What is life without a little risk?

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” In 1997 J.K. Rowling won over the hearts of 23 million followers with the release of the first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Even to this day, I find myself yearning for the nostalgic magic that lies within the cracks of Hogwarts on a rainy Sunday. But it was not until recently that I stopped to ask ‘why?’. (Warning: SPOILERS ALERT)

There is magic within us all

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, a renowned psychologist and professor at the University of Toronto, provides an excellent deconstruction of the series in order to reveal the hidden lessons that J.K. Rowling placed so strategically. Like many stories of the tragic hero, Harry is an orphan and has to live with a muggle family that punishes him for his virtues. Eventually he learns that there is magic within him, making him capable of far more than his current limits, and he escapes their grasp in search of the supernatural. Teenagers often find themselves fighting a similar battle. Our entire lives we are bound by the rules and structure beset before us directed by the authority of our parents. It is not until we go out into the world and see for ourselves what exists behind closed doors that we can truly discover our purpose for existence.

Transcend your state of being

While fighting the basilisk (a monster that lives under the castle) Harry gets bitten, weakening him to a near fatal state. Dumbledore, a god-like figure and magic king of sorts, senses Harry is in trouble and comes to his aid in the form of a phoenix. Though immortal, a phoenix ages until it bursts into flames and is then reborn from the ashes from which it came. Psychologically, human beings function similarly. By determining your flaws as an individual and revising your character based on the lessons set forth by the universe, you have the potential to transcend towards a better state of being. In essence, you must let one part of you die so that something better can take its place.

We all have choices

Throughout all of life’s experiences, we are constantly being tested. Every choice we make has the capacity to either move you closer towards or farther away from where you want to be. We are all capable of causing harm, but true strength lies in the discipline to fight against it. In order to be at peace with yourself, it is imperative that you must face your fears and defeat them one by one. In doing so you will learn just how powerful you are and that you are capable of much more than you could ever imagine. “Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”

Written by GUADS intern Joe with contributions from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *