I’ve lost count of the times I’ve reread the Harry Potter series, but each time feels – forgive my pun – uniquely magical. This December I got wrapped up in the books once again and was living, breathing, and dreaming the world of talking portraits, mail by owls, and – best of all – chocolate for medicine.
This time felt different, though. Maybe it was rereading them as a full fledged, full time working adult. Maybe it was the all consuming-ness of reading ~4,100 pages of fiction in 32 days. But I think it was the time: arriving at the very end of the shitshow that 2017 was for America (and the world), the words on the pages felt strangely poignant, prophetic, and personal.
In light of the current state of our country, it felt like the books were speaking directly to me, directly to this time period. Call me crazy, but by the the fifth book I was ready to put together Obama’s Army (… maybe that’s what all these protests have been about…). Hearing Harry’s name come out of the Goblet of Fire brought the same sense of incredulousness as election night 2016. Umbridge made my skin crawl in the same fashion as does Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Fudge’s blumbering, obsession with power, and lies felt a bit too familiar. Dumbledore’s wisdom spoke straight to my heart. And, at times, straight to the resistance.
It seems JK Rowling has given us the gift that keeps on giving.
It started when I read the first book one night, relishing getting lost in a children’s book, enjoying getting swept back into the joy and wonder of discovering Hogwarts along with Harry, Ron and Hermione. Like any kids book, it has wonderful-yet-straight-forward lessons. Morals that are great, but also should be wide known by now. And yet… the more I read, the more I felt like America needed a little refresh on these obvious truths.
I went on a Twitter rant all about it:
I re-read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone last night, and I think we need to revisit the utter genius of @jk_rowling. UTTER. GENIUS.
— Krysti Wilkinson (@krystiwithakay) November 30, 2017
The pompous, arrogant, bigot is, in fact, a pompous, arrogant, bigot and should be avoided at all costs.
And the smallest acts of bravery, by the meekest of souls, CAN LITERALLY CHANGE EVERYTHING.
(America. Are you paying attention?)
— Krysti Wilkinson (@krystiwithakay) November 30, 2017
As I fell deeper and deeper into the Harry Potter universe, I kept running into advice for the present, words of wisdom for now. I felt encouraged to keep heart, to fight for good above evil even when the fight feels impossible, and to continually choose friendship over everything else.
I felt the need to share these words with others.
And so, without further ado, I give you:
Words for the Resistance,
Words to Survive Trump’s America,
and Words to Remind you of Hope
from JK Rowling
On the election of Donald Trump, Brexit, and 2017 in general:
“The trouble is, humans do have a knack for choosing precisely those things which are worst for them.”
On fear, the alt-right, and “many sides”:
“Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”
On having hard conversations with those closest to us:
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
On technology, government corruption, life in general…
“Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”
On the need to admit when we were wrong:
“The best of us must sometimes eat our words.”
On healthy healing:
“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.”
On Fox Ne- I mean, fake news:
“The Ministry’s leaning heavily on the Daily Prophet not to report any of what they’re calling Dumbledore’s rumor mongering, so most of the Wizarding community are completely unaware anything’s happened, and that makes them easy targets.”
On healthy processing & healthy emotions:
“There is no shame in what you are feeling, Harry.”
On the generation blame game we forever find ourselves in:
“Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.”
On the idea of ‘America First’:
“‘And what would you say, Royal, to those listeners who rely that in these dangerous times, it should be ‘Wizards First’?’
‘I’d say that its one short step from ‘Wizards First’ to ‘Purebloods First’ and then to ‘Death Eaters’. We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.’”
2017 in a nutshell:
“’Listening to the news! Again?’
‘Well, it changes every day, you see,’ said Harry.”
On the world being so much more complicated than black and white thinking:
“Yes, but the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters.”
“If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love.”
On the need for resistance:
“The thing is, it helps when people stand up to them, it gives everyone hope.”
On embracing community, diversity, and unity:
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”
On never losing hope:
“Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.”
If you’ve read any of the Harry Potter books – if you’ve even seen any of the movies – you know that time and time again Harry uses a simple disarming curse to match Voldemort’s killing curse. And in the strangest turn of events, it saves him time and time again and – at the very end – is what ends up finally killing Voldemort. Not Harry resorting to using the Killing Curse, but Voldemort’s spell backfiring on himself. That, to me, is JK Rowling’s version of “When they go low, we go high”.