Harry Potter metaphors: Seeing ‘Thestrals’

The enchanted world of Harry Potter enthralls not just children but also grown ups, and this fact has been proven by the response the books and the adapted films have received in the past decade. J.K. Rowling has wonderfully crafted her experiences into metaphors which are subtle and imaginative. This is the first of many short posts that I intend to write highlighting the ones that really appealed to me as I followed the story of ‘the boy who lived’.

A 'Thestral' with Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood in the background (Image courtesy: Harry Potter Wiki)

The fictional ‘Thestrals’ are unusual type of winged horses, who are almost always considered to be unlucky by wizards because they are visible only to those who have witnessed death at close quarters. They are supposed to be gentle animals, but often mistakenly perceived to be carnivorous with reptilian instincts. The peculiarity of their visibility is what makes them stand out amongst the various magical creatures. Obviously the wizards and witches have to have experienced some kind of pain or hurt to truly appreciate their existence, and grandeur.

We humans often undergo duress in our lives, be it in the personal sphere or in the professional circles. Our understanding of situations, people and emotions changes drastically over time depending upon the range of experiences we go through as we grow older. This phenomenon is also termed as ‘attaining maturity’, which is more of an ongoing process than a final destination. Our thinking becomes more rational and we perceive and handle situations better. A choice or decision for which we would have hesitated during our college days seems like a no-brainer a few years later. Heartaches and heartbreaks make us appreciate real love and value true friends. We tend to understand a person’s woes better if we have gone through them ourselves, or at least have an idea of how it feels to be there.

Not everyone has to go through such harshness, some people seem to have easy going lives. Not that its wrong on their part, maybe they expect less and adapt better than most individuals, but sometimes these people fail to deliver at crunch times, especially when the stakes are high, for example in sports like Cricket or Tennis when the games often have close finishes and holding your nerve is of paramount importance. At these times, it is the people that can see Thestrals, or in other words have been in demanding situations before, who are more likely to succeed.


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