Why Is Coming Back as a Ghost Such a Bad Thing?

by Mats Furuli

Over the course of the Harry Potter series, we’re told that the wisest sorcerers choose not to come back as ghosts. Maybe this is a sign of a lack of wisdom on my part, but I don’t see exactly why. Sure, there is the part about how it’s only those with unfinished business who choose to do so – but does that have to be a bad thing? I mean, Nearly Headless Nick admits that he came back because he feared death, and Moaning Myrtle came back to haunt her bully until the end of time, both of which aren’t great reasons. But are there good reasons to come back?



It’s presented to us as basically “the coward’s choice,” but what if someone decides to come back for a nobler reason? Like Binns, who chose to come back just to teach kids. I feel like that’s not entirely negative.

Or what if someone chooses to come back just out of love for life? Imagine Fred coming back as a ghost to help George run Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. A joke shop run by a pair of twins, one of whom is a literal ghost? I’d go to that store for sure. It sounds awesome.



What if someone really likes books and just wants to come back to continue reading? That can’t be too bad, right? Hypothetically speaking, I mean (totally not asking for myself here, by the way. Nope.).

Ghosts are unable to interact with the world in a physical sense, and I can see that being a reason why one wouldn’t want to come back. But while you can’t enjoy food, drinks, or any of the other luxuries that come with having a physically intact mortal body, you can still enjoy the company of friends and family. It’s not the same, but I can imagine it being nice and comforting all the same. Though, if ghosts cannot actually interact with the world around them, I suppose I’ve just shattered my dreams of becoming a bookworm ghost in this paragraph. That’s a bummer.

On the topic of ghosts not being able to touch physical objects, though, how is Binns able to grade papers if he cannot physically interact with anything? Does Binns have an assistant that we’ve never heard about? Also, if Binns can’t physically interact with anything, does that mean that he can’t get paid? Now my mind is racing with questions regarding the logistics of having a ghost employee.

To get us back to a more joyful topic (though still technically about death), are there more “positive” and “valid” reasons to come back as a ghost? Reasons that wouldn’t be considered unwise or cowardly? Let me know what you think in the comments!


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