Some Friendships Digress While Others Progress

This current subset of examples of friendships comes from fantasy and adventure literature. My last post covered the friendship of Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of The Rings trilogy. This one features the trio from the Harry Potter series to show how some friendships digress over time while others progress. It also shows the power of a threesome as friends.

About the Harry Potter Franchise

The Harry Potter series of seven fantasy novels by British author J. K. Rowling chronicles the lives of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his two friends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Since the release of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in June of 1997, the books have attracted a wide adult audience as well as younger readers. The original seven books were adapted into an eight-part namesake film series by Warner Bros. Pictures. As of February 2018, the books have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, making them the best-selling book series in history. It has been translated into more than eighty languages.  

In 2021, Bloomsbury Publishing reported that even at the 25th anniversary of the first title, sales growth continued as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions led to a boom in sales. Sales now exceeds more than 600 million books. The total value of the Harry Potter franchise is estimated at more than $25 billion, making it one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time

The franchise has expand into numerous derivatives like a traveling exhibition, additional related books, a digital platform, and a pentalogy of spin-off films. There is also a themed attraction known as “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at several Universal Parks & Resorts amusement parks around the world.

A Trio of Friends

Harry Potter, played by Daniel Radcliffe

The main story concerns the struggle of Harry and his friends against Lord Voldemort, a dark wizard who intends to become immortal, overthrow the governing body of wizards known as the Ministry of Magic and subjugate all wizards and Muggles (non-magical people).

Harry Potter, the protagonist of the series, becomes one other most well known wizards of his time but not by his choice. Harry’s parents Lily and James Potter were killed shortly after Harry’s birth by Voldemort. Harry managed to survive the attack due to his mother’s sacrifice. But Voldemort’s spell on Harry backfires and ultimately leads to Voldemort’s downfall. It also provided Harry with his famous lightning bolt scar.

For his protection, Harry is shipped away to live with the only family he has left; his spiteful Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon along with their bratty son, Dudley. Harry learns he is a wizard on his 11th birthday, then sent to attend Hogwarts, where he faces numerous obstacles and perilous adventures. Alongside him are his two best friends, Ron and Hermione.

Ron Weasley, played by Rupert Grint

Ron Weasley is Harry’s best friend and possibly the second-most relevant character in the books. He instantly bonds with Harry at the start of their Hogwarts career. From the moment Harry sits down next to Ron on the Hogwarts Express, Ron is overjoyed to share his pasties, cakes, and candies. He’s never had anyone to share with before.

Ron is Harry’s first true friend at Hogwarts, and even though they fight and Ron eventually leaves. Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts’s Headmaster knew Ron would always come back and the boys would become best friends.

Hermione Granger, played by Emma Watson 

Hermione Granger is another colleague of Harry’s at Hogwarts. After Harry and Ron save her from a mountain troll in the girls’ restroom, she becomes best friends with them. She is loyal, trustworthy, and genuine, and Harry probably wouldn’t have graduated from Hogwarts without her homework help. She often uses her quick wit, deft recall, and encyclopedic knowledge to lend aid in dire situations.

Though their friendship had a rocky start, it evolved into something beautiful. Rowling has stated that Hermione resembles herself as a young girl, with her insecurity and fear of failure.

How Their Friendship Changed

According to this post on Mugglenet, an unofficial Harry Potter fansite, and the self-professed #1 Wizarding World Resource, over the course of the books, Ron seemed to digress as a character, while Hermione progressed. From being an insufferable know-it-all, Hermione has become Harry’s most valuable ally.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we see these transformations as the final showdown between Ron and Hermione for the position of Harry’s best friend. Hermione sacrifices everything to help Harry out, while Ron acts like a spoiled brat and lets Harry down. 

The Mugglenet post explains that jealousy has always been one of Ron’s defining characteristics. In Deathly Hallows, Hermione decides to stay with Harry on his journey, as they both promised. Ron clearly has no notions of loyalty in the friendship. Hermione loves Ron, and yet she still chooses to stay with Harry and live this horrible lifestyle, isolated from other people and alone with Harry. She chooses her friendship with Harry over a comfortable life with Ron. Ron’s immediate conclusion is that Hermione is picking Harry romantically over him. It is at this point that she becomes Harry’s true best friend.

Harry and Hermione remain by themselves on the journey for a few more days. But Ron returns and saves Harry’s life. There is some interesting insight into Ron’s deepest fears. Ron is afraid that his mother loves Harry better than him. He’s afraid Hermione prefers Harry to him. He’s afraid that Harry and Hermione think they were better off without him. Ron fears he has done nothing compared to Harry, and that Hermione loves Harry. This culminates in a projection of Harry and Hermione kissing, which drives Ron over the edge, making him finally stab the locket Horcrux.

It’s time for Ron to reconcile with Harry and Hermione. Harry quickly forgives Ron but Hermione is not like that. She loses control and gives Ron what he had coming. But Harry still considers Ron his best friend over Hermione because they’re both guys and less serious than Hermione. However, many believe Hermione is a far better friend to Harry than Ron.

The Power of Threes

Again, according to Mugglenet, J.K. Rowling likes to work the power of threes into her story crafting. There are the main Marauders (Sirius, Remus, and James), the number of contestants intended for the Triwizard tournament (and the number of tasks), three Unforgivable Curses (the Cruciatus Curse, which causes unbearable pain; the Imperius Curse, which allows the user to control the actions of the victim; and the Killing Curse, which causes instant death), and, of course, the three Deathly Hallows.

The number three has magical properties. Humans seek patterns for familiarity and the number “three” seems to bring that order and balance.

This article on HuffPost explains the psychological effect on us of the number three. In literature, we see Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Three Musketeers, and Three Amigos. On television, we see the Three Stooges, Threes Company, and Three Men and a Baby. Winners of athletic events and talent contests often receive one of three medals: gold, silver, and bronze. For spiritual guides, there is the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). There are also the three wise men (Magi) who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the infant Jesus.

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GodBuddy Focus

This example of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger shows us that friendships do change over time. Likewise, most of your friendships will change over time. Even your GodBuddy friendships will change!

But the God of All Creation will never change (yes, even the creations used in fantasy and adventure literature). Not His character. Not His will. And not His covenant promises.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism — a summary of Christian doctrine for teaching children and adults, says that “God is a spirit, whose being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth are infinite, eternal, and unchangeable.”

Additionally, the Bible provides wisdom to us about threes. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” In a pure biblical sense, this cord of three strands represents God, the groom, and the bride. Braiding these three strands symbolizes the joining of one man, one woman, and God in marriage.

In the case of friendships, it means that two men friends who include Jesus Christ in their relationship will maintain a strong unbreakable GodBuddy bond. It also helps ensure your friendship lasts longer than it takes to read the seven volumes of the Harry Potter series!   

My next post shows an example of friendships from Star Wars.  

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