Harry Potter, the bespectacled, green eyed boy with a scarred forehead and lean frame, has a deep connection with many of us. Despite it being 11 years since the last Potter book came, this boy from the wizarding world continues to fascinate us. In Harry’s fight to vanquish Voldemort, those who loved the boy, gave up their lives and it filled him with remorse and guilt. However, what if these characters hadn’t died? Today, when Harry celebrates his 38th birthday, would they share a piece of advice with him? Let’s hear it from Potterheads...
A piece of advice, that I think Sirius Black would give Harry on his 38th birthday, would be to cherish something that Sirius, having spent 12 years of his life as a prisoner of Azkaban, would himself value the most — love and friendship.
Both Harry and Sirius, two scarred people, had troubled relationship. While Harry, an orphan, wasn’t happy with the Dursleys (his maternal aunt and her family), Sirius’ bond with his own family was turbulent too. Sirius didn’t glorify his family’s belief in blood purity and unlike his other family members, was sorted into Gryffindor House instead of Slytherin at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The common thread between the two of them is where Sirius identifies with Harry and his birthday, apart from gifting his fortune to Harry. He would certainly advise him to be sacrificing for his friends — Hermione and Ron, just like he did for Harry’s parents — Lily and James. Sirius would tell him, “It is not always your blood relationships that shower love on you and in the absence of love and warmth from your family, it is your friends who will fill up the gap. I didn’t get love from my family, but I had friends who meant the world to me. Losing your parents is a huge loss, but having friends who aren’t scared of giving up their lives, is the biggest treasures of life that cannot be achieved with magic. Harry, today you are a father and have an extremely beautiful relationship with your children. As a father you can teach them how important friends are in your life and how they should be true friends before becoming good wizards. A magic spell fails you, true friends don’t. Keep your friends close and love them without any conditions.”
— Shabana Galaria, creative writer, Mumbai
The rather weird shape-shifting wizard, professor Remus Lupin, was Harry’s truest mentor who taught him how to fight dementors — the deadliest dark creatures in the wizarding world — with the powerful Patronus charm. Lupin, a werewolf and James Potter’s faithful friend stood like a shield between Harry and any danger that could harm this boy, in fact he died in the Battle of Hogwarts. Nothing would have made Harry happier than seeing Lupin having his own family. If Lupin hadn’t died fighting against the Dark Lord, he would want Harry to be a good father like James, whom he spent his childhood with. “On being a 38-year-old wizard, more than teaching you some wizarding world rules and spells, values on parenthood is what you need Harry. You didn’t have the privilege of knowing your parents as a kid or being brought up by them, but let me tell you, they gave their lives for you, and to save you from Lord Voldemort and that is what being a parent is all about. Be that father/parents whom your kids will idolise, just like you do when you think of your parents. Now that you have the opportunity to raise kids, you must make the most of it — what you didn’t receive as a kid, give all the values, love, care, protection and upbringing to Lily, James and Albus (Harry’s three children) that you always craved for,” says Lupin.
— Akash Banerjee, student,
Troublemakers and pranksters but ingenious entrepreneurs, the twins — George and Fred Weasley — were always a respite for Harry in the most grimmest of situations. They literally saved him from everything and that includes saving him from getting caught by teachers in the school premises. While George lost one ear, Fred lost his life during the Battle of Hogwarts to stand by Harry and goodness. In the bleak world of magic, Fred and George incited hope, capped with laughter through their witty remarks and pranks like those odd assortment of Nosebleed Nougats (a type of sweet made by Fred and George) and Ton-tongue toffees (a rainbow coloured sweet invented by the twins). Once Fred was gone, the duo’s happy charm was broken. However, in another parallel universe, where Fred was alive, he must have continued to bring laughter in Harry’s life, besides teaching his kids some silly pranks. “Don’t take life seriously Harry!” seems like an obvious advice from Fred. While he would ensure that Harry’s birthday celebration was a laugh riot, he could certainly sneak a few moments and tell Harry, “Life isn’t made to brood over what you’ve lost or lamenting on what you could have gained. I know your life and past was scarred, but the present is cheerful and full of positivity. Don’t let the memories of your parents dying and all others who have gone haunt you, because they died so that you could live and you have to justify their sacrifices by living a life of happiness and laughter. Don’t carry the burden of the past on your shoulders, get rid off the baggage and you’ll realise how satisfying humour is to the soul. Laugh everyday Harry!”
— Divyanka Raut, homemaker, Kolkata