This week is the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (known here in the U.S. as the Sorcerer’s Stone), J.K. Rowling’s first installment in the Harry Potter saga. I received the first three Harry Potter books for Christmas in 1999 when I was only eight years old and grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
As an adult, I have a newfound appreciation for the life advice in the series, particularly in my role as Legislative Director for the Chamber. I present to you: ten times Harry Potter was like working in politics:
- “Of course it is happening inside your head Harry, but why on earth would that mean it’s not real?”- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: This one is number one for a reason. If you can think it, we probably need a law regulating it. You know, just in case. Anyone that works in politics knows that there are days when you step into this weird alternate universe where facts aren’t considered facts, and completely made up facts can be facts.
- “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” –Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: If you’ve ever heard a gifted politician speak, they’re captivating, dynamic, and persuasive … truly magical. If you’ve ever heard a not-so-gifted politician speak, it would probably take magic to help them.
- “Really Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I'm afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time”― Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: If you work in politics or if you’re an elected official, there will always be someone that disagrees with you. No matter what your position on an issue is or what vote you take, it’s impossible to please everyone.
- "It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well."— Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Even though all legislators technically seek their candidacy, some of the most successful leaders I’ve seen have been those that have seen a need in their community and stepped up to fill a role. Despite the fun in this post, the Upstate is fortunate to have many of these leaders.
- "If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." — Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: This is really just true for life, but it’s all the more important when you’re working in industry where individuals trust you to represent them.
- “‘Why are they all staring?’ demanded Albus as he and Rose craned around to look at the other students. ‘Don’t let it worry you,’ said Ron. ‘It’s me. I’m extremely famous.’” — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: This typically happens in two situations: 1) The person you’re with is actually well known and people are staring, or 2) They wouldn’t be able to pick this person out of a lineup and they’re probably staring because you have toilet paper on your shoe (the much more likely scenario).
- “Dobby is Free.” – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: What I whisper under my breath every time I get out of a three-hour-long committee meeting or when the House and Senate decide to adjourn at 1:00 a.m.
- “‘You’re saying it wrong,’ Harry heard Hermione snap. ‘It’s Wing-GAR-dium Levi-O-sa, make the ’gar’ nice and long.’”- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Constitutional mustard. Physical impact. Nucular. Convefe. There are lots of hard words in politics. But luckily there’s always someone that’s more than happy to correct you.
- “Humans have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them.”- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: For anyone who has ever regretted their vote in an election.
And for some...
- “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.”- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Katie Busbee is the director of legislative affairs for the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and Upstate Chamber Coalition.