“Harry Potter” Christmases: Halfway out of the Dark – Part 2
We’re diving back into the realm of Harry Potter Christmases! These next three on the list may surprise you since they belong within some of the darkest and gloomiest times of the series – yet that is what makes these little moments all the more important.
3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Christmas is a moment of light in the dark.
Next, we jump to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and find that this Christmas is getting steadily darker. Mr. Weasley is in St. Mungo’s after his close call thanks to Nagini, and Christmas is held at Grimmauld Place, a rather grim setting for Yuletide spirit.
This Christmas is all about thinking about the other people in your life and your community, which we see in the way Remus goes over to the newly bitten werewolf who “had no visitors and was looking rather wistfully at the crowd around Mr. Weasley” (448). Other small random acts of kindness include Harry’s gift from Tonks – a small working model of a Firebolt, in lieu of his confiscated one – and Dobby’s portrait of Harry – a nice thought even if it turned out looking like “a gibbon with two black eyes” (444).
Sirius does his best to make them all feel merry, transforming the house with a large Christmas tree and heaps of magical snow. This Christmas marks one of the last moments of levity and togetherness for Harry and his friends before the year takes a darker turn.
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Stop worrying about yourself and help those around you.
If you’re having a bad year – your least favorite teacher is teaching your favorite subject, your godfather is dead, and your world is on the brink of outright war – then Christmas might not be such a lively and joyful time. And yet in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry manages to bring back a little light into the lives of the people around him, specifically his Dad’s remaining friend – Remus Lupin (Pettigrew does not count).
Remus has been having a particularly rough time. He’s skinnier and shabbier than ever, living with werewolves who mistrust him, shunned by wizardkind, and slowly caving under their prejudiced rhetoric. Oh, and as we find out later, he’s having relationship troubles as well. Yet Harry manages to remind Remus of a happier time, even making him laugh.
‘But you are normal!’ said Harry fiercely. ‘You’ve just got a – a problem -‘
Lupin burst out laughing. ‘Sometimes you remind me a lot of James. He called it my “furry little problem” in company. Many people were under the impression that I owned a badly behaved rabbit'” (314).
Harry also defends Dumbledore when Scrimgeour comes calling, wanting Harry to be the Ministry’s poster boy.
‘Well, it is clear to me that he has done a very good job on you,’ said Scrimgeour, his eyes cold and hard behind his wire-rimmed glasses. ‘Dumbledore’s man through and through, aren’t you Potter?’
‘Yeah, I am,’ said Harry. ‘Glad we straightened that out'” (326).
If that doesn’t hit at the heart of Christmas spirit and standing by and helping those who are under pressure, then I don’t know what does.
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Realize who the most important people are in your life.
The last Christmas in the series is the darkest, the most dismal, and the bleakest. And yet this Christmas is important because it tells us that Christmas is all about hope – hope for a better coming year, hope that you’ll all make it through the winter, hope for those around you.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Christmas Eve is in a turmoil of action and revelations. It’s Harry and Hermione’s ill-fated visit to Godric’s Hollow, yet within all that, there is an important moment of hope. As Harry and Hermione pass Harry’s family home, a memorial sign rises from the ground. The sign itself is also covered with graffiti, little messages and signatures all expressing support for Harry. This must have been a touching gesture for Harry, who’s been effectively cut off from the rest of the wizarding world for many months.
Christmas Day is also the day when Ron Weasley decides to leave Shell Cottage and rejoin his friends. Escaping Snatchers and facing the disappointment of his family and himself, Ron hasn’t had the easiest of times without his friends. Yet on Christmas Day, he hears Hermione call his name from the Deluminator and sets out again, looking for forgiveness and acceptance once more.
Even if you don’t personally celebrate Christmas, you can see that J.K. Rowling uses this holiday to say something about the importance of our ties with each other – between friends, family, and communities. Christmastime in Harry Potter signifies a time to strengthen and celebrate these bonds, ultimately making them little sparks of brightness in a world that faces so much peril. And that is a message we can all take away into our own lives.
So – which is your favorite Harry Potter Christmas? Comment down below and HAVE A VERY HARRY CHRISTMAS!