Today, young adults around the world celebrate. Why? Because today is the birthday of someone who we grew up with and were so influenced by.
In honor of this great day, I’m going to count down five of my favorite Harry moments and why it was so wonderful growing up with him.
5. Harry’s First Quidditch Match
It’s important that Harry was raised in the Muggle world. As the audience surrogate, all of us had to experience the magical world for the first time together. It’s wonderful seeing it through Harry’s eyes but my absolute favorite moment is his first Quidditch match.
It’s exhilarating, nothing like he has ever done before, and he’s good at it. His entire life he was put down by the Dursleys and this moment, surrounded by teammates supporting him and his House below cheering him on, is a truly special moment for Harry. There’s finally a bright future.
4. “No need to call me sir, professor.”
“Do you remember me telling you we are practicing non-verbal spells, Potter?”
“Yes,” said Harry stiffly.
“There’s no need to call me “sir” Professor.”
The words had escaped him before he knew what he was saying.”
There are a few reasons why this is such a great scene. One, it shows Harry’s snarky side, his sarcasm and wit – and reckless bravery to use it against someone in a position of power over him.
However, the context of this scene also says a lot about Harry and why he’s such a great protagonist. He says this to Professor Snape after Snape insults his best friend, Ron, in the middle of class, and suddenly turns his wand on Harry.
Harry instinctively protects himself and then, in a moment of frustration and defiance, speaks his mind. One of the things I didn’t realize about Harry until I got older is why he’s the way he is throughout Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince. It’s a direct response to the attitude of the adults around him. They stress protecting him and how dangerous the times are, but don’t give him the respect he deserves by keeping him informed. Imagine being sixteen with a powerful dark wizard after you and no one’s telling you anything. Yeah, it’d be pretty frustrating.
It shows that Harry’s quick-witted, but also very telling about how he’s feeling.
3. Meeting Sirius Black
All right, I’m a big fan of the Marauders, I’ll admit that. But this moment, at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, is great because of the effect it has on Harry.
Life begins to look up for Harry when he realizes he’s a wizard. He meets Ron and discovers a new family for himself in the Weasleys, he finds a new purpose in his life, and he’s happy.
However, meeting Sirius is a large turning point for him, because Sirius is the first person he feels connected to that had an intimate relationship with his parents. Sirius, as Harry’s godfather, is meant to take care of Harry in Harry’s mind. While it can’t replace the absence of his parents, for the first time Harry feels he has a parental figure who is inherently different from the ones he had known.
Harry sees a new future with Sirius, which is why it’s one of my favorite moments for Harry and why we won’t talk about the end of Order of the Phoenix.
2. Last Task in the Triwizard Tournament
When both Harry and Cedric Diggory reach the end of the maze in the last task of the Triwizard Tournament, they decide to touch the cup together and share the victory.
It is a moment that is telling of both boys, and especially of Harry’s humility, who never asked to be in this tournament but faced it with courage anyway and doesn’t want Cedric, who did want this tournament, to not get the victory he deserves. By sharing it together, they both acknowledge each other’s worthiness and highlight something more important than pride and ego.
Voldemort, of course, takes this moment away from Harry, a moment that should have been one of his best memories, and turns it into a tragedy, but it doesn’t change what the moment still says about Harry.
1. Compassion in the Chamber of Secrets
I couldn’t decide between these two moments and then realized they’re so similar that they can go together!
Harry shows a lot of bravery in the second book but this bravery is rooted in compassion, which is one of my favorite things about him.
The first moment is when he decides to figure out the secret behind the attacks at school and thereby prove Hagrid’s innocence. The relationship between Harry and Hagrid is an important one. Harry has never known anything but love from Hagrid, who was the first to take him away from an abusive home and then watches out for him the rest of the series. Seeing Hagrid taken away by Cornelius Fudge is not easy and so Harry, accompanied by Ron, takes matters into his own hands.
The second moment is at the end of the book when Harry gives Dobby the house-elf a sock – and his freedom. Realizing the abuse Dobby has suffered and that Dobby had only ever been trying to protect him, Harry stands up to Lucius Malfoy and does something that was brave, compassionate, and selfless.
What are some of your favorite Harry moments? Let us know in the comments!