the story, the beauty, and the magic of harry potter
Harry Potter Off Camera: Growing Up
When James and Lily were killed by Voldemort, Harry Potter’s life took a dramatic turn in more ways than one. Most important for him was that, at just fifteen months old, he was shipped off to a horrible upbringing at the hands of the Dursleys. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, his eventual friends were also growing up all over Britain – themselves with experiences all over the map. Here’s a look at their lives, pre-Hogwarts.
Of course, before we even get to Harry, it’s interesting to reflect on what Lily’s death must have meant for Petunia. A sister who she had clearly once loved, but was never able to get over her jealousy toward, was suddenly gone – with her son a daily reminder in Petunia’s life. Surely her bitterness was tinged with *some* sadness and regret?
“Oh, she got a letter just like that and disappeared off to that – that school…. I was the only one who saw her for what she was – a freak!” (PS4)
Meanwhile, in another part of the country, a little boy was growing up whose fate was intertwined with Harry’s – Neville Longbottom. He too grew up an orphan, his parents having been tortured to insanity by Voldemort’s followers.
“I believe Neville visits them, with his grandmother, during the holidays. They do not recognize him.” (GF30)
Meanwhile, there was Ron – another classmate of Harry’s – and the Weasley family, growing up with seven kids. Life wasn’t perfect, but the children in this household unmistakably knew they were cared for and loved.
But Harry, grinning widely, said, “This is the best house I’ve ever been in.” (CS3)
The contrast among these kids – and their hopes, wishes, aspirations, and dreams – was incredible.
(Quotes from the drawing: “I dream of a world where magic is real;” “I dream of winning the Quidditch world cup… for the Canons;” & “I dream of a man, riding a flying motorbike, taking me far away from here”)
But deep down, it’s nice to think that each of them somehow knew what their lives might one day become. Perhaps even the types of lives that history books would one day be written about. All they needed first was that magical letter….
Sometimes, when he strained his memory during long hours in his cupboard, [Harry] came up with a strange vision…. (PS2)