My kids and I listened to the entire Harry Potter audiobook series in 2018. The stories were wonderful and amazing and impactful, and we fell instantly and completely in love with Harry, Hermione, Ron, and the rest.
Except maybe not Draco Malfoy, although I've even seen some interesting notes on his character that make me like him a little bit more.
As we finished a book, we would buy the accompanying movie on Amazon and watch it together. The girls were Harry and Hermione for Halloween, and half of everything we own now has HP and his cronies on it.
Anyway, Snape has had a special place in my heart from the first movie. I hated the book version of Snape, because he was nothing but a mean bully, but there was something about Alan Rickman's Snape in the movies that was stern but not hateful and captivated me from the first, holding my heart through the very last.
This is possibly why I was so struck by his line, "Always." If you're unfamiliar, Dumbledore and Snape were speaking about Harry and his mother, with whom Snape was in love for most of his life. She had chosen James Potter over Severus Snape, and she had been dead for more than fifteen years. Dumbledore says, with tears in his eyes, "After all this time?" asking if Snape still loves her. Snape's reply is simply, "Always."
I love what that simple word represents, the thought that true love never ends. It makes me think of Outlander, where Jamie says, "It was always forever for me, Sassenach," when she goes back in time for the second time, twenty years after they parted, to rejoin him and share a new life. It reminds me of my handsome husband and all the hard times we've endured together and how our love has prevailed and will prevail in all the rest of our days.
It also reminds me of my kids, to whom I will be hopelessly dedicated for the rest of my life. There's nothing they can do to separate themselves from my life, just like there's nothing I can do to separate myself from the love of Christ.
I bought a beautiful, hand-painted, wooden sign with the quote on it to hang in our bedroom, and I started working on a small printable to hang in my office when Grace came in.
"You know, people get tattoos of that quote. I've seen a lot of them on Pinterest," she told me.
Why hadn't I thought of that?
Now that it was in my head, I couldn't get it out. I was consumed by imagining what font I'd use and where I'd put it. I thought and thought and thought about it, and then I searched the fonts on my computer, put something together, and printed it out.
No time at all passed before I had the quote tattooed in the middle of my upper back with a watercolored heart, and I love it. The heart is actually not what I imagined, but it is okay for now, and I will probably go back with more pictures and get it reworked long after it's healed and I've forgotten how excruciating the pain of an upper back tattoo feels.
And, while I was there and paying for the needles and everything, I went ahead and got a second tattoo, this one on my forearm. It's another quote from Harry Potter, of course.
Until the very end
Just before battling Voldemort for the last time, Harry conjures his deceased family and friends using the Resurrection Stone. They are all standing around him, and he asks, "Will you stay with me?" and his father replies, "Until the very end."
Like "Always," this quote spoke straight to my heart. I will be there, in spirit or in body, with my kids until the very end. It also reminds me to stay in it, whatever "it" is, until the very end, until it's over. Persevere. Stick with it. Do the thing.
What's coming will come
And, even though I swear off tattoos for good every single time I get one (because THEY HURT), I know what my next tattoo will be. It will be this quote, from Hagrid: "What's coming will come, and we'll meet it when it does."
I know the Christian community, as a whole, doesn't look favorably on Harry Potter, and that's okay. To each his own.
But I see this quote as a statement of faith. Harry had Hagrid, a very large man who protected him and looked out for him. I have Jesus. Jesus is powerful, and with Jesus, I can take on whatever comes my way. He's got this, and I don't have to worry. There's nothing I can do to prevent crisis and loss and trials, but with the help of Jesus, I can weather and beat them.
So all this to say that I completely believe the following quote, which is not spoken by a character but by the author herself:
"The stories we love best live in us forever."
She is a wise woman, that JK Rowling. She knows a lot and has given voice to characters that speak right into my soul.
These stories, Harry Potter and Laura Ingalls Wilder and Narnia and Outlander and The Penderwicks, all these characters live in my heart. And also, Ruth and Esther and Jonah and Joseph. The latter are true and real historical people, but they're also stories that live in my heart. They're a part of me, and I think of them often as I face my life.
And best of all? Jesus. Again, true and real and historical, but also a story, the very best story, that lives on in me forever.
"The stories we love best live in us forever." –JK Rowling
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." – Albus Dumbledore
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends." – Albus Dumbledore
"It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." – Albus Dumbledore
"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." – Sirius Black
"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?" – Albus Dumbledore
"We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are." – Albus Dumbledore
"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light." – Albus Dumbledore
"We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy." – Albus Dumbledore
"Numbing the pain for a while will only make it feel worse when you finally feel it." – Albus Dumbledore
"Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic." – Albus Dumbledore
"Anything is possible if you've got enough nerve." – Ginny Weasley
"It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness. Nothing more." – Albus Dumbledore
"It matters not what someone is born, but what he grows to be." – Albus Dumbledore
"The ones who love us never really leave us." – Sirius Black
"Working hard is important. But there is something that matters even more. Believing in yourself." – Harry Potter
"Indifference and neglect often do more damage than outright neglect." – Albus Dumbledore
"People find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than for being right." – Albus Dumbledore
"The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution." – Albus Dumbledore
"What is life without a little risk?" – Sirius Black
"That you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength." – Albus Dumbledore
"You do care. You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it." – Albus Dumbledore
"We don't need magic to transform the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already." – Albus Dumbledore
"In dreams, we enter a world that's entirely our own." – Albus Dumbledore
That Dumbledore. He is seriously wise and full of amazing, wonderful, and inspirational quotes. Harry Potter was a lucky boy to have a mentor who spoke into his heart with all this wisdom and truth, and we are all lucky to be able to read his (and others') words.
Maybe on our skin.
(ha! I know most of you aren't into tattoos like I am, so please forgive me.)