My son finished his first Harry Potter book this week and as an avid Potterhead, I was extremely proud. Naturally, it took me to the time when I read my first Harry Potter book and how it transported me to the world of magic, muggles, and mandrakes. The magic in Harry Potter, from the Unforgivable to the mundane is through conscious spells that people carry out. Yet there is an arc of love that travels across the different books that is never fully explained. The act of Lily James throwing herself in front of her baby is the way the story starts, and quite surprisingly it ends with another mother choosing her child over the power and fame that Voldemort promises her.
J K Rowling is a masterful storyteller - the seven books are filled with such overarching themes of friendship, loyalty, ruthlessness and love that the average reader must read the entire saga multiple times to fully savor them (and yes, I have). There are entire scenes that move you to tears or make you rethink everything you have read before. One such symbolic part is about Hagrid carrying Harry as a baby to his aunt's home when he is orphaned in the first book. The last book expertly ties back to this scene by having Hagrid carry Harry's (supposedly) dead body back to Hogwarts - the only real home he has ever known. The writing is poignant, symbolic, and emotionally appeals to readers who have been with Harry through his entire journey.
Snape's story is the love story of ages - a silent, unrequited love that asked for nothing yet endured devastation and loss, and still managed to remain loyal. It is a side plot that surely could have had its own book and the line spoken by Snape about his love for Lily still resonates with me as one of the most powerful dialogues in the series, encompassing an ocean of emotion.
The mothers, however, in the 7 books are entire forces of nature. Maybe it is because Rowling, as a single mother while writing the book, realized the enormity of being one. Lily's last act of selfless giving ensured Harry's life and became the catalyst to his victory. The bubble of protective love she left on him saved him multiple times. Molly Weasley also showed grit and backbone when called on to defend the ones she loved. However, there is another mother without whom Harry would never have been alive to fight in the end. A mother, almost always, chooses the life she gave birth to over any fame or fortune. It was Narcissa Malfoy, Draco Malfoy's mother, who was asked by Voldemort to check if Harry was really dead and it was Narcissa who chose Draco's life and wellbeing over the power and riches offered to her by lying to Voldemort that he was. If not for her, there would have been no triumphant fight between Harry that ended in Voldemort's defeat.
Mothers are magical; their strength in the face of adversity and their patience to deal with life's legion of problems grants them heroic attributes. Unfortunately, these are acts of heroism that go unnoticed and unappreciated daily. Especially during this pandemic, mothers around us have been thrust under enormous pressure with no safety net nor end in sight. The pandemic seems like a curse from an evil villain, trying to hasten the world's end. Learning to cope with added responsibilities, patience and pure grit have been powerful spells used daily. The curse has not yet broken and there is no bezoar to be found anywhere. All we can do is get inspired by the magic mothers create around us and start appreciating it more. After all, J.K. Rowling did so and ended up with an empire.