When you’re living under the stairs, with the Dursley’s as your only family, life can sure feel like hell. Add in a magic school, a few spells and a make-believe family of friends and there you have it, a life worth living!
All that yet doesn’t change the fact that Harry Potter, our own ‘boy who lived’, didn’t have an actual family. He, sadly, was an orphan. A fact that is brought forth over and over throughout the series. But Harry made it through, not just by killing Voldemort, but also by becoming an inspiration for wizards and muggles alike.
So how did that happen? You can’t Accio Luck now, can you? Nor can you bring back the dead. But you can however make the best of what you have, just like Harry did. So who were these people that made Harry the lost boy into the man we all know?
It began with:
“You’re a wizard, Harry.”
“I’m a what?”
“A wizard, o’ course,” said Hagrid, sitting back down on the sofa, which groaned and sank even lower,
“an’ a thumpin’ good’un I’d say, once yeh’ve been trained up a bit. With a mum an’ dad like yours, what else would yeh be?”
It may come as no surprise to anyone, that this scene is the first time Harry hears about his family, about his magical roots and about Hogwarts. The one delivering the news is none other than Hagrid, someone Dumbledore trusted with his life.
Hagrid, the half-giant with Fluffy and an army of exotic animals, would not ideally fit into the father figure role. He however, surpasses all our expectations the second Dudley spots a hideous tail and it keeps getting interesting.
Hagrid is the one person Harry trusts, so much so that not one book goes without Harry along with Ron and Hermione sneaking off the school grounds to see him. He is the person Harry runs to when he needs answers (‘follow the spiders’), when spells go array (Ron puking slugs) and when he needs a hug (the first year goodbye).
From start to finish, Harry is under Hagrid’s protection. It is the half-giant, umbrella carrier, gift bringer, who steps into the role of father, without being asked to, without being offered anything in return. And the one thing that is clear throughout is that, for Hagrid, Harry is more than just a kid in Hogwarts, he is family, to be kept safe, and to be loved!
For most potter heads, ‘Always’ can sum up pretty much everything the series is about. The antagonist, the person that everyone hates, fills up James’ shoes, in so subtle a manner, that it takes a lot of tissues to make peace with his death.
Most would disagree with turning Snape into a father figure, because more often than not Snape is seen protecting Malfoy and hating Harry. Harry himself, blames Snape for all that goes wrong at Hogwarts, and we as readers tend to believe him. Snape after all was shady as hell.
Fast forward to the Harry seeing Snape’s memories in the pensive, and we know just how much Snape did, without taking any credit. He is the one reason, Harry stays alive to even kill Voldemort. From protecting him during Quidditch, to showing him the location of Gryffindor’s sword and to making sure that Harry becomes the master of the Elder Wand. Snape sticks around and proves his worth.
Remembering Snape is remembering his actions and analyzing everything he ever said to Harry. The grim, tight-lipped potions master, played the double agent, risked his life to protect the one kid that made his life’s mission to hate him. If that isn’t love, then what is?
Pretty much all of Harry’s life is then a reminder of how much he is like James, his father, making James’ absence all the more present. To bring the similarities forth, throw in the bad boy, Sirius Black, who had a difficult time accepting the fact that Harry was Harry and not James.
Sirius, the notorious prisoner, escaped Azkaban to find Harry and protect him. Had he not been taken prisoner or had he not died, Harry’s life could have been a lot more different. He wouldn’t have had to grow up with Dursley’s, and he sure wouldn’t have had to return. Life would have been different. But whatever time Sirius had with Harry, he loved the boy like a son.
Named Godfather, Sirius did whatever he could to give Harry even a semblance of what could have been. And let’s not forget, it was Sirius that gifted Harry his first broom, when he was all but one years old. A friend to Lily and James, Sirius gave Harry what no one else could give him, he gave Harry someone he could depend on, no matter what. And don’t we all want that someone?
Father, dad, buddy, call them whatever, but the men that carry you on their shoulders, teach you how to drive and bail you out of trouble, are irreplaceable. James could not be there for Harry, but other people were. Some of us are lucky enough to have one person that loves and protects, some of us are even luckier and we are surrounded by more than just one father figure.
Harry missed James, throughout. But he had Hagrid, Snape, and Sirius and many more people, loving and protecting him. These people shaped Harry into becoming the person he was meant to be. Similarly we have these people in our lives, and it is this day that requires us to love and appreciate their presence even more. So think about these people, the ones that helped you become who you are and thank them, for being there, and for being who they are.
~ Swati Mishra
You could find a father in anyone – Foster parent, Teacher, mentor, elder brother, friend, neighbour, etc. Spiderman had his uncle Ben and Batman always had his butler, Alfred, standing right by his side. But were they ever acknowledged as a father or even a fatherly figure?
This Father’s day, celebrate your father and fatherly figures who helped you be the person you are today. Share your fondest or most mundane memories, anecdotes, and remembrances at firstname.lastname@example.org, and stand a chance to win Amazon gift vouchers, books, mugs, and more for yourself and your #UnconventionalDad.