“Yer ticket for Hogwarts,” Hagrid told Harry. “First o’ September—King’s Cross—it’s all on yer ticket.” How often have you imagined yourself attending the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Yes, me too! In this new series, the “Harry Potter Guide” will explore student-related themes. It is September; so, let’s board the Hogwarts Express to discover how Harry handles friendship at a new school this month.
What to Say…
“Are you really Harry Potter?” Ron blurted out. Not every conversation begins with the right words, and too often we find ourselves self-consciously wondering, “Why did I say that?” Never fear, a conversation starter may be as hard for you as it is for the person you are talking to. When in doubt, there is the idea of an “exchange.” Therefore, offer a compliment, ask questions to find a common interest, or better yet, offer a Pumpkin Pasty for a corned beef sandwich. Just remember, it was by chance that the “door of the compartment slid open” and Ron asked Harry, “Anyone sitting there?” You never know when getting to know someone may lead to a lifelong friendship.
Misconceptions of New Friends
Based on his first impression, imagine if Harry had labeled Fred and George as trouble-makers, Neville as forgetful and clumsy, and Hermione as a bossy know-it-all. Then Harry would have missed out on the very people he needed to grow as a person, and have by him in times of trouble.
In this first month of school, you will form connections and first memories with new and old friends. Whom you decide to include in your circle is up to you. We all need friends who make us laugh, keep us out of trouble, and have the intelligence, as the expression states, “to save our lives,” on occasion. As for Harry and Ron’s decision to make a duo a trio and include Hermione, “There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”
Standing Up to a Draco Malfoy
On the train, Harry and Ron are confronted by Draco Malfoy and his friends, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. Draco immediately insults Ron and then tries to persuade Harry that he would be a better friend. And Goyle tries to take something that doesn’t belong to him, namely a Chocolate Frog. Harry and Ron recognize Draco and his friends for who they are, bullies.
How many years does it take Harry and Ron to fully understand Draco? Would you agree, about seven? Throughout the books, there are countless examples of Draco’s animosity toward Harry; however, as readers, we know he is jealous of Harry’s likeability and fame. We also know extensive details about Draco’s life and how his story ends. (Yes, there is great value in analyzing the “Why?” and “What would I do?” in fictitious relationships.)
Before you rule out a potential friend, do not assume you know him or her. But if you have truly met a Malfoy, it is better to gravitate towards kinder friends. Sometimes, it takes classmates years to form an understanding, and not necessarily a friendship, between one another.
Friends Will and Can Say “No” to You!
“Don’t you call me an idiot!” said Neville. “I don’t think you should be breaking any more rules! And you were the one who told me to stand up to people!”
“Yes, but not to us,” said Ron in exasperation.
Friendship is well defined as “individuals who support one another”; however, in the circumstance of Harry, Ron and Hermione breaking obvious school rules to leave Gryffindor tower, this decision puts Neville in a difficult position. Readers applaud Neville’s courage and loyalty in confronting his friends and risking, perhaps, the loss of their friendship. While Hermione wavers, Neville stands firm on his principles.
Always remember, the same qualities we admire in our favorite fictitious characters hold true in real life. Only you can decide whether you will do the right thing or follow your friends. Time and again, Harry and his friends face their fears, prove their bravery, and grow as moral characters and leaders.
Next month, the “Harry Potter Guide” will feature “Needing a Time Turner: Studying Tips and Homework Advice.”