10 Things We Learned From Harry Potter

Can you believe the Harry Potter books can legally drink today? Here's how they made our lives better (honest).

It’s 18 years ago to the day that JK Rowling released the first in her multi-million-pound Harry Potter franchise. (Feeling old yet?) With that in mind, we decided to cast our minds back to our first, awestruck reading of the books – and why reading them most definitely made our lives better.

Being a nerd is only deadly

Harry Potter Gryffindor pyjamas

Gryffindor was, without a doubt, the nerdiest House at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but it was the house we all wanted to be in. Why? Well, you get a lion as your mascot, for starters; your characteristic is bravery; and you get Harry, Ron and Hermione – without whom nothing would ever happen. (Although honestly? Anything but Slytherin.)

Bossy girls are the best

Hermione Granger gif Harry Potter

We’re not banning bossy over at STELLAR towers; we love a bit of bossiness in our women, and think it should be celebrated. Props, then, to Emma Watson’s Hermione, who made being the bossy, nerdy, slightly uptight girl in school the coolest thing ever. Hermione – our first feminist icon.

You will fancy Neville when he’s all grown up

Neville Longbottom Matthew Lewis

Who would have thought that Neville Longbottom, he of the dodgy teeth and even dodgier ‘do, would blossom into such a – *takes drink of water, thinks PC thoughts* – strong, handsome young man?

Neville Longbottom Matthew Lewis

Clearly, not JK Rowling – whose reaction to this shoot in Attitude magazine wins the internet. Still, Neville may have turned into a bit of a ride, but taking his name? Probably not a good idea.

Gingers are winners

Fred and George Weasley

Sure, Ron Weasley wasn’t a mega looker – but the Weasleys’ gaf was most definitely the funnest one going. (We’ll admit to some serious crushing on Fred and George, those wiley chancers.) And even Ginny ends up on top, sailing off into the sunset with Harry. Er… Okay, we’d rather go off with Neville but still.

Enid Blyton was right all along

Harry Potter Hogwarts

We’ve been yearning for a good boarding school experience – midnight feasts and ginger beer – since the days of Mallory Towers, but the Harry Potter books confirmed to us that boarding school is the best thing ever. Harry, Ron and Hermione would never got up to such larks had they been day pupils, travelling home each evening to their respective houses, now would they?

Thank Crunchie sliotars don’t have wings

Harry Potter quidditch

We’ll admit to understand the rules of Quidditch better than we understand the rules of hurling, but imagine how many cracked skulls there’d be if our national pastime was played with winged balls? (*snigger*) Seriously though, hurling is dangerous enough as it is – an American visitor once described it as, “like a mix between lacrosse and war.” Not entirely inaccurate.

If it looks like an evil mastermind…

Harry Potter Snape fight

It might be, but you won’t find out for absolutely ages. Still, best to be a bit careful.

The main character isn’t always the best

Because Harry, let’s face it, was lame. We’d rather hang out with intensely irritating Luna Lovegood than hang out with zero-craic Harry. In general, though, this is an important lesson: just cos they’re the central character doesn’t mean they’re the best. (See also: Westlife.)

Witch + cat = icon

Harry Potter Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith’s Professor McGonagall was the teacher you love, while also maintaining a healthy level of terror. Plus, she could turn into a cat (which is awesome). The news this week that Maggie was undergoing treatment for breast cancer at the time of shooting is yet more evidence that she’s a seriously impressive individual.

Chess is always a good idea

Harry Potter chess gif

You never know when it’ll get you out of a serious scrape or seven – plus, being good at chess is impressive. It makes you seem like an intelligent person who didn’t spend their childhood watching the entire seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Twice.

(Wand) size matters

Harry Potter wand gif

Well, maybe not – but the lesson surely is, choose your tools wisely. And never point your wand at someone in anger, wha’ Neville?

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