Last weekend, I finished rereading “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”. It was my third time reading it. In fact, I reread the previous six books beforehand. I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve read the first four. And after I finished reading the seven books, which totaled 4,100 pages, I felt a little disappointed that there wasn’t more to read.

Harry Potter is truly one of my favorite stories. When I was a kid, I remember discovering how awesome reading could be as I followed Harry’s journey through a magical world existing adjacent to our own. With the same sense of wonder and amazement I blazed through JK Rowling’s epic series, impatiently awaited and was astounded by the subsequent eight films, and even dressed up as Harry for Halloween one year.

I’m in no way ashamed to admit that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Indeed, Harry, Ron and Hermione were such a major part of my formative years that I can hardly imagine what childhood could be like without them.

However, now, as a 21 year-old almost-college-educated person, I ask myself: why do I still like this children’s fiction so much?

Well, first off, Rowling wrote a very compelling story. Harry is your typical hero about whom nothing is typical. Orphaned as a baby, he grows up with abusive relatives, and when he turns 11 he finds out he’s a wizard and that there is a whole world of magic neither he nor we have ever heard of. He goes to a school of magic, learns about himself and his family, and makes friends for the first time in his life. Oh, and he’s destined to bring down the same homicidal maniac who murdered his parents, who is also a powerful wizard. What’s not to like?

Action, adventure and justice for the weak were the themes that attracted me and millions of people around the world to the Harry Potter series. Those same themes, I believe, are what keep me engaged years after I first read them.

As I reread the books, I was enthralled time and again by the fact that those who stand on the principles of justice and love for one’s fellow human beings won out in the end. Furthermore, these books reiterated to me what they taught me as a child: that people who are different are not less important than those who appear strongest or think themselves better. Indeed, Rowling taught us that we should accord everyone we meet with respect and dignity and not only will we be reciprocated, but we are also doing the right thing.

At the end of “Goblet of Fire”, following the return of the dark wizard Lord Voldemort, the character Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of the magical school for young witches and wizards, Hogwarts, declares to his students and those from other countries, “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” (Rowling 2000).

I think Dumbledore’s wisdom speaks far beyond the pages of this fictional narrative. I think we can all take a lesson in coexisting with those with whom we disagree, and court one another with the same dignity we would like to receive.