the objects you feel to best define you? Knowing the answer could make you a better person because inevitably these objects would point to your worst flaws. At the same time, think about how many Horcruxes you would want. Just one? Or as many as Voldemort did? Unpleasant as this must sound, the more you want, the worse your failings are likely to be. You should then remember what happened to the Dark Lord in the story. By splitting himself into so many Horcruxes, Voldemort hardly made himself undefeatable. The fool actually made himself vulnerable enough for a boy to defeat him.
All Seven Voldemort Horcruxes and Their Destructions
© 2016 Kuan Leong Yong