The Orphan, the Bookworm and the Ginger: On Why We Need Each Other

First, can we just pause and savor the cuteness? “Not me, not Hermione, YOU!” I’ve probably watched this scene 100 times. But I digress.

Wizard’s chess is undoubtedly my favorite scene from “Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone”, possibly because I consider it Ron’s breakout moment (and he is my favorite Weasley).  But what I love about its book chapter, titled “Through the Trapdoor” is that it highlights the importance of friends and why we need each other to get through, well, just about anything.

Through the chapter, as the trio proceeds through several dangerous challenges, we witness how Hermione’s bookwormish, know-it-all nature safely gets Harry through the potions challenge (which could have left him drinking a deadly poison), Ron, who rarely gets praised for his intelligence, brilliantly and bravely navigates them through the Wizard’s chess board, ultimately sacrificing himself, and Harry faces down the evil Lord Voldemort for the first time.

I highly doubt if three Hermiones, three Rons or even three Harrys could have gotten through the whole challenge together.  The trio are all different from one another and often these differences serve as mere annoyances. But in their differences also lie their strength.

Harry, no doubt, has had the heaviest burden laid upon him, but he never has to go through it alone, though that’s not to say he doesn’t try. At times Harry intentionally  holds information back from Ron and Hermione or goes off on his own in an attempt to prevent his friends from being hurt, only to get himself into trouble. Other times one member of the trio will be so annoyed with another (usually Ron and Hermione) that they distance themselves from each other. And here they are their weakest.

One of the things I appreciate most about the way J.K. Rowling wrote the students at Hogwarts is that even the more minor characters each have their role to play. In addition to the trio you have Ginny (strong, quick witted and outspoken) who will speak up whenever necessary, regardless of the consequences, you have Luna whose whimsical, quirky personality always breaks up the mood when things are getting a bit too serious, Fred and George Weasley’s jokester presence is critical, especially as the books progressively darker and of course Seamus is always good anytime you need an explosion or two.  Not to forget precious Neville Longbottom whose story arch is so powerful that I’ve decided to dedicate my next post entirely to him.

In my own circle of friends I have outspoken leaders, behind the scenes planners, book smart and street smart, brash and kind, peacemakers and instigators. I have extraverts and introverts, analyticals and intuitives.  None are better or worse then the other. But they all bring something different to the table. And no one, including myself, is made up of all of these qualities.

The bottom line is we need each other.  Our differences may be annoying at times, they may provoke quarrels and may disrupt the peace, but they keep things interesting, alive and fun. And when the going gets tough, as it often does, I’d much rather have my quirky cast of friends around me then go it alone, or even make the journey with a bunch of people just like me. No, that doesn’t sound like a very good story at all.

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