From the Mirror of Erised to the Forest of Dean: The Duality of Dreams and Reality
December is often a time of reflection, as the end of the year approaches with a new one just on the horizon. At the beginning of the year, many people set resolutions for themselves. Whether these happen or not is a result of whether these resolutions remain as dreams or reality.
One is not more wrong than the other; we need both idealists and realists in the world in order to keep balance. The world is not simply what is in your head or what is right in front of you. It is a combination of both your inner world and the outer world in which you interact—or maybe don’t interact. To highlight this, I’d like to speak on two specific scenes from the Harry Potter series that have both happened in December.
The first scene is from Sorcerer’s Stone, in which Harry sits in front of the Mirror of Erised and sees his deepest desire, that being his family, the family he never knew and the family he would never have. As an 11-year-old boy, this heartbreaking scene highlights the dreams that plague us even in our reality: here Harry is now at Hogwarts, away from the Dursleys, but of course he cannot shake off what he has really wanted his whole life and will continue to want in the years to come. Though Harry was too young to truly remember his parents’ death, he will never simply “get over” it. And later, when everything starts to come out, he will never forgive Voldemort for not only tearing apart his own family but also taking the lives of other families. He never lets go of his dreams, but he comes to terms with the reality of them.
Fast forward six years, to the Forest of Dean. Harry, though surrounded by his friends and family—even though they may not be physically present—still has to deal with the reality of not having his parents. Throughout the series, we see Harry change from the 11-year-old boy who wishes he had what others had, to the 17-year-old young man who has had a surrogate family and a support system and still can’t shake that dream he has, to go to Godric’s Hollow, to his parents’ graves, to finally see and know. And this is where his dreams, that he held onto so dearly, become reality. In a way, he finally mourns, what he was not able to do at 11. He mourns that dream, but still he holds it inside of himself, to fuel him in the fight to defeat Voldemort, to keep the family he now has in Ron, Hermione, the Weasleys, Hagrid, Remus, and others, as well as what he once had in Sirius. He is given closure, even if the pain never goes away completely.
So hold onto your dreams. Even later, when they become painful, they are still a reality to keep close to your heart. After all, your inner world is just as important as your outer world. Treat it well and continue to dream: They become reality in one way or another.