At first glance, the Harry Potter series seems like nothing more than a fantasy world for children complete with magic, witches, wizards, and a cute little boy with glasses. Potterheads know better. J.K. Rowling not only wrote the best-selling book series in history, but she also penned some of the most beautifully poignant quotes we've ever read.
These profound pearls of wisdom transcend the Harry Potter universe and inspire readers everywhere. Narrowing it down was practically impossible, but here are 10 memorable Harry Potter quotes that everyone should live by.
10 Different Types Of Courage
"'There are all kinds of courage,' said Dumbledore, smiling. 'It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.'" –The Philosopher’s Stone
Dumbledore always has some pearls of wisdom at the ready, doesn't he? Standing up to friends is a scary prospect, and at times, it can be more frightening than standing up to a long time enemy. Friends could potentially reject you, make fun of you, or hurt your feelings. It's never easy, which is why Dumbledore aimed this little gem at Neville Longbottom after he bravely prevented Harry, Hermione, and Ron from dueling with Draco (thus giving Gryffindor the 10 points needed to beat Slytherin in the House Cup).
9 Don't Forget To Live
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” –The Philosopher’s Stone
Honestly, this quote is beautiful and simple enough to frame and hang on your wall. Dumbledore dropped this gorgeous piece of advice when he was describing the dangers of the Mirror of Erised to Harry.
Like Dumbledore, Harry is drawn to the mirror due to his painful history and his profound sense of loss. Before moving the mirror for Harry's protection, Dumbledore warns him that the mirror gives "neither knowledge nor truth," and tells him that men have wasted away in front of it. Similarly, don't waste your life dreaming of what could be! As the old saying goes, "a ship in a harbor is safe, but that's not what it's built for!".
8 The Importance Of Choices
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” –Chamber of Secrets
This Dumbledore quote is the reason I am far more proud of my kids' good choices than their academic accomplishments. This particular quote comes after Harry defeatedly confesses to Dumbledore that the Sorting Hat only put him in Gryffindor because he asked not to be a Slytherin. As usual, Dumbledore knows exactly what to say. Life is full of unexpected and sometimes unwanted surprises, but we have a choice in how we deal with pain, loss, discouragement, etc. We can't control the world, but we can control ourselves.
7 Let Yourself Feel
“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” –The Goblet of Fire
I am 100% guilty of avoiding my emotions by distracting myself with humor, food, or "busywork," but this Dumbledore quote is a gentle reminder that none of it will help me in the long run. This quote comes from the chapter "The Parting of the Ways," when Harry is trying to avoid coming to terms with the outcome of the Triwizard Tournament.
In the end, running from painful situations or feelings only prolongs and brings us more pain. Allowing yourself to face and feel your emotions is one of the bravest (and healthiest) things you can do.
6 The Measure Of A Man
“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” –The Goblet of Fire
The most eloquent quotes in Harry Potter usually come from Dumbledore, but this piece of sage advice is given to Hermione and Ron by Sirius Black in regards to the unfair firing of Barty Crouch's house-elf, Winky. This is amazing advice both in and out of Hogwarts, particularly for those who are looking for a relationship. It's easy to be nice to those who have the power to reward you, but how do you treat people who can't give you anything in return? That's the true measure of a human being.
5 Fear Of Death
“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” –The Half-Blood Prince
Oh, you didn't think a children's novel could single-handedly destroy mankind's fear of death with just one little line? You'd be wrong because Harry Potter isn't your average piece of children's literature.
This Dumbledore quote is taken from The Half-Blood Prince, a book that focuses on Voldermort's fear of mortality and also ends in Dumbledore's own death. Wise as ever, Dumbledore reassures Harry that death itself is nothing to be afraid of.
"But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." –Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
This is an absolutely amazing quote delivered by Dumbledore in the Prisoner of Azkaban, but interestingly, it never actually appears in canon. This inspirational line is solely a part of the screenplay, but does it really matter? In context, Dumbledore gives this quote at the first dinner of the school year at Hogwarts to emotionally prepare the students for the dark times that he knows are coming. What a beautiful sentiment.
3 Emotions Are Real
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?” –The Deathly Hallows
This powerful quote is delivered by Dumbledore before the great battle at the end of the series, which is particularly poetic given how real the book series has become to readers all over the world.
A good piece of literature should feel real to you, or what's the point? Books make us laugh, cry, and help us escape from our everyday lives. True magic happens when the lines between a book and reality become blurred.
2 Never Give Up
“It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eliminated.” -Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
This quote is delivered from Dumbledore to Harry, shortly after Harry encounters Voldemort for the second time. Although this quote first appears in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, it actually reappears in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as a memory. With these words, Dumbledore encourages Harry to keep fighting against evil, even if evil cannot be thwarted completely. Similarly, it's important for people to do good in the world and stand up for what's right, even when their efforts seem futile. Our good deeds might seem like drops in the ocean, but even tiny drops can create a ripple effect.
1 Open Hearts
"Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” -Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
This particular Dumbledore quote transcends the Harry Potter universe and speaks right to the heart of humanity, doesn't it? Dumbledore delivers these lines to the students at Hogwarts following the death of Cedric Diggory.
Voldemort's actions inspire distrust and discord amongst the wizarding community, but Dumbledore attempts to bridge the gap created by fear by uniting everyone with open hearts and shared values. Love wins, always.