Minerva McGonagall put it simply when she said, “While you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts.” Besides the fact that I can’t believe it’s been two months of blogging and Harry Potter is only now making its samepage appearance, I also recall this sentiment each time I journey through the series. I feel the force of its intent with every unspoken word, every side look, every disagreement, and every hug that strengthens an untenable thread between Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The notion of the ‘chosen family’ is an incredibly successful storyline throughout media and literature, and it provides that warm glow of connection and belonging.
In the great plot vs. character ‘what I seek as a reader’ debate, I am firmly in the character camp. Of course I appreciate the escapades of a quest, the misfortunes of adapting to a mysterious island, the heartbreak of escaping an unloving environment, and the ‘big city gal escapes to small town’ storyline. Yet what brings me back to these stories (Harry Potter included) is not that the titular character has achieved their plot ‘endgame.’ Rather, it’s the moments I sense that their hearts are beginning to open to a group of people (or creatures!) who see them for who they really are. The proverbial “House” has been established.