Make a Claim on a Theme in one of the Harry Potter Novels and how it Relates to the “Real World”
Harry Porter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the second novel in the Harry Porter series. The novel begins with a scene where Harry Porter, an orphan, is living with the Dursley’s that is his uncle, aunt and his spoilt cousin Dudley. Despite the fact that the Dursley’s are a wealthy family, Porter is made to sleep in a small room under the staircase and is constantly bullied by Dudley. His uncle tries very hard to hide from Harry the fact that he is a wizard because his parents were also wizards. However, Porter discovers he is a wizard and eventually goes to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Yates, 2009). He finds out a lot about his parents while at the school, which quenches his curiosity and longing for the truth about them. He learns that they were killed by Voldemort. Voldemort is an evil wizard who is driven by his greed for power and wealth. In this novel, he tries to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone because of its promise of unlimited life and wealth. However, Porter heroically thwarts his attempts and saves Hogwarts from what would have been an evil reign. One major theme in “Harry Porter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is the theme of humility and it relates to the real world in various ways.
Harry Porter, who is the main character in the novel, displays the character of humility, as he is able to remain humble despite the fact that he has been able to accomplish major feats although he has only been at Hogwarts for a short time. Draco Malfoy displays the very opposite of this character; he is boastful of his achievements and is condescending towards others of his reputable family name. Before Harry Porter is admitted to Hogwarts School, he is just an 11-year-old orphan living with his uncle’s family who bully him constantly because he is an orphan thus has no one to defend him. Perhaps due to this background he is able to remain levelheaded and humble even when he goes to Hogwarts and his circumstances change for the better. While at Hogwarts, he learns that his parents were renowned wizards thus explaining his fame in the wizardry world. Everyone already knows him, as is shown in the train to Hogwarts where people he barely knows call him by his name. This, however, does not make him feel like he is better than the other students are; instead, it makes him think of how he can live up to his family’s reputation.
Throughout the novel, the virtues of humility and modesty are highlighted and applauded. Pride and arrogance on the other is illustrated as a negative value. For instance, Dudley, Harry Porter’s cousin is immodest and arrogant, in return for his ridiculous behavior; the glass window of a boa constrictor at the zoo vanishes, making him and his friend Pier scamper for safety. Porter also falls into immense wealth as his parents were very rich and left this wealth to him. Unlike Draco Malfoy or Dudley, he does not use his wealth to show off or mock people who are not as well off as he was. For instance, in the train to Hogwarts, Dudley is rude to Ron because he comes from a poor family. Porter in contrast befriends Ron and even shares his pastry with him. This shows his humility and kindness towards everyone, those above him and even those below him. Harry’s humility is further illustrated when it is discovered that he has a natural talent in Quidditch, and even goes as far as to break Hogwarts School Quidditch records. This wins him even more popularity and praise but he does not use this to view himself as being better than the other students are. Instead, he practices even more in order to refine his talent. Draco, on the other hand, becomes arrogant about his skill in Quidditch using it to brag and act as if he were more special than the other students were (Rowling, 2001).
The novel aims to show that modesty and humility earns people more repute and favor in life, while pride and greed leads to people’s downfall. A clear illustration of this is seen where Harry manages to get the Sorcerer’s Stone by defeating the feared evil wizard Voldemort. If he were not humble, the Mirror of Erised would have shown that his desires were insincere and he would not have been able to get the Sorcerer’s Stone. His main intentions for getting the Stone would have been to get the unlimited wealth and life that it promised. Instead, he wanted to get the Sorcerer’s Stone in for the benefit of the entire wizardry community.
Despite the fact that Harry Porter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a fictional story, the theme of the value of humility that is contained in the novel can also be translated and applied in the real world. Humility and modesty are very important virtues in everyone’s day-to-day life. This means that despite one’s achievements or status in the society they should not place themselves above other people or treat others as if they were lower than they were. It is important to understand that in life, everyone has an important role to play; therefore, it is not wise to discriminate people based on their wealth, family background or achievements. For instance, in the novel, Draco is insulting to Ron’s poverty and therefore cannot see anything of value in him because he comes from a different background. However, Harry befriends Ron and they soon become best friends. Ron is adept at chess; therefore, he leads Hermione and Harry in a game of chess that eventually enables them to gain entry into the room that contains the Sorcerer’s Stone (Nel, 2001). This is a lesson that we should not despise others because at one point or another they might help us to accomplish something; everyone has a contribution that they can make in our lives.
The novel also emphasizes the fact that good things happen to humble people who have pure intentions at heart. This is shown throughout the book; humble people such as Ron and Harry have better opportunities and success that the immodest people such as Dudley and Draco. For instance, Gryffindor wins the house cup beating Slytherin whose members are boastful and arrogant. This can be related to the real world where modesty and good intentions propel one to greater heights whereas pride and arrogance only lead to downfall and eventual humiliation. For example, if there are two individuals, both become immensely successful and popular but their reaction to the sudden success and fame is different for both of them. The first one remains grounded and modest, and has no disdain for other people. The second one however, becomes proud and arrogant and refuses to socialize with people who are less successful than he is. In the end people might get offended by his attitude and therefore leave him alone. One cannot be successful by himself and therefore when his success begins to dwindle he will have no one to help him reclaim his former glory. The humble person will become even more successful as he is able to win the support and approval of those around him ( Kronzek & Kronzek, 2004).
In the “real world”, it is easy to make accomplishments and be successful in a few areas but the hardest thing is to retain the success and continue making achievements. This is caused by the fact that it is difficult to remain humble and levelheaded while there are people applauding you and one’s fame begins to soar. In Harry Porter, during the Quidditch match, when Harry catches the Golden Snitch within the first five minutes of the game he does not allow himself to bask in the applause and glory of his accomplishments. Rather he continues to practice even more in order to be able to play the same way next time and score more points for Gryffindor. If he was not humble, his first success would have made him lax and arrogant such that he would not have practiced, hence his talent would eventually diminish. This example is applicable in the real world where it is easy to feel that one can rest on his past successes. A humble attitude helps one realize that past success should only be a motivating force for one to work harder in order to accomplish even more. Hence, humility has positive results if applied well to one’s everyday life and interaction with people.
Kronzek, A. Z., & Kronzek, E. The Sorcerer’s Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter. New York, NY: Broadway Books, 2004. Print.
Nel, P. Rowling’s Harry Potter Novels: A Reader’s Guide Continuum Contemporaries. New York, NY: Continuum, 2001. Print.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Volume 1. London, UK: Bloomsbury, 2001. Print.
Yates, David. Dir. Harry Potter: Film Series. Warner Bros, 2001-2011. Film.