Happy birthday, Harry Potter!
The Boy Who Lived turned 33 on July 31 (age determined by Muggles That Rule The Internet), and he’s probably having a pretty great day. His kids aren’t yet at Hogwarts, so – if I can get a little fan fiction-y on you for a moment – he’s probably just spending the day with Ginny, James Sirius, Albus Severus, and Lily Luna. His life is a lot easier now; not having a noseless mass murderer breathing down your neck (and in your head!) does wonders for your stress level. There’s a reason J.K. Rowling focused the story on his teenage years and isn’t currently writing an eighth book called Harry Potter the Suburban Dad. (to be clear: If she wrote it, I would read it.)
Because Harry’s post-Voldemort days eventually become pretty dang easy, I got to thinking about his Hogwarts years, which were 4,224 pages strong of mountain troll-fighting, blood quill-dealing, and mysteries galore. While I’m sure even the non-Potterphiles among you are aware of his biggest accomplishments (defeating Voldemort comes to mind) there are a lot of moments where Harry was pretty bloody awesome, and it’s totally been forgotten if you haven’t recently done a re-read. In honor of Harry’s 33rd birthday today, here are 33 moments where Harry Potter was more incredible than Felix Felicis (and all of which have nothing to do with what he’s best known for: killing the Dark Lord).
1.) Forget “The Chosen One” – call him The Candy Man. Pre-teen Mr. Potter loaded everyone up on the Hogwarts Express. You’re welcome, Ron. Chocolate Frogs free for all!
2.) Who knew a sock could be so powerful? 12-year-old Harry sees injustice in the world, and he did something about it, freeing Dobby from Lucius Malfoy at the end of Chamber of Secrets.
3.) Pretending to give Ron the Felix Felicis is one of the most amusing/clever/kind (pick your adjectives!) friendship moments of the series. He let him think he gave him a magic liquid, and gave him confidence instead.
4.) Who among us didn’t tear up when Dudley and Harry make their tentative peace in Deathly Hallows? The fact that this scene didn’t make the movie is a real shame.
5.) His kindness was on display when he took Luna to Professor Slughorn’s Christmas party.
6.) He helped Luna look for her shoes after they all disappeared (Nargles, or school bullies, were behind it).
7.) He went to Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday party even though he really didn’t want to.
8.) In one of his most Gryffindor-esque moments of his Hogwarts years, Harry brought Cedric’s body back to give to Cedric’s parents.
9.) He was the official secretary of S.P.E.W. because, while he may have given her grief, he always supported Hermione’s initiatives.
10.) If you’re feeling happy, and would rather be crying, just re-remember that when Dobby died, Harry buried him himself – and he dug the grave magic-free.
11.) Harry Potter may have been moody during his fifth year, but it was also when he became a certifiable badass, thanks to founding and running Dumbledore’s Army, just your everyday, run-of-the-mill anti-ministry, pro-defense training ground.
12.) He legitimately faced death pretty much every year (including basically full-time when he was 17), and he still regularly tried to save everyone.
13.) He spared Peter Pettigrew’s life because he didn’t think his dad’s friends should be murderers, which is one of those incredible “this is who you really are,” character-defining moments that come around only a few times in your life.
14.) After Ron left Hermione and Harry in the forest during their outdoor trek when they’re 17, Harry welcomed him back when he finally returns: No grudge-holding necessary.
15.) His eventual empathy for Snape is a high point.
16.) In his free time as a child, he was busy being a casual Parseltongue, freaking out the Dursleys during Dudley’s birthday.
17.) “I don’t go looking for trouble. Trouble usually finds me.”
18.) Saved Neville’s Remembrall from Draco, became an instant great flyer in the process.
19.) Gave his Triwizard Cup money to the Weasley twins, so he’s indirectly responsible for Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and all the jokes that come with it.
20.) The line “No need to call me Sir, professor.” Snark!
21.) Rules were made to be broken, and Hogsmeade is not to be missed, so he regularly snuck out of the castle using the Marauder’s Map. Mischief managed.
22.) The moment when Harry cast the Patronus Charm at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, but thought it was his dad = instant chills.
23.) He told Cedric about the dragons in Goblet of Fire after discovering everyone knew but him because while he’s a Gryffindor through and through, he’s got some Hufflepuff hidden away somewhere.
24.) The most romantic Harry moment of the series had nothing to do with his first kiss with Cho Chang. Instead, while locked away in detention while Ginny clenched the Quidditch Cup, Harry realized he didn’t care what Ron thought and kissed her during the victory party. #TeenageDream
25.) Scrimgeour: “Remembered that I am not Dumbledore, who forgave your insolence and insubordination? You may wear that scar like a crown, Potter, but it is not up to a 17-year-old boy to tell me how to do my job! It’s time you learned some respect!” Harry: “It’s time you earned it.” Can’t be forgotten: Harry’s battle line in the name of Stan Shunpike is inspiring in a real-world sense.
26.) Weirdly grown-up Harry lectured Remus about responsibility and love after he found out Remus wanted to leave a pregnant Tonks.
27.) Remember that time Harry and Ginny kissed before Bill’s wedding? Remember when they made out on his birthday? Constant fear of death has nothing on teenage hormones.
28.) 11-year-old Harry saved Hermione from a mountain troll … and he didn’t even like her that much at that point!
29.) “Wow, I wonder what it’d be like to have a difficult life?” Harry getting sassy, y’all.
30.) He may be occasionally frustrated by him, but (with a few first-year exceptions) he’s always kind to Neville.
31.) “Yeah, Quirrell was a great teacher. There was just that minor drawback of him having Lord Voldemort sticking out of the back of his head!”
32.) Rescued Fleur’s sister Gabrielle when he thought she was in danger in the lake during the second challenge of the Triwizard Tournament.
33.) Grew up, married Ginny, had three kids. All was well.
P.S.: It’s J.K. Rowling’s birthday too (she’s 48). What a coincidence!