We Can All Learn a Little Something About Love From Severus Snape

Author: Michelle Ioannou, The Dating Game

After all this time? Always.

Five simple words that shaped our generation, or at the very least should have shaped our generation.

Harry Potter taught us a lot more about love than we may realize. Sure, there’s the easy Ron and Hermione love story of two friends falling for each other, but the more powerful love story at play? The one we should all learn from? Lily and Snape.

No, Lily and Snape did not end up together. They didn’t live happily ever after at all. But Snape’s love is arguably the purest form of love.

He watched the love of his life go off with someone else. And do you know what he did? He still tried to save her life. And when he couldn’t do that? He watched after her son. Protected him. Guided him. And even started to care for him. All because of how he felt about Lily.

Now that’s love.

Love is putting the other person’s happiness before your own. It’s doing things in the best interest of the other person, even if they’re not there to witness this. It’s your patronus taking on the same animal as the person you love’s patronus — okay, this one is a bit of a stretch. But, it’s knowing what the other person would want of you, knowing what they’d think of your actions, and doing just that.

And that’s what Snape did.

He put his own hurt aside. He put his own heartbreak aside. And he acted in Lily’s best interest. Even after she was killed, Lily came first.

In fact, up until Snape’s own life ended, everything he did was for Lily. Despite the fact that she chose another man over him, and started a family that didn’t include him.

If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

Yes, the Harry Potter series as a whole heavily influenced the millennial generation. Yes, many millennials want a love like Ron and Hermoine. But, we can all learn a thing or two about true love from Severus Snape.

Always. Because true love just doesn’t go away.

The Boy Who Lived and Saved Us All: The Continued Magic and Influence of Harry Potter on Millennials

Author: Alli Jean, Entertainment

“Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Dursley of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

Although we didn’t know it yet, for many millennials (myself included), reading that sentence would change our lives forever. That sentence, for anyone who does not know, was the first sentence of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the international best-seller written by the incomparable J.K. Rowling.

In the years that followed, this franchise would grow to include movies, games, toys, a spin-off dating site and even a theme park — but the true magic lies in the story, the camaraderie of Harry, Ron and Hermione and in the vivid descriptions of Hogwarts castle and its inhabitants. While there are countless reasons why so many love these stories, here are a few of the ways the magic of the Wizarding World continues to inspire us, even as adults.

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Inspiring Friendship
Like Hermione, many of us first met Harry Potter when we were in the most awkward phases of young adulthood, and reading these books provided many millennials a world to escape to. After all, Harry grew up feeling like he didn’t belong, and more so when learning he was a wizard. But his life was forever improved by becoming friends with Ron and Hermione.

As we grew up, we watched the “the trio” navigate how to deal with bullies, learning to play Quidditch, find a balance between managing their mischief, having their first crush… all while fighting Lord Voldemort. I hope others my age were lucky enough to see their friends in Harry’s classmates; I know I am.

Overcoming Adversity and Promoting Social Justice
There’s a reason those that read Harry Potter are described as being less biased and prejudiced against minority groups. J.K. Rowling’s world is filled with parallels of the disenfranchised that are all too easy for us to relate to. One of the most prominent is the treatment of House Elves, and Hermione’s crusade to establish living wages and fair treatment of the elves that spend their lives serving the wizarding community. Like any crusader for a group that is seen as less than human by others, Hermione received criticism, but as Sirius Black once said, “if you want to know what a man’s like, look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

The question of “blood status,” which I’ve already spoken about, was also a means of demonizing others within the Wizarding World. Some pure blood wizards felt that half-blood wizards, as well as those with no magical ability were inferior and often referred to them as “mudbloods.” As Voldemort rose to power, “purebloods” fought to irradiate and destroy those of inferior blood status in frightening similarity to the actions of Hitler towards the Jews and President Trump to Muslims.

Finally, the societal rejection of the werewolves, and especially the discrimination faced by Remus Lupin was described by J.K. Rowling as a metaphor for those afflicted with AIDS and the prejudice they faced.

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Adventure
For millennials, Harry Potter was the fantasy-adventure that previous generations had discovered by reading Tolkien and Lewis. For a generation that experienced one of the fastest periods of technological growth of any previous generation, there was something refreshing about having to be patient and wait for the next books to be released.

Do you remember holding in screaming in horror when you first learned it was Voldemort under Quirrell’s turban? Can you imagine sitting under the table in the Three Broomsticks with Harry, and the sinking feeling you felt when you learned his parents had been killed due to the betrayal of one of their best friends? We were there as Harry snatched the Golden Egg from the dragon in the Triwizard Tournament, we fought the Death Eaters in the Ministry, cried as Dumbledore fell to his death and cheered as the trio escaped Gringotts on the back of the dragon who was now free. From fighting the Basilisk to being on the run in search of Horcruxes and Hallows, and finally to the Battle of Hogwarts, these books opened our imagination to a world of action and adventure — and ultimately taught our generation the joys of reading.

Remember, no matter if you were a Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, Slytherin or Hufflepuff, any millennial fan of Harry Potter can agree on two universal truths: that Umbridge is the ultimate villain, and no matter how old you get, Hogwarts will be there to welcome us home. And of course, Harry Potter changed lives too.

Harry and Ginny

Love Disney, Harry Potter, or Star Wars? These Dating Websites Are for You

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, The Dating Game

Are you part of a fandom? Don’t worry. We won’t judge you. In fact, I’m part of fandoms myself (Parks and Rec, Veronica Mars and House, M.D. to name a few). Fandoms are different for everyone, really — and for many of us they come as a result of particular films.

For some it’s Star Wars, for some it’s Harry Potter, for some it’s cult film classics like Home Alone or A Christmas Story.

As you can see, if you’re a millennial who is part of a film fandom, or any fandom, really — while you may be unique within your family or particular friend group –- you’re not alone (otherwise, there wouldn’t be a fandom)! But, if your fandom is highly unusual or uncommon within your family or social group, it could feel otherwise.

That said…what if I told you that there were places you could go to find dates…who were also part of your movie fandom? Such places do exist in the form of these dating websites.

Dating For Muggles

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Harry Potter fans, I get it…you don’t want to admit that you’re a Muggle (in the sense that you’re a human and not, in fact, a wizard waiting for your Hogwarts letter). But feel free to admit it here, and join Dating For Muggles…where you could meet your Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff soul mate. While HP was a book first and foremost, it developed into an incredibly successful film franchise…and it definitely applies here.

LFGDating

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Don’t forget — Star Wars is home to dating advice…but there’s a dating site out there for all of the fans in the galaxy. Touted as the “#1 Star Wars Dating Site, Period,” LFGDating offers “thousands of other Star Wars fans” as part of its dating network. While not only home to profiles from Star Wars fans, Star Wars is its biggest draw (or, at least, it appears to be).


MouseMingle.com

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As a self-proclaimed Disney addict (as I’ve previously mentioned, I’m in the process of planning my next Disney trip) I’ve saved my favorite for last. Fellow Disney geeks, rejoice – you can, as the site says, “find your Minnie or Mickey” at MouseMingle.com. It goes on to indicate that “you don’t need to live near a Disney park to find someone like you.” And you get to talk all about Disney movies when answering the profile questions — making MouseMingle.com perfect for avid Disney movie fans as well as park goers.

Did we miss your favorite film fandom dating site? Let us know in the comments!

You Can’t Give a Dementor the Old One-Two: Harry Potter’s Reaction to the Current Political Landscape

Author: Alli Jean, Current Events/Politics

In times such as these we are currently living, when the future of politics and our very society seems so uncertain, it is commonplace to turn towards those who have inspired us to seek comfort and motivation to press forward, despite what obstacles appear to lie ahead. For many millennials, one of the literary pillars of our collective childhood was the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

Not only did this series and the trio of Ron, Hermione and Harry confirm our love of reading, but their struggle to fight the hatred, violence and the falsehoods perpetuated by Voldemort and his supporters are becoming ever more relatable in light of the current political climate. And for those who say it’s immature to take inspiration from a “children’s book series,” no offense, but millennials largely did not vote for the human embodiment of a child’s temper tantrum.

The Media

Oh J.K. Rowling, how could you predict then when you were writing about Cornelius Fudge’s stubborn pride and ignorance that caused him to deny the warning signs of Voldemort returning to power, that just a few year later, major media outlets would turn a blind eye to hateful rhetoric powerful enough to elect Donald Trump to the highest office in the land, and #Brexit would become a reality?

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Indeed, nationalism is on the rise and is spreading, much like the call to maintain pure-blood status became a rallying cry in Rowling’s universe. In such times, remember that an opportunity arises for offbeat and struggling news sources to make a difference, by simply telling the truth.

Just as the Quibbler became an unexpected voice of reason when the Daily Prophet failed to point out the obvious, political satire programs such as The Daily Show and Last Week Tonight as well as news outlets that include The New York Times, The Washington Post and ProPublica have the chance to speak the truth and have a positive impact on current political affairs.

As Harry and company quickly realized, source check everything you see and hear (especially on social media), and settle for nothing less than the truth.

Mudbloods, Werewolves and House Elves

It has often been described that social change often takes one step forward, and two steps back; likely, because as marginalized groups gain equality, those in power fear that they will be made to pay for their past cruelty if those they once oppressed rise against them.

Three of the greatest examples of this from within Rowling’s work are the struggles of “Mudbloods,” Werewolves and House Elves. Mudbloods, or wizards who come from non-magical parents, are looked down upon by pure-blood wizards, who view them as being of a lower class than themselves.

Despite being the most brilliant witch of the trio’s year, Hermione endures endless taunts about her parents being non-magical, specifically from pure-blood extremist Draco Malfoy. And she wasn’t alone. This parallel can be made to the plight of undocumented immigrants in the United States and refugees around the world who not only struggle to survive on an hour by hour and day by day basis, but face extreme bigotry and marginalization when attempting to start a new life in a safer homeland.

Due to the rise of nationalism in America and around the world, refugees and immigrants are being painted as rapists, drug dealers and violent criminals to prevent them from being welcomed. All this despite the fact that many of these individuals are women and young children, desperately fleeing violent situations and are simply looking for peace and acceptance. Similarly, Rowling has advocated that the treatment of werewolves, particularly Remus Lupin, was meant to be an allegory for the discrimination faced by those with AIDS and other ailments with strong stigma and prejudice attached to them.

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The treatment of House Elves as less than human can be seen as a mirror to the discrimination faced by other groups that have been marginalized and faced extreme discrimination–particularly in this election season in America, that includes Muslims, LGBTQ+ individuals, the disabled, women, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans and African Americans. The list goes on. As Sirius Black reminds us, “if you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

Dementors

To put it lightly, there is a whole lot of negativity in our world right now. From the fall of Aleppo, to the bitter wounds of those still felt in both American political parties after the most tumultuous election in living memory, to the protests at Standing Rock, this past year has seen protests, anger and bigotry like many of us have never seen before.

At times, watching the news can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the challenges that lie ahead. Similarly, our favorite Gryffindors, at the height of Voldemort’s rise to power, also had to contend with dementors literally creating a mist of negative thoughts that perpetrated the landscape. These creatures had the ability to suck out one’s soul, unless they were overpowered by happiness and light. Although when faced with fear and negativity, it is easy to resort to physical and emotional violence in retaliation, real courage comes from seeing light among the darkness, and retaliating by advocating for truth, and justice.

Yes, much about the future seems uncertain. Dark times may lie ahead. But never underestimate the value of your friends and family, let each person who is important to you be another reason to not give up hope, to educate yourself about the issues at hand. After all, it was always Ron and Hermione that made any of Harry’s extraordinary accomplishments possible. And remember the wise words of the youngest Weasley, “You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog. 

The Dementor and The Boggart: How Harry Potter Helped Me Cope With My Depression and Anxiety

Author: Brett Pucino, Real Life Stories

There is a subsection of millennials, roughly those born between 1988 and 1992, who came of age with The Boy Who Lived. I was born in 1990, and I was eight years old when I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I eventually consumed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the summer of my 17th birthday. J.K. Rowling’s magical world made me fall in love with reading at such a young age. Little did I know that when I was first introduced to Dementors and Boggarts as an adolescent, there were Dementors and Boggarts in my own life that I’d have to face in young adulthood.

The Dementor and The Boggart as Symbols for Depression and Anxiety
JKR has been open about her battles with depression in her life, and has even recently reached out to a fan on Twitter who is facing depression.

I used to think these were just creepy creatures growing up, but when I re-read the series for the umpteenth time as a new college graduate going through a bout of post-college depression, I realized that a Dementor is a harrowingly accurate representation of depression.

I’ve felt the metaphorical lights go dark in my head as the depression eradicated any positive memories. I’ve felt depression’s cold, rattling breath as it called up my worst thoughts from my mind’s annals. I’ve felt depression’s chilling fingers brush my skin as it sank to suck the last drips of hope out of my body. I can tell you first hand that being in the constant presence of Dementors is exactly what depression feels like.

Just as the Dementor represents depression, the Boggart represents our deepest fears. To me, the Boggart is an accurate representation of my struggle with anxiety. My bouts with depression have been situational. I’ve been lucky in that regard. It’s the anxiety that’s more prevalent.

In high school, my social anxiety crippled my social life. I was the quintessential quiet kid, but I had the loudest mind. I was terrified to verbalize my thoughts into words. Things were different, though, when I put pen to paper. At the time, I had little confidence in my writing ability, but my English teachers would always gush over my writing assignments. In my junior year I received the only 100 on a writing assignment that my teacher gave out that year. The assignment? Write an alternate ending to The Catcher and the Rye in the voice of Holden Caulfield. Looking back, the ease at which I was able to channel Holden’s angst was a warning sign.

The Patronus as a Symbol for How to Fight Depression
In the Harry Potter series, the only way to fend off a Dementor is by casting a Patronus. The Patronus is one of the most fascinating spells in the Potterverse. It is similar to the Native American concept of the spirit animal in that each person’s Patronus takes on an animal form based on the characteristics of the caster.

In order to cast the spell, one must channel his or her happiest memories when reciting the incantation (expecto patronum). If one isn’t 100% absorbed in these happy and positive thoughts, then the spell won’t work. I think this is the perfect analogy for fighting depression in the real world.

The Riddikulus Incantation as a Symbol for How to Fight Anxiety
The Boggart is another fascinating creature from the Potterverse. No one knows what a Boggart looks like in its true form, since it immediately takes on the shape of the deepest fears of the nearest person. In Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor Lupin teaches us that the way to get rid of the Boggart is to picture your deepest fear in a disarming, and often humorous, situation while reciting the incantation Riddikulus. 

I think that this symbol is a perfect representation of my anxiety in the real world. I worry obsessively about the future and also play the “what if?” game. So, if I were to come across a Boggart, it would be a version of myself that I call the “inner critic.” The “inner critic” is extremely critical of any aspirations I have for my future. He points out all of the things that could go wrong and frames them as if they are inevitable outcomes.

Thanks to JKR, I came up with a creative visualization exercise to help me deal with this anxiety successfully. I picture facing this Boggart version of myself and actual me shouting Riddikulus as I visualize Boggart-me losing his voice. Without his voice, his doubts can’t affect me.

I used a similar exercise to deal with my bouts with depression. I visualize myself facing a Dementor and in need of a Patronus. I absorb myself in happy memories and positive thoughts, and then my Patronus (a lion) appears to protect me.

You may feel silly doing these exercises at first, but they helped me and I think they can help you too. Plus, to paraphrase Albus Dumbledore, just because it’s happening in your head, that does not mean it isn’t real.


Seek help for depression and anxiety at adaa.org.