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Coming of Age in the Harry Potter Movies

By Haniya Kashif

Artwork by: Haniya Kashif (grade 11 student)

This digital artwork was created by a student at Bishop Reding to compare the very famous movie series, Harry Potter, to real-world themes, ideas, and issues. It has been “22 years since the release of J.K. Rowling's first novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone” (Crimmins,2020), (and ten since the release of the last book). As the fans continued their journey through the series, they became part of this world. They gained immense knowledge about so many of Rowling's characters. This year has been like none other, and “Although most of us did not face the same situations that the characters in Harry Potter faced, the series' many insights can help guide the readers through their own maturation and the afflictions they face as they grow up in the muggle world” (Crimmins,2020).

The artist chose to symbolize these concepts presented in the poster by using the Harry Potter series because this specific movie series has one of the biggest fan bases across the world and a wide age range of audiences. Many readers can relate to and understand the symbolism represented through the artwork. The artwork also has a great way of showing the coming of age and the revelation of the truth behind the characters. The Harry Potter franchise, there are many characters with many personalities and due to that, “there are [also] many instances of secrets, lies, and withholding the truth in the series; however, these means of concealment are the best insight into revealing the real characters and their essential information. Almost none of the characters are entirely forefront about who they are and have secrets and flaws that the readers and other characters were not informed of. The series, Harry Potter is a coming of age narrative of a young boy who grows to learn and see the world and the people in it, for what they truly are” (Mugglenet, 2012).

The shards of glass around the three main characters created a few symbols because the most controversial characters in the books are stuck in the cracks. The broken shard that Draco Malfoy (the character on the bottom left) is "trapped" in has no cracks going through him. This shows how he comes of age as he grew up to realize what is right and what is wrong, and we also see the truth about how he was always pure at heart. He had grown up with twisted and warped people; therefore, as a kid, he assumed being cruel was normal. He never got the chance to learn between right and wrong; therefore, as he grew up, he was accustomed to doing the same and had no other choice if he wanted to please his parents.

Additionally, the glass around Snape (the character on the top left) is also clear and without any cracks, inciting the thought of how even though he seemed inhuman towards many characters, he was not all bad. In reality, he felt love and did right by protecting Harry Potter since the beginning. Therefore, his "slate" (the glass) is clean.

When it comes to Dumbledore (the character on the top right corner), everyone believed he was righteous and perfect. Still, his piece of glass is shattered, symbolizing how, unlike what we thought, he made some substantial mistakes. He treated Harry as if he were a guinea pig, as he let him go after Voldemort even though he knew Harry would have to die, or even how he may be the one who killed his sister. Each of these symbols has something in common, the revelation of the truth. As the audience watches the characters grow and experience everything they have, they understand how the experiences shape people as they grow and become on the inside.

One of the most significant symbols in this artwork is that Harry's scar is hidden, alluding to the fact that even though he is the chosen one, his real strengths come from his growth, not because he was saved by his parents' love or because of a prophecy. The picture of Harry in the poster is from one of the last movies where he has grown and made mistakes through his journey. Harry learns from his and others' mistakes throughout the series and proves that he is more than just the 'boy who lived.' Harry always had the chance to throw away all his unwanted fame and destiny and live a normal life, but instead, he chose to fight because he loved his family and friends. The fact that he could not have saved everyone without his friends and family's love and support show how even though we are all in control of our destinies, we still need help and support along the way.

By the end of the series, “Harry finally discovers the truth about the people who have helped form him into the mature character he has become; Harry is ready to experience the rest of his life” (Mugglenet, 2012). Muggles and wizards all need to realize that we should not base our decisions on what would please others, instead, establish them on what the right thing to do is, unlike what Draco did. Make decisions while being susceptive to change. This will help you mature into a better person and choose your destiny. We should also “never judge a book by its cover”. For example, all the fans believed Snape was cruel even though he was doing good, just hiding it. The fans also thought Dumbledore was very pure and perfect, even though he had many cracks deep inside.

Love one another and stay strong just like Harry, that is one of the best ways to grow to be a better and more mature person.

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