The Harry Potter series has sold millions of copies and has been translated into over fifty different languages.
The seven books were made into eight record-breaking films, and have also yielded several spinoffs.
It’s been nearly twenty years since the first book was published, and the Harry Potter craze is as strong as ever. With new theme parks and set tours, we can experience the magic of Harry Potter for years to come.
Even though they’re considered to be children’s books, readers of all ages enjoy this series. Perhaps the reason why these novels have remained so influential is because of the wisdom injected into each book. J.K. Rowling’s characters teach readers valuable life lessons, and give advice that stick with readers forever.
We’ve compiled some of the greatest Harry Potter quotes from the series that will make you think. The topics range from fear, to friendship, and even deal with death.
Whether you read the books for the comfort of familiar friends or to take in the message, these words have the power to inspire and create magic in your own life.
1. On Making Decisions
It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. ~ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
In this quote, Dumbledore is teaching Harry that he doesn’t have to be a powerful wizard to have a big impact. The same can be said about Muggles! No matter your skill set, everyone is capable of making choices. Voldemort was a powerful wizard, but made poor choices that marked him as evil ultimately led to his demise. Harry was an average wizard and chose to do good in the world, and others followed him. You don’t need any special talents to do good in the world. All you need to do is make that choice.
2. On Standing Up To Our Friends
It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. ~ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
It’s important to stand up to injustice in the world, but what do you do if the unjust words or actions are coming from a friend? It can be difficult to stand up to someone you admire and respect, but that doesn’t mean you should stand quietly and ignore the wrong you’re observing. Be brave like Neville Longbottom standing up for what is right, even if others don’t see things from your perspective. It may cause a rift between friends, but if they’re a real friend, they’ll understand where you’re coming from.
3. On Thinking For Oneself
Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain. ~ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
You might not be in the unique position where a possessed diary is giving you directions, but these wise words from Mr. Weasley can apply to our lives where sources of information are so readily available. Never be afraid to challenge the validity of something you’ve read or heard. Not everything should be assumed to be fact, just because it’s written in print. If you don’t trust the source, go ahead and dig a little deeper, until you’re sure you have something reliable to trust.
4. On Good and Evil
We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are. ~ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
These words from Sirius Black stress the point that our actions say more about us than what’s inside our minds. We are complex beings with a range of different thoughts and feelings, and sometimes our feelings overpower our rational selves. The way we choose to act in tough or stressful situations says everything about us. You might find yourself upset at someone, and even thought part of you wants to cause them harm, you can still choose to respond with kindness. Others will take notice, and know you to be a kind person.
5. On Loss
Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect. ~ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Everyone has experienced loss at one time or another. Whether this loss comes in the form of a family member’s death or a breakup, it can be painful. This quote from Luna Lovegood shows an optimistic way to look at loss. Just because something is lost, doesn’t mean that it won’t continue to have a lasting impact on your life. This can come in the form of good memories or advice that someone has told you, or a very valuable life lesson learned after parting ways with someone. Loss can be tough, but don’t forget to look for the positive impact it has in shaping who you are.
6. On Fear Of The Unknown
It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more. ~ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
The fear of the unknown can often times be scarier than tangible fears For instance, if you find yourself afraid of the dark, it’s not necessarily the dark you’re afraid of, but what could potentially be lurking in the darkness. But, for all you know, there’s nothing in the dark to be afraid of. Life is full of unknowns, which can be scary, but if you’re too afraid to venture into unknown territory, you may never discover the treasures hidden in the shadows.
7. On Finding Light In Darkness
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
Once again, Albus Dumbledore gives sage advice to his students. Even when it seems like everything is going wrong at Hogwarts, the headmaster urges the students to have hope that things will get better, and to be the change themselves. In tough times, it can seem like there is nothing you can do to pull yourself out of a slump. When this happens, remember that things can get better, especially when you work towards improving your situation or mindset. When others around you are down, be the light that pulls them out of a dark place.
8. On Finding Yourself
You’re a wizard, Harry. ~ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
When Hagrid visited Harry on his eleventh birthday, it only took a few words to change Harry’s life forever. Being told he was a wizard not only gave him an identity, but unlocked hidden potential that he never knew he had. We all have the potential to become something great, but have you discovered what your potential is? Maybe there’s a new skill you want to learn or some part of your identity that you keep hidden. There’s something inside of you that makes you great. It’s time to discover it!
9. On Overcoming Obstacles
You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve. ~ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Ginny Weasley’s thoughts on her twin brothers are a good way to think about obstacles in your path to achieving what you desire. Everyone knows that Fred and George don’t let silly obstacles like school rules get in the way of starting up a successful business. If there’s something in your life that you want to achieve, don’t let the fear of failure stop you. If you want something enough, you’ll always find a way to make your dreams into reality.
10. On Empathy
Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have. ~ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Hermione’s words to Ron are a good reminder to think about how others may be feeling. While Ron can’t even fathom the emotions running through a teenage girl’s mind, Hermione can empathize with Cho Chang, and understand how she feels. Even if you aren’t an emotional person yourself, it’s always good to practice empathy with others, so you can be sensitive to their emotional needs. Show a friend you understand their situation, and you’ll show them that you care.
11. On Self-Worth
Really Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I’m afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time. ~ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Sometimes, you worry about what others think of you, and it can hold you back from being yourself. Not everyone will understand or appreciate you, but that’s okay! If Hagrid chose to stay in his cabin because of a few people who didn’t appreciate him, then he would never get to enjoy life with those who loved him. Never let the fear of what others may think about you prevent you from living your best life.
12. On Death
To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. ~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Death can be scary to think about, but at some point in our lives, we will have to face our own mortality. But, Dumbledore’s thoughts on death can give us comfort in sad times. The fear of death is a lot like the fear of the dark. It’s scary to not know what is on the other side. A belief that there’s great adventure after death can reassure us that death is not the final chapter.
13. On Treating Others With Respect
If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals. ~ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
When Hermione witnesses Barty Crouch’s mistreatment of his house elf, Ron tells her not to be upset, but Sirius defends Hermione’s assessment of the man. Anyone can put on a façade when dealing with important people to appear like they are respectful, but how do you act when no one is watching? According to Sirius, everyone deserves the same level of respect, regardless of their position in life. People will take notice of how you treat others, and it can have a big impact on your reputation, for better or worse.
14. On Envy
Greatness inspires envy, envy engenders spite, spite spawns lies. ~ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
This quote shows how jealousy towards others can start a chain reaction. When we notice greatness in another, it can often lead to envy. Left unchecked, this envy can cause us to wish bad things upon the person who shows greatness. If the bad feelings get out of hand, we may even start telling lies to tear someone down. When you encounter someone great, think about how you respond to their greatness. Do you respond in admiration, or do you look for ways to tear them down?
15. On Choosing Friends
We can’t choose our fate, but we can choose others. Be careful in knowing that. ~ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
We may not be able to choose what happens in life, but we can choose who we can spend our time with. Imagine how different Harry would have turned out if he had befriended Draco Malfoy on the first day of school instead of Ron Weasley. The people we spend time with can have a major impact on our lives. Choose to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and rid yourself of toxic relationships.
16. On Potential
You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be! ~ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
This quote comes from Dumbledore when he defends witches and wizards who don’t come from pureblood families. Here, he’s saying that just because someone grows up with meagre means, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable of greatness. For example, Draco came from a rich, pureblood family, yet his privilege didn’t get him very far in life. Hermione, on the other hand, had Muggle parents, but still turned out to be a brilliant witch. No matter where you started, you have the ability to become someone incredible.
17. On Friendship
There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other. ~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry and Ron weren’t very fond of Hermione when they started school at Hogwarts, but once they took on the troll together, they quickly became friends for life. Often times, friendships are founded by shared interests and experiences. Overcoming adversity with someone is a sure-fire way to form a close bond with another person. A good friend by your side can help you feel like you can accomplish anything, like even battling a giant mountain troll. We’ve written up more quotes about best friends.
18. On Admitting Fault
People find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right. ~ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
It’s hard to admit fault. When Percy Weasley abandoned his family to support a corrupt government, it probably didn’t take him long to realize that he had made a huge mistake. However, his sense of pride kept him from coming back to his family immediately. When you discover you’re wrong about something, do you admit it immediately? When someone else is wrong and you’re right, it’s easy to accept their apology. When you’re the one in the wrong, it can be hard to come to terms with it.
19. On Teamwork
We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. ~ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
In the Harry Potter series, there are many times where teamwork is more effective than working alone. Dumbledore knew that fighting Voldemort and the Death Eaters was no easy task, so he inspired others to get together to fight for good. By the end of the series, magical beings of different species had banded together to take down the dark wizard. When working towards a common goal, people are much stronger when they use teamwork as opposed to working by one’s self.
20. On Curiosity
Curiosity is not a sin…but we should exercise caution with our curiosity. ~ Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
When Harry discovers Dumbledore’s Pensieve in his office, he can’t help but take a look inside. When Dumbledore find his looking through his memories, he tells Harry that it’s okay to be curious, but he should be careful about what his curiosity leads him to do. Curiosity, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. But, before giving into your curiosity, consider what effect your actions will have on yourself and others around you.
21. On Making Decisions
The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed. ~ Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
Prophecies are a large part of the Harry Potter series and the prophecies made years ago provide motivation for many characters. When Harry and Hermione go back in time to save Sirius, small decisions have massive consequences. The same can be said for anyone’s story. When making a decision, think about the larger consequences of your actions. It can be hard to know what the future will be like, when there are so many small decisions that make up a larger picture.
22. On Facing Fears
Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself. ~ Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone
In the wizarding world, Voldemort’s name is rarely uttered, as the name brings terrible acts to mind. When Harry is unsure whether to say Voldemort of You-Know-Who, Dumbledore urges him to use the name. By saying the name of the person they fear, they say what he really is, just another wizard. When you’re feeling frightened, don’t make your fear bigger than it really is. Calling your fear by its name helps put you on equal footing, giving you a better chance to defeat it.
And The Last Of The Harry Potter Quotes… 23. On The Harry Potter Phenomenon
Being in Harry Potter is like being in the Mafia. Once you are in, you are never really out. ~ Daniel Radcliffe
The Harry Potter actor’s description of the series says a lot about the impact it has had on fans. The shared love of the books and movies stretches across all ages, genders, and cultures. Once you fall in love with the story, you’re a fan for life. Even friendships are made and strengthened from a shared interest of Harry Potter. This story has touched millions of people’s lives and continues to have a lasting impact, long after the story ends.