Where’s the Sisterly Love in the “Potter” Series?
Today is National Sisters Day, a day to honor the female sibling(s) in our lives. Thinking of the relationships between sisters in the Harry Potter series, only a handful come to mind.
Of course, Ginny was a sister to so many brothers. Even Albus Dumbledore once had a younger sister. Of the main characters, however, they were either only children or more likely to have a brother. Granted, it could be argued that Harry and Hermione’s own relationship was that of a brother and a sister (sorry, shippers).
Regardless, the main sisterly relationships within the series aren’t too deeply explored. Naturally, we have Lily and Petunia, despite the strain on their relationship. There were the Black sisters – Andromeda, Bellatrix, and Narcissa. Fleur Delacour had her younger sister, Gabrielle, in Goblet of Fire. Parvati and Padma Patil, twin sisters in different Houses, were interspersed in the stories and attended the Yule Ball with Harry and Ron, respectively. In the movies, the Carrow twins were a part of the Slug Club, but their appearance was short at best. In the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film, Queenie and Tina seem to have primary roles within the story.
These examples seem so scarce, and these are just the ones I can think of immediately. In fact, part of the inspiration for this was because J.K. Rowling once stated in an interview that she had intended to give Hermione a younger sister. How would this have changed the dynamic of the scene when Hermione had to wipe the memories of her family? How would Hermione have been a different person? What would this sister have been like? Would it have been a Lily-Petunia situation of jealousy and hatred?
Since I am someone who has a close relationship with my own sister, I get a bit disappointed at the lack of sisterly love in these books and movies.
Andromeda was cast aside by Bellatrix and Narcissa for marrying a Muggle-born wizard. Petunia held a grudge against her sister that spanned decades, all because Lily was a witch. Parvati and Padma never got enough attention in the series to draw a proper comparison, but the separation in Houses demonstrates that they had fundamentally different values.
Now, Petunia did eventually (somewhat) admit to Harry that losing her sister was much harder than she let on. Bellatrix and Narcissa seemed to garner a strong bond. Fleur loved her little sister so much, Gabrielle was chosen as the thing she would miss the most. Despite Parvati and Padma being separated by House, they still did a lot of things together, such as joining Dumbledore’s Army. Some positives do come from these relationships, but it leaves those of us with sisters maybe feeling a little left out.
My sister, Brittany, and I are two vastly different people. Her features are all dark, but her personality is outgoing, welcoming, giggly. I’m much taller, fair-skinned, light-eyed, and definitely more introverted and shy. Somehow, though, our shared experiences and the way we’re both strange but perfect combinations of our parents makes us the best of friends. The only comparison this brings to mind is actually that of Tina and Queenie, despite knowing so little of them thus far.
My sister never read the Potter series, but she was with me at the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 midnight premiere. She went to Night of a Thousand Wizards with me during Infinitus 2010, where we both reveled in the then-brand new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. She has been supportive of me working for MuggleNet, always saying I’m “so much cooler” than she is (which is such a misguided compliment that I take nonetheless). Even this past January, I got to lead her around the Harry Potter Celebration at Universal Studios where she bought her first bit of butterbeer fudge. Despite not being as big of a Potterhead as I am, she still loves the magic and appreciates that I do, too.
Jo was amazing at crafting realistic relationships, but not once in the series did I get that sisterly feeling that would have been so great to see. Maybe with Fantastic Beasts we’ll finally have that. For now, at least, I’ll scan the books again for signs of something that resembles the true camaraderie I have with my own sister.