Long ago, when we were kids, it was my younger sister’s turn to pick a movie to watch on family night. The four of us crowded around the old TV in our townhouse basement and ate pizza as we watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Not long after, I got the first four books, all that had been released at that time, and started reading. Our parents used to pay my sister and I a penny per page for all the books we read. This helped us learn to love reading, but the arrangement stopped since The Goblet of Fire was so thick.
Over the years I have read through the saga many times. I pre-ordered books 5, 6, and 7 to ensure I had them in my hands as soon as possible. Book 6 was released while I was out of the country. A friend of mine somehow had a copy with her in Jamaica, so I avoided spoilers like the plague. We have since fallen out, so I can’t look at The Half Blood Prince’s cover art without remembering a lot of drama and tense text messages.
My plan was to re-read them all again for the last time and then donate my hardcover set to someone for whom the magic would still be magical. I plan on finishing the seventh book tomorrow and now I’m not sure if I can stick with my plan. For one thing, my name is written in different handwriting inside the covers of 5, 6, and 7. For another, this was the first story I really loved. I grew up with Harry Potter. No longer having these books, in varying states of spine damage, on a bookshelf for the rest of my life wouldn’t feel right.
So we arrive, finally, at the point: The Weasley Family troubles me.
I never wanted to get married, ever since I was a teenager, and I still don’t. My reasons are ill-defined and wavering, but they are based on the theory that I don’t want to be married. Long-time readers may remember when I went to a friend’s wedding, their love and joy was so palpable it rocked my worldview. We can learn something new from every story, no matter how many times we’ve already turned that page. This time around, the Weasleys have started changing my mind. I found myself thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to have a family. Maybe it would be great, we’d be like a team.
The Weasleys are giving, just, and brave. They’re also poor, because they have seven kids. Even though they live in a rickety house and aren’t well respected by their bureaucratic peers, they seem to have no regrets. They love and support one another and that’s enough.
Their example, combined with another lesson I heard recently (self sufficiency is the road to poverty) makes me think that there’s a good reason why most people pursue relationships. It’s a flickering candle in the void where my love should be, but who knows, maybe that’s enough.