Love Languages: A “Harry Potter” Character Analysis – Part 1
Romantic relationships may not always be at the forefront of the plot, but love is certainly at the center of the Harry Potter books. Love is the magic that lives in Harry’s blood, making him the Boy Who Lived. It’s also how Lord Voldemort is ultimately defeated. When Harry walks into the Forest, his sacrifice becomes the ultimate act of service, one of the five modes of expression outlined in the New York Times bestseller The Five Love Languages by counseling expert Dr. Gary Chapman.
In his book, Dr. Chapman explains that we can improve our relationships by gaining an understanding of how our brains – and our hearts – are wired. The idea is that if two partners discover and share their respective love languages with each other, they may be more understanding and able to build a stronger foundation for a happy life together. For instance, two people who love spending time together will be highly compatible; however, some people show how much they love others by giving thoughtful gifts while others prefer to put how they feel into words. If two partners have different ways of expressing their feelings, the signals they send might be misinterpreted or not interpreted at all.
While exploring this concept, I found myself comparing the love languages quiz to J.K. Rowling’s Sorting Hat. We all know where the characters in Harry Potter fit into the four Houses at Hogwarts, but where do they fall among the five love languages?
In addition to acts of service, the love languages outlined by Dr. Chapman include receiving gifts (which also encompasses giving gifts), physical touch, quality time, and words of affirmation. Here’s how I “Sorted” Potter characters into the first three of the five love languages; the rest will follow in my next article. For this analysis, I took into consideration both how each character expresses love and admiration as well as the form of affection and comfort they seem to crave most.
Acts of Service
Though Harry wasn’t shown much affection growing up, he has a great capacity for love. He doesn’t need to tell his friends how much he cares about them; his actions speak louder than any words could. By choosing to give up his life for them, he releases a magical force (love), protecting those defending Hogwarts. Because of this act, no one could ever doubt how much he cares for them.
Harry isn’t the only character with this love language. Hermione Granger becomes friends with Harry and Ron Weasley after they save her from a troll, and she kisses Ron after he suggests saving house-elves in the books. She enters a career in magical law because she favors action. Additionally, Albus Dumbledore places a high value on acts of service. He often acts like a sort of puppet master or military general, giving people the chance to prove that they are worthy of his admiration. Finally, Draco Malfoy constantly seeks opportunities to prove his strength and ability to Voldemort, but his actions ultimately reveal his allegiance to the resistance. These characters show rather than tell how much they care.
There’s a widely believed fallacy that Tom Riddle is incapable of love because he was conceived under the effects of a love potion. While this belief is extremely problematic and not canon, it’s true that Voldemort rarely shows fondness in the books. Still, he bestows gifts of gratitude, such as Wormtail’s silver hand. He clearly sees material objects as highly valuable, particularly the items that became his Horcruxes. It stands to reason that his love language is receiving gifts.
Other characters with this love language include house-elves Dobby and Kreacher, both of whom receive gifts from Harry that dramatically increase their loyalty to him (socks and Regulus’s locket). Also, Rubeus Hagrid gives some of the most thoughtful birthday and Christmas presents in the books (e.g., Harry’s photo album and first birthday cake ever). These characters believe that love is shown through the giving of gifts.
For people who have physical touch as their main love language, they express themselves best through body language. Ginny Weasley is one character who comes to mind; she’s an attractive, feisty Quidditch player who attracts the eye of several Hogwarts students and is often seen kissing the boys she dates, like Dean Thomas. On Harry’s 17th birthday, she shows him how she feels by “kissing him as she had never kissed him before” (DH 116). She seems to gravitate toward physical touch.
Ginny may have developed this love language by being raised by her mother. Molly Weasley’s hugs are always described as being warm and powerful, saying so much by saying nothing at all. On the other hand, Lavender Brown takes her physical expression of affection too far with Ron in the sixth book, which brings their hollow relationship to an end.
Want to know which Potter characters show love and admiration through quality time and words of affirmation? Come back next week for part two, and let us know in the comments if you agree with our analyses.