50 Things We Learned From Harry Potter

Don’t Fear The Reaper

The Lesson: Death should not be feared

As Shown By:
The theme of death is one that runs throughout the series. Death has cast a particularly long shadow over Harry’s life, and one of the most important facets of his Hogwarts journey is his gradual realisation that the hereafter is nothing to be feared. Indeed, it’s a fear of death that produces the Hogwarts ghosts, a group of souls too terrified of what comes next to fully pass over. Dumbledore (as ever) sums this theme up best when he says: “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.”

Never Judge A Book…

The Lesson: People are skilled at disguising their inner selves

As Shown By:
Throughout the series, Severus Snape is presented as the villain of the piece, a sneering, embittered bully nursing a poisonous vendetta against Harry. And then in Deathly Hallows , his motivations are revealed to be something else entirely, showing his actions to be born out of love rather than hate. Well, ok there’s still a fair bit of hate in there, but mainly love!

Books And Cleverness

The Lesson: Book smarts can only get you so far.

As Shown By:
Feeling down in the dumps over the mounting expectations being heaped upon him, Harry is given a timely pep talk from Hermione. “You’re a great wizard you know,” she begins, before Harry protests that she’s a better one. “Me!” she exclaims. “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery.”


The Lesson: Michael Gambon is a better Dumbledore than Richard Harris

As Shown By:
A controversial suggestion perhaps, but one that we would stand by. Harris plays up the headmaster’s more eccentric nature, but his Dumbledore is more twinkly old geezer than authoritative man of action. That may be down to the fact that Dumbledore has less to do in the first two films, but there’s no debating the wily vigour Gambon brings to the role. For our money, his performance is the definitive Dumbledore. Although neither of them are as loveable as the man on the page…

Pucker Up

The Lesson: Good things come to those who wait.

As Shown By:
Ron and Hermione finally sharing a passionate kiss in Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 , after seven films worth of squabbling, moping and pretending not to like each other. In Ron Weasley’s case, patience proves to be the ultimate virtue!

Mad, Bad & Dangerous

The Lesson: Nobody does unhinged like Helena Bonham Carter

As Shown By:
Standing out amid a superlatively thespian cast, Helena Bonham Carter truly makes the character of Bellatrix Lestrange her own, playing the feared Death Eater with the sort of wide-eyed mania usually reserved for your average night bus. Voldemort might be the big bad, but when Bellatrix does for Dobby, she very nearly knocks the Dark Lord out of the spotlight….

Double Helpings

The Lesson: Sometimes, the studio knows best.

As Shown By:
When it was first announced that Deathly Hallows would be split into two halves, eyes were rolled, tempers were frayed and the decision was generally denounced as an exercise in money-spinning cynicism. Even Part One did little to change that impression, as attentions occasionally wandered from an action-light instalment. And then Part 2 turned up in all its explosive glory, proving that an attempt to cram Rowling’s epic conclusion into a solitary film would have been folly in the extreme.

Toilet Trader

The Lesson: Be suspicious of strange men lurking in the ladies toilets

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Katie Bell falls foul of this one when she is given a mysterious necklace by Draco Malfoy in the toilets of the Three Broomsticks. The necklace turns out to be cursed, and poor Katie ends up with an nasty dose of agonising pain. Ouch.

Team Effort

The Lesson: Sometimes you can’t make it on your own

As Shown By:
Throughout the saga, Harry continually feels as though he has to face his destiny alone, only for his friends to prove invaluable. One sequence in the first film proves this better than any other, with Ron and Hermione using their respective abilities (chess-playing and logic) to overcome the tasks standing between Harry and the Philosopher’s Stone.

He’s Alive!

The Lesson: You should always double-tap

As Shown By:
Despite having painstakingly restored his power, raised an army of loyal followers and brought Hogwarts to its knees, Voldermort falls foul of the oldest cinematic mistake in the book. When he fires a killing curse at Harry in the depths of the forbidden forest, he doesn’t check to see if he’s really dead. Instead ,he’s happy to take Narcissa’s word for it, and ends up with egg on his face. As Zombieland taught us previously, you should always “double-tap” !

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