Misinterpreting the Themes in “Harry Potter”: Harry’s Wealth
Nowadays, you can come across a statement about the Harry Potter series that will make a point that is understandable from a certain perspective and then makes your blood boil because you’ve realized they’ve probably only watched the films. In doing this seemingly innocent act, they aren’t able to see the true events that happen in the series.
The reason I say this is because recently, there was a tweet that went viral and there’s a need to clear this up, for obvious reasons.
In the films, we see that Harry Potter doesn’t make too much of an effort to share his fortune with the Weasleys, or anyone else for that matter. I’m not going to lie; it makes him look selfish. However, those are the films.
In the book series, there are multiple instances where Harry not only shares his wealth but also makes it obvious that he won’t stand by idly while he knows his friends and loved ones are suffering. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
In the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone film, almost immediately after finding out that Ron Weasley has only squashed sandwiches to eat for the train ride, he takes out his money and without a second thought, orders “the lot” from the trolley witch. In the book, it isn’t clear at first that he planned to share this with Ron, but his intention became clear soon after since he made the offer to trade with Ron.
‘Go on, have a pasty,’ said Harry, who had never had anything to share before or, indeed, anyone to share it with” (SS 102).
‘That lot won’t come cheap,’ said George, with a quick look at his parents. ‘Lockhart’s books are really expensive. . . .’ ‘Well, we’ll manage,’ said Mrs. Weasley” (CoS 44).
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry feels awkward about knowing that he has a fortune in Gringotts and knowing the Weasleys have to spend money on Ginny Weasley’s second-hand school supplies. When Lockhart gives him all of the signed copies for free, he promptly dumps them into Ginny’s cauldron, simply stating, “You have these, I’ll buy my own” CoS 60). He didn’t know how they would feel about him using money on them at this point but wanted to help them in a way he could.
This is an extremely important moment since it sets the tone for the rest of the family’s reactions to receiving Harry’s offers: the Weasleys are a proud, ancient pure-blood family, and because of that, they won’t accept handouts lightly (even the well-intended kind).
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, one of the biggest examples of this is when Harry tried giving his winnings directly to the family. Molly Weasley, with her Gryffindor pride, absolutely refuses. From one point of view, it’s odd not to take the money. From a prideful perspective, which we learned from Chamber, it makes sense that she refuses this outright.
So instead, Harry forces Fred and George Weasley to take it, telling them to create more laughter and creativity in a world that will soon become overrun by darkness. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest times if one only remembers to turn on the light” rings a bell here. He also instructs them to buy Ron some different robes, under the guise of the twins themselves, because he knows Ron would be embarrassed about it if it came from Harry.
Harry is a giver. He always tries to help where he can, even if it’s not money, and he is consistently countered by pride. Understanding their character means knowing that they would’ve refused any help from him (as we’ve seen through the years).
Overall, even if this was meant to be a joke tweet, the Harry Potter series takes this concept of charity and nurturing others seriously multiple times over the years. It ties directly into Rowling’s background while she was writing the books. She’s known as someone who donated so much money to charity that she lost her billionaire status. She created Lumos, most notably, and inspired multiple other charities along with it, which you can find here.
Times may have changed, but the theme that is taught, emphasizing Harry’s true character overall, is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s one that is timely and will transcend years – be kind, be helpful to those you love, and try your best.