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Harry&Ginny2

The power of love, demonstrated between Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley

"There is a room in the Department of Mysteries that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than the forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all."
Albus Dumbledore[src]

Love is a deep, powerful, and ineffable emotion of attachment to, and affection for, another being or beings.[1] It gives those who experience it the ability to do very great things. Someone full of hate, such as Tom Riddle, who has never known it even once in their entire life, cannot understand love's full magical properties. Love is one of the hardest and strongest kinds of magic and as such, there is a room devoted to the study of it in the Department of Mysteries. Love is also quite possibly the most mysterious branch of magic and is extremely difficult to comprehend.

There is a difference between true love and a simple, short-term infatuation, such as a crush, as Harry Potter developed a crush on Cho Chang, but their relationship broke apart from various misunderstandings and quarrels, and Harry losing interest in Cho altogether.

History

11th century

376px-Helena

Helena Ravenclaw

The Bloody Baron had fallen in love with Helena Ravenclaw, but she did not reciprocate, and rejected his many advances, the last one leading to him impulsively killing her, and then himself out of regret.[2] Helena never found true love due to never having found a man worthy of her standards.[3]

12th century

Cadmus Peverell fell in love with a woman, but she died before the two could be wed. After creating the Resurrection Stone (though in the story version, Death gave it to him), he used it in an attempt to bring his late lover back to him, but this "revival" was incomplete and she was sad and cold, giving off the feeling of the two were still separated. Cadmus was driven mad by being unable to be with his love in this life, so he committed suicide to be truly reunited with her.

1890s

In 1899, Albus Dumbledore's love for his brother and sister pushed him to turn against his old friend Gellert Grindelwald and attack him, finally defeating him in 1945.[2]

1920s

"I believe that Merope, who was deeply in love with her husband, could not bear to continue enslaving him by magical means. I believe that she made the choice to stop giving him the potion. Perhaps, besotted as she was, she had convinced herself that he would by now have fallen in love with her in return. "
Albus Dumbledore on Merope's tragic relationship with Tom Riddle Sr.[src]

In 1925, Merope Gaunt had fallen deeply in love with Tom Riddle, and betrayed her family's beliefs in blood purity to be with her love. She used a Love Potion in order to attract Riddle to her, but ceased feeding him it once she was pregnant, thinking that Tom would finally love her in return or at least stay for their unborn child out of love for it, of which Tom did neither. The usage of a love potion for Tom Marvolo Riddle's conception is symbolic for his inability to understand love for his entire life as it was due to coercion rather than true love.[4]

1970s

Around 1977, James Potter's love for Lily Evans changed his character a little by the fact that he stopped hexing people just for fun.[5]

Bellatrix may have married Rodolphus Lestrange out of obligation for her her family's beliefs, but her true love is Lord Voldemort.[6] Voldemort, on the other hand, did not reciprocate, as he cannot understand love due to his upbringing, although he does value Bellatrix's talents and loyalty. Unlike their eldest sister, Andromeda and Narcissa married their respective spouses out of true love, and in Andromeda's case, went against her family's beliefs, which led her to be disinherited.

1980s

"The Boy Who Lived. How lies have fed your legend Harry. Shall I reveal what really happened that night thirteen years ago? Shall I divulge how I truly lost my powers? Yes, shall I? It was love. You see, when dear sweet Lily Potter gave her life for her only son...she provided the ultimate protection. I could not touch him. It was old magic. Something I should have foreseen. But no matter, no matter. Things have changed. I can touch you... now!"
Voldemort reflecting on his first defeat[src]

In 1981, Severus Snape's love of Lily Evans pushed him to join the Order of the Phoenix, even though he hated her husband, and then Snape begged Lord Voldemort to promise to spare her when he went to kill her son Harry.[2]

Potters3

James and Lily Potter with their infant son Harry

In that same year, James's love for his wife and son caused him to stand face to face with the darkest wizard in a century (Lord Voldemort) on his own in an effort to give his wife and child time to escape. Also in the same night Lily's love for her son Harry protected him against Lord Voldemort. He became the only known person in history to survive the Killing Curse because of the power of her loving sacrifice.[7] However, it could be that while love was the motive, the cause of Harry's protection was that Lily had lured Voldemort into a binding magical contract so that having killed her, he would be unable to kill Harry, because he had already promised to spare Lily, and only her offer allowed him to kill her.[2]

After Barty Crouch Jr. was imprisoned in Azkaban, his mother persuaded his father to help break him out. Crouch Sr. agreed out of love for his wife, even though he did not love his son at the very least. Winky the house-elf, who also loved Barty Jr., cared for him with a sense of motherly affections, though Barty believed that it was pity and duty.[8]

1990s

1991-1992 school year

Albus Dumbledore: "Harry, do you know why... Professor Quirrell couldn't bear to have you touch him?... It was because of your mother. She sacrificed herself for you. And that kind of act leaves a mark... This kind of mark cannot be seen. It lives in your very skin."
Harry Potter: "What is it?"
Albus Dumbledore: "Love, Harry. Love."
Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter.[src]
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Quirrell inability to touch Harry in 1991

On 4 June, 1992, because of the protection that Lily Evans's death created for Harry Potter, (when she lovingly sacrificed her life for him), Professor Quirinus Quirrell could not touch Harry without serious harm to his physical well-being, his body started to crumble and deteriorate, when he came into contact with Harry's skin. In doing so, this led to Professor Quirinus Quirrell's death and Voldemort was once again without a body to possess[7] and was unable to return to power without a corporeal form of his own.

1992-1993 school year

On 29 May, 1993, the love for Ginny Weasley and Hermione Granger caused Ron Weasley and Harry Potter to head down to the Chamber of Secrets to rescue Ginny from the heir of Slytherin (Tom Riddle Jr./Lord Voldemort).[9]

1993-1994 school year

On the 6 June, 1994, the love for his godfather (Sirius Black) and the prospect of living with him instead of the Dursleys gave Harry Potter a powerful and happy enough memory to conjure a incredibly powerful corporal Patronus and drive away hundreds of Dementors.[10]

1994-1995 school year

On 24 June, 1995, Harry managed to escape from the Little Hangleton graveyard and Lord Voldemort when the echos of some of his loved ones came to him through the effect of Priori Incantatem.[8]

1995-1996 school year

"I cared about you too much. I cared more for your happiness than your knowing the truth, more for your peace of mind than my plan, more for your life than the lives that might be lost if the plan failed. In other words, I acted exactly as Voldemort expects we fools who love to act."
—Dumbledore on his feelings for Harry[src]

In 1996, his love for Sirius again helped him, when his grief over his godfather's death overcame Voldemort's attempt to possess him and forced him out of his mind. In that same year Dumbledore ignored Harry, thinking that this would prevent Voldemort from using the connection with Harry Potter to gain insight into his own mind because Voldemort would sense he cared "too much" about Harry and would be eager to use their relationship to gain access to Dumbledore's mind and knowledge of the activities of the Order of the Phoenix.[5]

1996-1997 school year

Harry&Ginny

Harry and Ginny kiss in 1997

In 1997 it is revealed that the pain inflicted upon Voldemort when Harry forced him out of his mind scared him away from attempting the same tactic again. Harry Potter's love for Ginny Weasley was shown when he entered into the common room after the Quidditch match that took place during his detention with Professor Snape and ended up kissing her and it also drove him to leave her in fear of her being a target of Lord Voldemort.

In that same year, Harry's love for Professor Albus Dumbledore pushed him to attack Severus Snape with one of his own spells. Draco Malfoy's love for his family pushed him to attempt to kill Dumbledore, even though he really did not want to. Fleur Delacour asserted her love for Bill Weasley even after he was horribly scarred in battle by Fenrir Greyback. Her declarations prompted Tonks to once again impress upon Remus Lupin she did not care about his being a full werewolf, older than her, or that he was poor and that she loved and wanted to be with him anyway.

1997-1998 school year

" [...] Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love."
Albus Dumbledore.[src]

Their love for Harry motivated Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley to accompany him on the Horcrux hunt, leaving their families and risking their lives.[11] When the Harry, Ron and Hermione were taken to Malfoy Manor, Ron begged Bellatrix to interrogate him instead of Hermione because he deeply loved her.

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Ron with Hermione, whom he later married.

During the Battle of Hogwarts, Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy's love for their son motivated them to look for him instead of fighting. Molly Weasley's love for her daughter Ginny Weasley made her face Bellatrix Lestrange herself and said that no student should help her. Ron and Hermione began in the battle one of the most powerful relationships in wizardkind. In the end, Harry's love finally destroyed Lord Voldemort once and for all.[2] Harry's love for his friends and love ones caused him to sacrifice himself to Voldemort. This conferred a certain amount of protection on Harry's allies, making it so that spells Voldemort tried to place on them, including Silencing Charms and a Full Body-Bind Curse, quickly wore off.[12] This love was what made Harry different from Voldemort. He had something worth fighting for while Voldemort could never understand the power of love. Harry's love for people even made him offer Voldemort a final chance of redemption.

Harry Potter's love for Ginny Weasley (his future wife) made her the last person he thought about before facing his own death.

Love in literature

"Now you are healed and will know true love!"
—The maiden.[src]

Love and magic

"You are protected, in short, by your ability to love! The only protection that can possibly work against the lure of power like Voldemort's! In spite of all the temptation you have endured, all the suffering, you remain pure of heart, as pure as you were five years ago, when you looked into a mirror that reflected your heart's desire. Harry, do you have any idea how few wizards could see what you saw in that mirror?"
Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter in 1996.[src]
Tonks-Patronus

Nymphadora Tonks's werewolf Patronus.

Love has a profound effect on magic. Lily Evans's love for her son made her willing to die for him, and because of that sacrifice, Harry Potter was protected from very powerful Dark magic — the Killing Curse.[2] Love is the only protection against the lure and power of the Dark Arts, which are fueled by hateful emotions.[11] Harry failed to learn Occlumency in order to block his connection to Lord Voldemort's mind, but he managed to block the link when he focused on his feelings for his loved ones, such as when he felt grief over his godfather's death,[5] and when he was frantic with worry about Hermione Granger when she was being tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange.[2] Those who are filled with hatred, such as Tom Riddle and Quirinus Quirrell, can be inflicted great pain and even death by the power of love.

Love can also affect other types of magic, notably the Patronus. Harry's Patronus is the same as the Patronus and Animagus form of his father, a stag.[10] James' wife (Lily Evans) had a doe Patronus to match her husband's and Severus Snape's mimicked hers because of his love for her.[2] Nymphadora Tonks's Patronus changed to a werewolf when she fell in love with Remus Lupin.[11]

Love Potions, like Amortentia, and Entrancing Enchantments, are meant to artificially create love, but they cannot; nothing can reproduce love. Instead, they can at most produce an intense infatuation. When a person smells Amortentia, they will smell things that remind them of what and who they love.[11] Within the Love Room of the Department of Mysteries is where love is being studied, and a large fountain of Amortentia is kept.

It appears that those who abuse the power of love, or apply it for the sake of those who have an affinity for the Dark Arts, usually suffer some severe backlash, based on the First Law of the Fundamental Laws of Magic. A prime example is seen when Merope Gaunt used enchantments to subjugate the man she genuinely loved, only to be abandoned and left to die in despair (along with her magical powers being drained from the sorrow) when she lifted the control out of her besotted believe, and giving birth to a loveless being who would create a campaign of hatred for many decades before that being is left to suffer a terrible after-death fate due to his lack of understanding of love. Also, despite Mrs. Crouch and Winky truly loving Barty Crouch Jr. and forfeited many of their own benefits for his sake, he was utterly ungrateful, and instead let their sacrifices be in vain (if not for the worse) as he abused their affections and returned to the Dark Arts, which led to his worse-than-death fate.

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