The power of love, demonstrated romantically 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."
—The power of love[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.


11th century

"He tracked me to the forest where I was hiding. When I refused to return with him, he became violent. The baron was always a hot-tempered man. Furious at my refusal, jealous of my freedom, he stabbed me... When he saw what he had done, he was overcome with remorse. He took the weapon that had claimed my life, and used it to kill himself."
—Helena tells Harry the story of her and the Baron's death[src]

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]

Rowena Ravenclaw loved her daughter Helena greatly, as she never revealed her daughter's betrayal and desertion to others, and fell fatally ill from what legends describe as a "broken heart". Even in her deathbed, Rowena disregarded Helena's betrayal and her last wish was to simply see her daughter one more time.[2]

12th century

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Cadmus commits suicide over his lost love

Cadmus Peverell fell in love with a woman, but she died of unknown causes 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 by hanging himself from rafters to be truly reunited with her in the next life.

17th century

"Rage and magic could not wake them, but the terrified screams of their daughters broke the curse Gormlaith had laid upon them, which, like Gormlaith herself, took no account of the power of love."
—The power of love awakens Isolt and James Steward[src]
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Isolt prepares to duel Gormlaith in defence of her family

Around 1634 Gormlaith Gaunt tracked down Isolt Sayre (her niece who had escaped her) and placed her and her husband, Muggle James Steward, under a powerful curse that kept them in a deep sleep. Though it seemed nothing could wake them, the screams of their daughters broke through the enchantment, awakening the power of love.[4]

Also during this time, Webster Boot fell in love with a Scottish witch and the two married, settled in Britain, and had children together. Webster’s descendants would be educated at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, such as descendant Terry Boot.


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]


In 1913, Newt Scamander out of love for Leta Lestrange took the blame for one of her experiments. This experiment involved a Jarvey and it went wrong, endangering the life of another student. Rather than see his good friend expelled, Newt took the blame and was expelled from Hogwarts in her place.[5][6][7] This left him bitter, but still much in love with Leta.[8]


"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. "
Dumbledore regarding Merope Gaunt's tragic relationship with Tom Riddle Snr[src]
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Merope Gaunt staring longingly at Tom Riddle

In 1925, Merope Gaunt had developed an unhealthy attraction with Tom Riddle Snr, and betrayed her family's beliefs in blood purity to be with the man she desired. Riddle, however, was not interested in her, and thus she gave him love potion, thereby forcing him to marry her. After she fell pregnant, she stopped dosing Riddle with Love Potions, thinking that he would love her in return or at least stay to help raise their son. However, after regaining his free will, Riddle fled from Merope, returning to his family. Realising the abandonment is the confirmation that Riddle did not love her made Merope lose her will to live, to the point that she would not (or could not) perform magic any further.


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.[9]

Bellatrix may have married Rodolphus Lestrange out of obligation for her family's beliefs, but her true love is Lord Voldemort.[10] 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.


"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."
—Lord 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 murder her infant son Harry Potter.[2]

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Lily Potter being murdered by Lord Voldemort after she refuses to stop shielding her son

In that same year on Hallowe'en, James' 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 them time to escape. Also in the same night Lily's love for her son Harry protected him from Lord Voldemort. He became the only known person in history to survive the Killing Curse, because of the power of Lily's loving sacrifice.[11] 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]

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Albus stays by Harry's side, while witnessing the murders of James and Lily Potter

Also on Hallowe'en in 1981 (after travelling back in time) Ginny Potter's love for her husband was shown when she argues against Harry being the one to disguise himself as Voldemort in an attempt to lure Delphi into a trap.[12] She even offers to be the one disguised instead, but eventually coincides as both her and Harry agree it must be him, seeing as it is the only way.[13] Ginny was also unable to bear looking at Harry when he was wearing Voldemort's form, as it hurt her to see the man she loves dearly disguised as the man she hates.

On the same night the love that Albus Potter feels for his father Harry causes him to risk his own life in order to save him from Delphi, during the latter's duel in a church. This love is returned when Harry jumps in front of his son when a Killing Curse is aimed at Albus. Harry is later found after the battle to be furious at Delphi for even attempting to murder his child.[14]

After Barty Crouch Jr was imprisoned in Azkaban, his mother persuaded his father to help break him out. Crouch Snr 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. He instead let their sacrifices be in vain by returning to the Dark Arts, and as a result suffered the Dementor's Kiss.[15]


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 discussing the power of love with Harry[src]
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Quirrel's inability to touch Harry in 1991 because of Lily's loving sacrifice

On 4 June, 1992 because of the protection that Lily Potter'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[11] and was unable to return to power without a corporeal form of his own, bringing him back to being less than a ghost, Lily's love for Harry pushing back his return.

1992-1993 school year

Some time around 31 July, 1992, Ginny Weasley's romantic feelings for Harry drove her into hiding in his presence during his first visit to the Burrow. She later stood up for him against Draco Malfoy at the risk of being chosen among the Weasley children for Lucius Malfoy to plant Tom Riddle's Diary upon. Her love also prompted her to send Harry a Valentine's Day card, and later attempt to reveal to him and his best friend (her brother Ron Weasley) that she was responsible for opening the Chamber of Secrets. On 29 May, 1993, the love Harry Potter felt for his future wife (Ginny) caused him and Ron to head down to the Chamber of Secrets to rescue her from the Basilisk and the Heir of Slytherin.[16]

It is also revealed that after the events in the Chamber of Secrets that people shut Ginny out of their lives, but Harry came to her and played a game of Exploding Snap. Ginny claims that she also felt specific love from Harry since that day and that his love for her always made her feel stronger.[17]

1993-1994 school year

"With a patronus? I heard Snape telling Dumbledore. According to him, only a really powerful wizard could've conjured it."
Hermione Granger regarding Harry's powerful Patronus[src]
Stag Patronus

Harry Potter's stag Patronus fends of hundreds of Dementors

Some time around 31 July, 1993, Sirius Black's protective feelings for Harry drove him into escaping from Azkaban unaided after learning Peter Pettigrew was in the possession of the Weasley family and potentially a threat to Harry. Remus Lupin's love for Sirius made him believe of Sirius's innocence immediately after discovering Pettigrew was alive, despite initially believing Sirius was the traitor, and then reveal the truth to Harry, Ron and Hermione. On 6 June, 1994, the love Harry Potter felt for his godfather (Sirius) after discovering his innocence caused him and his other best friend (Hermoine Granger) to head back in time via a Time-Turner to rescue him from the Dementors. The prospect of living with him instead of the Dursleys gave him a powerful and happy enough memory to conjure a incredibly powerful corporal Patronus that drove away hundreds of Dementors, thus saving his past self, the past Hermione, and Sirius from the Dementor's Kiss.[18]

1994-1995 school year

On 24 June, 1995, Harry managed to escape from the Little Hangleton graveyard and Lord Voldemort when the echoes of some of his loved ones came to his aid through the effect of Priori Incantatem.[15]

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 affection for Harry[src]

In 1996, Rubeus Hagrid's love for his giant half brother Grawp made him bring Grawp with him back to Hogwarts, despite Grawp attempting to remain with the giant colony and attacking Hagrid as a result, and concerns that his attempts to tame Grawp were fruitless. The concern which Harry, Ron, and Hermione had for their friends after Voldemort's return made them form Dumbledore's Army to oppose Dolores Umbridge and teach practical defence against Voldemort, when Umbridge refused to teach defensive magic.

The love Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, and Ginny Weasley had for Harry, Ron and Hermione made them accompany the trio to the Ministry of Magic in an attempt to rescue Sirius Black from Voldemort, unaware it was a false vision Voldemort planted on Harry. Remus Lupin's love for Harry made him restrain Harry from running through the veil after Sirius's death, despite being devastated over losing his last surviving Marauder friend.

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Harry's love for others helped him overcome Voldemort's possession

Harry's love for his parents and Sirius again helped him, when his grief over their deaths overcame Voldemort's attempt to possess him and forced him out of his mind. Voldemort couldn't stand to be exposed to the emotions Harry felt and couldn't maintain control over him. 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.[9]

1996-1997 school year

"Harry looked around; there was Ginny running toward him; she had a hard, blazing look in her face as she threw her arms around him. And without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that fifty people were watching, Harry kissed her. After several long moments — or it might have been half an hour — or possibly several sunlit days — they broke apart."
—Harry finally expressing his feelings in 1997[src]

Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley kiss for the first time

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. Ginny Weasley's love for Harry Potter was shown to have became mutual all year 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 and grief over his death 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

Harry Potter: "I was ready to die to stop you from hurting these people —"
Lord Voldemort: "But you did not!"
Harry Potter: "— I meant to, and that's what did it. I've done what my mother did. They're protected from you. Haven't you noticed how none of the spells you put on them aren't binding? You can't torture them. You can't touch them."
— Harry and Voldemort face each other for the last time[src]

Their love and caring for Harry motivated Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley to accompany him on the Horcrux hunt, leaving their families and risking their lives.[19] When Harry, Ron, and Hermione were taken to Malfoy Manor, Ron begged and pleaded with Bellatrix to interrogate him instead of Hermione, because he deeply loved her. The love and loyalty which Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood and Ginny Weasley had for Harry, Ron and Hermione motivated them to reform Dumbledore's Army and oppose both the Carrow's and Severus Snape (who unknown to them was on their side) during Voldemort's control of Hogwarts. Xenophilius Lovegood's love for his daughter Luna drove him to abandon his public support of Harry and caused him to attempt to turn him, Ron, and Hermione over to the Death Eaters in order to get Luna back when she was abducted by them.

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Harry Potter willingly lets Voldemort hit him with the Killing Curse in order to protect his friends and allies

During the Battle of Hogwarts, Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy's love for their son motivated them to look for him and desert Voldemort instead of fighting. Molly Weasley's love for her daughter Ginny made her face Bellatrix Lestrange herself and said that no student should help her. Ron and Hermione also began in the battle one of the most powerful relationships in wizardkind. In the end, Harry's love for his friends caused him to sacrifice himself to Voldemort. This conferred a certain amount of protection on Harry's allies, making it so that the spells Voldemort tried to place on them, including Silencing Charms and a Full Body-Bind Curse quickly wore off.[20] 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. Also when it seemed that Harry had been murdered by Voldemort, Ginny was beyond heartbroken and screamed louder than anyone else.[20] The supposed death of her one love was enough to drive her to attack the incredibly powerful Bellatrix Lestrange alongside Luna, and Hermione.[20] Minerva McGonagall's love and concern for Harry made her grief over Harry's supposed death rival that of Ron, Hermione, and Ginny, and push her to duel Voldemort head on alongside Horace Slughorn and Kingsley Shacklebolt.


Scorpius Malfoy's desperation to restore Rose Granger-Weasley's existence to the timeline that he and Albus Potter accidentally altered by us of a Time-turner, shows that his interest in her is more than just a simple schoolboy crush and indicates that he is truly and deeply in love with her.[21]

Also in 2020 the love Harry and Ginny Potter feel for their son Albus and the love Draco Malfoy feels for his son Scorpius cause them to travel back in time in order to save them from Delphi. Indeed, Draco has expressed his love for his late wife and son in that he was willing to let his family's bloodline die for the sake of his wife's health, and that he raised their son to be a better person, away from their families' ancient prejudice, despite Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy's displeasure with their son's change.[22]


"And you know, again, there's this thread running through the books, what love does, and it raises people to the heights of absolute heroism, as in Lily, Harry, Neville. And it also leads them into acts of foolishness and even evil, which is Bellatrix and also Dumbledore. He became foolish. He lost his centre, his moral centre, when he became infatuated. So that's what it does, that's what makes it dangerous."
JK Rowling regarding love and its influence[src]
There is a difference between love and a simple, short-term infatuation, such as a crush. Harry Potter developed a crush on Cho Chang and their relationship broke apart from various misunderstandings and quarrels. Harry eventually lost interest in Cho altogether though he remained friends with her. Ginny had a crush on Harry since she was 11 which promoted her to send him a love letter on Valentine's day. This crush turned to love. True love has the power to change the form a Patronus takes, as proven with Nymphadora Tonks when she fell in love with Remus Lupin. There is also a difference between true love and obsession as true love meant someone doing everything for their beloved's happiness. On the other hand, obsessive love meant desperately attempting to be loved even though their true loves did not reciprocate their love, either through enchanting their lovers, or doing dangerous acts to please their lovers. This was the case with Merope Riddle for Tom Riddle, and Bellatrix Lestrange for Voldemort.

Love is also an incredibly dangerous emotion. It causes people to act in extreme ways, both bad and good. For example it gave Harry Potter and Lily Potter the strength needed to sacrifice themselves and gave Neville Longbottom the courage required to stand up to Lord Voldemort. It was also a motivator that drove Bellatrix Lestrange to commit all the heinous acts she had performed over the years. Bellatrix did this in the name of her obsessive love for the Dark Lord. It also caused foolishness in Dumbledore, when he momentarily forgot that Marvolo Gaunt's ring containing the Resurrection Stone was a Horcrux. In his haste to see his deceased loved ones again he put the ring on, this caused him to become infected with a lethal curse.

Other dangers of love is that it made Sirius Black so desperate to protect Harry from Peter Pettigrew after escaping Azkaban that he attacked the Fat Lady when she refused him access, and later frightened Ron Weasley after entering Gryffindor Tower with a knife. This was also shown when Voldemort, in his mission to uncover the prophecy, took advantage of Harry's love for Sirius by planting a false vision of him torturing Sirius, making Harry and his friends go to the Department of Mysteries in a vain attempt to rescue him, without realising it was a trap. These dangerous aspects of love are the main reason why the Love Chamber within the Department of Mysteries is always locked.

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?"
Professor Dumbledore regarding Harry Potter's nature[src]
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Harry Potter can conjure an incredibly powerful Patronus, in part due to his ability to feel love

Love has an incredibly profound effect on magic. Lily Potter's love for her son made her willing to die for him. Because of her loving sacrifice, Harry Potter was protected from very powerful Dark magic — the Killing Curse.[2] This protection was later strengthened when Voldemort arrogantly used Harry's blood to reinvigorate his body to the point that Harry could not be killed while Voldemort was still alive.

Love is the only protection against the lure and power of the Dark Arts, which come from hateful and spiteful emotions.[19] 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,[9] and when he was frantically worried about Hermione Granger when she was being brutally tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange.[2] Those who are filled with hate, such as Tom Riddle and Quirinus Quirrell can be inflicted great pain and even death by the power of love.


Nymphadora Tonks's wolf Patronus, once a rabbit

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's, a stag.[18] James' wife (Lily Evans) had a doe Patronus to match her husband's stag, which may have possibly been the same for Harry's wife (Ginny Weasley) to match her husband's as well, changing it from a horse. Severus Snape's mimicked Lily's doe Patronus because of his love for her.[2] Nymphadora Tonks's Patronus changed to a wolf when she fell in love with Remus Lupin.[19] Love can also enhance the power of a Patronus, as Harry's love for Sirius made him produce a Patronus so powerful that it could drive hundreds of Dementor's away.

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.[19] Within the Love Room of the Department of Mysteries is where love is studied, and a large fountain of Amortentia is kept. This fountain is the centre of the room and the Amortentia within it is very powerful.[23]

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. This subjugation led to her being abandoned and left to die in despair (along with her magical powers being drained from the sorrow), when she lifted the control off her besotted. She later gave birth to a loveless being who would create a campaign of hatred for many decades, and would eventually be left to suffer a terrible after-death, due to his lack of understanding of love. Also, despite Mrs Crouch and Winky truly loving Barty Crouch Jr and forfeiting 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). Since he abused their affections and returned to the Dark Arts, he suffered a fate worse than death.

Love in literature


The Fountain of Fair Fortune

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

External links


Notes and references