“Harry Potter” and the Five Love Languages
To put it simply, Harry Potter is a story about love. However, Harry lives without any kind of love during the childhood he can remember. He is raised by the Dursleys who fill his early years with neglect and abuse. Living without any familial love or affection for all those years undoubtedly took its toll on Harry. It’s heartbreaking to think about how alone in the world little Harry must have felt.
Thankfully, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, Hagrid swoops in and introduces him to a whole new world of possibilities. Just as Harry learns how dearly his parents loved him, he learns about the magical world. In this way, love and magic are synonymous. As the wonders and mysteries of magic are revealed to Harry so are the many forms of love.
A few years before Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released, a therapist named Dr. Gary Chapman published a book about love. After years of helping patients build healthy relationships in their lives, Chapman noticed five ways people generally give and receive love. Through seven books and one play, Harry encounters all five love languages and – in turn – learns his own way of communicating love.
Molly Weasley treats Harry as a son almost immediately upon meeting him. While her actions meet the criteria for all of the love languages, she is one of the first people to show Harry affection through physical touch. Living with the Dursleys, Harry was abused and beaten. I’m willing to bet that after Lily and James died, no one gave Harry hugs or any kind of snuggles as a baby, which is heartbreaking to think about. Thank goodness for Molly, who doesn’t shy away from showing her motherly love for Harry.
‘Oh, Harry, it’s lovely to see you!’ she whispered, pulling him into a rib-cracking hug before holding him at arm’s length and examining him critically.” (OotP 61)
Plus, she always makes sure to check that Harry’s eating enough, which he totally deserves after years of being starved by the Dursleys. Again, thank goodness for Molly.
Words of Affirmation
I know, I know. Albus Dumbledore might have struggled to show Harry super consistent love as a mentor. But where Dumbledore might have failed in showing Harry love through actions, he was really great at spouting wisdom that made Harry feel like he had someone to trust.
When Harry struggled to see the good in himself, Dumbledore always helped to reassure him. For example, when Harry was feeling insecure about his place in Gryffindor House, Dumbledore points out that Harry is right where he needs to be, that the sword of Gryffindor wouldn’t present itself to anyone but a true Gryffindor.
When Dumbledore is critically injured while hunting a Horcrux with Harry, he still finds the strength to offer Harry words of encouragement.
‘I am not worried, Harry,’ said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. ‘I am with you.'” (HBP 578)
Sirius got to spend such little time with his godson. While the two couldn’t be together, Sirius found a way to extend a gesture of love for Harry: giving him his beloved Firebolt. Sirius obviously feels a lot of guilt for not being a part of Harry’s life. “Please consider it as thirteen birthdays’ worth of presents from your godfather” (PoA 433). Even though he was living in hiding as a wanted man, Sirius took a big risk to get Harry that broomstick (and got some help from an unlikely friend… Thank you, Crookshanks). It’s clear that Harry feels the most like himself when he’s flying. Sirius’s gift was more than just a flashy new broom; it was an investment in Harry’s passions and talents.
Harry’s life has always been full of pressures and expectations. Ron was the first friend he could truly be himself around. Harry was bullied throughout his childhood and had zero friends while living with the Dursleys. When he met Ron on the Hogwarts Express, Harry got his first opportunity to be a normal kid. Despite recognizing Harry’s fame, Ron doesn’t expect him to be anything other than himself. He teaches Harry about all the fun ways to pass the time in the wizarding world without judgment, and the two end up having a lot in common. Ron is also super helpful in fighting Voldemort, but he’s Harry’s best pal above all other things.
Acts of Service
I would love to see a measurement of how much time Hermione spent trying to fix Harry’s problems for him. Hermione would literally die for Harry and almost does on many occasions. She’s always researching ways to fix Harry’s problems whether that’s making Polyjuice Potion, staying up at all hours of the night to research how to breathe underwater, or ditching her last year of school to help him hunt for Horcruxes. Hermione invests her brilliant book smarts into helping save Harry’s life. My wish is that everyone finds a friend like Hermione in their life.
Of course, this article only skims the surface in outlining examples of love in the Potter books. How else do you see the love languages expressed in Harry’s story?