In the first chapter of J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book, the transfiguration professor Minerva McGonagall declares: “Every child in our world will know his name!” Her words turned out to be prophetic — the novel’s sequels went on to break records around the world. Now, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is being performed at the Palace Theatre in London; the story of the orphaned boy wizard who went to Hogwarts and defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort continues. But Harry Potter has never just been a story about magic. At its heart, it has always been a story about how love triumphs over evil.
Good and evil
There are all kinds of evil in the Harry Potter stories: from forbidden magic, to dark creatures, to Lord Voldemort — a man so feared that most wizards are too afraid to even speak his name. Harry and his friends fight to defeat evil, and often they win. But not without tragedy, and not without finding shades of grey in between.
Sabotage, seduction and a teenage Nazi-killer
Would you have joined the resistance in the Second World War? Freddie Oversteegen, a Dutch woman who blew up railway lines, hid Jewish children and shot Nazis from her bike, has died aged 92.
‘Small acts of kindness’ follow city’s attack
Manchester’s attack was an act of evil hate. But the reaction was a tide of goodness, of free rooms, hugs, taxis and cups of tea. Isn’t this the real story that we should all focus on?
Murder ‘superstar’ Charles Manson dies at 83
What made Charles Manson so evil? He never killed anyone himself, but the murders he ordered earned him unrivalled notoriety. Are masterminds like him worse than those who do their bidding?
“Do not pity the dead, Harry,” the Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore says. “Pity the living, and most of all, pity the ones who live without love.” It is Harry’s mother’s love which saves his life when he is a baby. And it is love, throughout all seven novels, which triumphs in the end.
The royal wedding preacher who stole the show
Can love change the world? Poverty, war and injustice could all be made history if we embrace the power of love. So declared Bishop Michael Curry in a show-stealing royal wedding sermon.
Tinder and the dating tech revolution
Has technology transformed dating for the better? Apps like Tinder have revolutionised the way people find partners, but some experts are warning this tech boom could be harming teenagers.
Parisian youth inspire new French resistance
War and destruction are dominating the debate after the weekend’s attacks. But the diverse, lively youth of the city have responded with a strong, peaceful defiance. Are they right?
Harry is an orphan, and he grew up without any love or care at his aunt and uncle’s house. So it is no wonder that his friends at Hogwarts become the most important people in his life. In Ron and Hermione he does not just find a makeshift family; he finds the people who will repeatedly save his life, and ultimately help him to save the world.
‘Do we really need friends?’ asks US novelist
Studies say friends make us healthier, happier, and less stressed. But in a recent article, author Richard Ford said he was “suspicious” of people with lots of friends. Are they overrated?
The friendly chatbot that mimics your voice
Artificial intelligence often inspires talk of the end of the world. But a new app has a far friendlier goal: to be a “lifetime companion” that imitates your personality. Is it a good idea?
‘Marauders’ Map’ lets you stalk friends online
Facebook has introduced a way to find exactly where in the world your friends are. While many see this as a useful tool, others fear it reflects a growing trend away from privacy.
“You’re a wizard, Harry.” The secret which is revealed on his 11th birthday transforms the young boy’s life. It opens Harry up to a hidden world beyond his wildest dreams — and readers everywhere have fallen in love with the bizarre and intoxicating magic he finds there.
Curses and crystals: meet the modern witches
Should we take witchcraft seriously? A surprising number of young women are becoming witches, and not just for Halloween. What does magic and mysticism have to offer the modern world?
Long-lost fairy tales unearthed after 150 years
Once upon a time, 500 fairy stories were lost in a dusty German archive. Now, von Schönwerth’s collection has been discovered – but why are we attracted to these fantastical tales?
Rowling under fire over Native American magic
Harry Potter author JK Rowling has been denounced for ‘cultural appropriation’ in a new series of stories. So what exactly is this misdeed? Is it new? And is JK Rowling in the wrong?
Muggle borns. Werewolves. Students in Hufflepuff. Throughout the series, characters are judged for things which are far beyond their control. Prejudice and discrimination are such powerful forces that they can cause devastating wars. Unfortunately, this is not confined to the wizarding world.
Javid: I was attacked by racist bullies too
Is Britain a racist country? Home Secretary Sajid Javid has claimed he was bullied for being Asian. His comments come after an attack on a Syrian refugee was filmed in a British school.
Shock report savages ‘cruel war’ on fat people
Should we be more fat positive? Yesterday, a widely shared article claimed that “everything you know about obesity is wrong.” It described a “futile war on fat people” that ruins lives.
Rising alarm over incidences of anti-Semitism
Is anti-Semitism on the rise again? Protesters in Britain have accused Jeremy Corbyn of letting anti-Semitism fester in his party. Some say the prejudice is growing across the Western world.