This book in my opinion is the most important book (outside of Deathly Hallows) in the series. In book 1 we are introduced to Harry. In book 2 we find out more information about the evil that plagues the world of Harry and his friends. In book 3 we see the injustices that occur in the world of Harry and his friends. In book 4 Voldemort achieves what he had been trying to achieve since book 1, his return in human form. In book 5 we actually begin to see open warfare between the supporters of Voldemort and those who have chosen to stand with the forces of good.
The lessons that we can learn from this book may seem to be simple, but they are very important. The lessons we learn are: the need for truth and courage to stand against oppression and tyranny, the power of spiritual warfare that must be practiced and not just understood in theory, the danger of officials (whether political or religious) seeking to rule over people rather than empower them and the power of love that alone can defeat evil.
The Need for Truth and Courage to Stand against Oppression and Tyranny
All throughout this book Harry is constantly having to fight against those who believe that he is telling lies, because of this belief they are constantly trying to suppress him, his friends and the truth. However, it is Hermione who finally has the idea to use Rita Skeeter to help Harry get the truth out to the people. Hermione doesn’t only use Rita Skeeter in this endeavor Hermione also uses Luna Lovegood. Luna’s father owns the Quibbler, which is a magazine that is known throughout the “wizarding” world for being their equivalent of a tabloid. Through Hermione’s efforts the truth is finally able to come about what happened during the final event of the Tri-Wizarding Tournament. It, also, helped everyone to finally understand the tranny and oppression that Harry and his friends had been facing from those who in positions of authority over them.
You can also see this need in Ron and Hermione’s idea to form a group to help themselves and others learn how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts. This need arose because the Ministry of Magic decided that students didn’t need to learn anything practical about Defense Against Dark Arts. After several months of this very impractical method of educating students Hermione (and with a little input from Ron) decided it was time to take matters into their own hands and she decides to ask Harry to teach them how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts.
Paul in his letter to the Ephesians tells us numerous times to stand firm in our fight against the forces that are opposing us. We should take this advice to heart and always remember that: all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.Ephesians 6:10-13 CSB
The Power of Spiritual Warfare that Must be Practiced and not Just Understood in Theory
As mentioned in the previous section the Ministry of Magic decided that students would only be taught the theory behind Defense Against Dark Arts. They believed that students had no need to learn how to defend themselves. Nothing embodies this belief more than Delores Umbridge, who has been appointed by Ministry of Magic as the new Defense Against Dark Arts teacher. She refuse to teach students at all. Her method of educating students is to have them read from their textbooks for her entire lesson. She even goes so far to ridicule students (especially Harry) who disagree with her method of teaching.
Also, as previously mentioned this lead Hermione and Ron to create an organization to teach themselves and their fellow students how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts. Why was this so important? By forming this club they showed the power that actually learning how to fight the forces of evil can have. The students that initially met with Harry, Ron and Hermione in the Hog’s Head tavern were only there to learn how to defend themselves. However, as the group progresses in their lessons and agree on a name, D.A. (Defense Association/Dumbledore’s Army). They come to believe that Harry, Ron and Hermione are telling the truth and they also become willing to stand and fight with them.
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. It collapsed with a great crash.”Matthew 7:24-27 CSB
Those who choose to build their lives on a solid foundation will be able to withstand the storms that life will throw at them. Having a solid practical knowledge of spiritual warfare is the solid foundation that your life should be built on.
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit — which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.Ephesians 6:10-18 CSB
In addition to telling us to stand against the forces of evil, Paul also tells us to put on the armor of God. Why is the armor of God so important? The armor of God is what enables us to fight the devil and his schemes. The armor that Paul describes is the armor of a Roman legionnaire. Many of you will read this passage and mistakenly believe that the sword is the most important part of this armor. However, that is not the case. To the Roman legionnaire his sword was only used as a last resort. I believe that the most important part of the armor of God is the shield of faith. Why? Simply because the shield described here is the Roman shield that could be locked together with other shields and form this unbreakable wall. This is what the D.A. was all about and it is, also, what spiritual warfare is all about. You cannot fight the devil alone. You must stand together with those who believe the same things that you do, regardless of whether or not they look the same as you.
The Danger of Officials (whether Political or Religious) seeking to Rule over People Rather than Empowering Them
Under Dumbledore and other past Headmasters/Headmistresses Hogwarts used the prefect system. Under this system students were empowered to control and police themselves. This allowed the students to learn not only how to be leaders, but it also allowed them to develop trust for their other students.
However, under Delores Umbridges regime the prefect system was undermined by her creation of the Inquisitorial Squad. This was her attempt to exert control over the students of Hogwarts by creating an environment of fear and intimidation. This environment of fear and intimidation is the exact opposite of what the prefect system created. It was this environment that eventual lead to Umbridges downfall as Headmistress of Hogwarts.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, and yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, but gulp down a camel!Matthew 23:23-24 CSB
Jesus had harsh words for those in positions of authority who sought to abuse their power. Yes those who are in positions of authority should be respected, but that does not mean that you should allow them to blindly guide along the wrong paths. This is exactly what Delores Umbridge did during her short time at Hogwarts and it is exactly what so many people in positions of authority do in our world today. Remember that those who are positions of authority should be looking to empower people and not just rule over them.
The Power of Love that Alone can Defeat Evil
Hagrid’s love for his half-brother Grawp is what lead Hagrid to bring Grawp back home with him rather than leave him with the giants. It was Hagrid’s love for Grawp is what lead him to try and teach him how to be civilized. It was Hagrid’s love for Grawp that lead him to ask Harry and Hermione to look out for him if Hagrid was fired from his post at Hogwarts.
When Harry sees a vision of Sirius being tortured by Voldemort at the Ministry of Magic. Harry decides he has to go and rescue Sirius. However, Hermione gets Harry to agree that they need conformation of Sirius’ actual capture before they go rushing off to rescue. This leads to Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Neville being captured by Umbridge and her Inquisitorial Squad. After their escape from Umbridge the Inquisitorial Squad Harry is going to go rescue Sirius by himself. However Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Neville convince Harry that he cannot do this alone and that they will not let him do it alone. This shows the tremendous amount of love that Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Neville have for each other. It is this love that allows them to fight the Death Eaters to stand still within the Ministry of Magic.
If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.1 Corinthians 13:1-13 CSB
Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love — but the greatest of these is love.
Remember that love is what conquers all. And that without love you are nothing.
Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high espirt de corps of the Rangers.
Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster and fight harder than any other soldier.
Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred-percent and then some.
Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.
Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.
Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor.
Everyone should recognize the words written above. If you don’t they are the words to the Ranger Creed. Why am I including them here? Because Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Neville displayed every single one of the characteristics of the Ranger Creed. It these characteristics that prove useful as they continue in their battle against the forces of evil.
How can you apply this to your life? Very simply choose to stand and fight for what you believe in. Give your all matter the circumstances you find yourself in. And most importantly place your trust in the one who will never let you down and the one gave his life so that you can live. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Neville had this trust. The question is will you.