As we celebrate another Mother’s Day, let’s take a moment to realize the importance of mothers. A mother’s love can completely change the course of a person’s life. Nowhere in the nerdy world do we see this more than in the story of Harry Potter. Of the mothers in the Harry Potter story, we’re going to take a look at five significant ones. We will also talk about the impact that these mothers had on the lives of their sons.
Three of these mothers were very active in the lives of their children, while the other two were not around for very long. But just because they were not around does not mean that they did not make a lasting impression on their children.
The Mothers in Harry Potter
Children: Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, Ginny
Of the five mothers, Molly Weasley is the most matronly. Molly is fiercely protective of her children, very mother bear-like. Molly takes an active role in the lives of her children. She has a bit of a temper and is a strict disciplinarian, but is as quick with a hug as she is with a lecture or a scolding. One thing that sets Molly apart from the other mothers is that she is almost a mother to all. (Well, all who deserve it.) While in the stories, we really only see her interacting with her kids, Harry, and Hermione, we do get the sense that she would take that same role with other children. At times, we even see her become a mother to her husband, Arthur, and the members of the Order of the Phoenix. Molly loves her family and her friends and is utterly devoted to her children, even the ones that are right foul gits. Her love provides a safety net for her family, as well as creating a lasting connection between herself and her children. Even the surrogate ones. They can count on her and she can count on them, when it comes down to it, no matter what.
Children: Dudley, Harry (kind of)
Petunia is one of the most complex characters in the Harry Potter universe. Of the mothers in Harry Potter discussed here, she is the only Muggle. She dotes on her biologic son, Dudley, to the point of abuse. There has not been a request that Dudley has made that she has not bent-over backwards to grant. This has done great harm to Dudley, as he now has no self control and is a right git, as Ron might say. For Harry, her mothering was quite the opposite, and that has a lasting affect on him as well. Petunia treated Harry more like a servant than her nephew. The question that we must ask is did she always treat him as such? I don’t think that she did. One thing we know about Petunia is that she was resentful of her sister’s gifts but that she did still love her sister. More likely, Petunia started growing cold towards Harry when he started exhibiting his gifts. This is to be understood. Harry has, as we are constantly told, his mother’s eyes (though the movies don’t portray that particular detail). Every time Petunia looked into Harry’s eyes, she saw her sister. She saw her resentment towards her sister for her gifts and she felt the loss of her sister. As she is married to one of the most uncaring creatures in the wizarding world, she has no outlet for these feelings but to show disdain. The word that I think of when I think of Petunia is the word resentment. Not a particularly nice trait for a mother to have.
Narcissa is not a good person. She is an elitist and a racist. She is a known supporter of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and is married to a known Death Eater. She is firm in her beliefs that pure-bloods have the right to rule. However, she loves her son and from all accounts has been a good mother to young Draco. While Draco is not a nice person, he does not have the discipline problem that we see in Dudley or even in some of his friends. Draco is a driven and ambitious young man, though the ideals that have been instilled in him are questionable. Like most mothers, Narcissa is worried for her son. She asks Snape to protect him when Draco was tasked with killing Dumbledore. The most telling instance of Narcissa’s love her child comes during the battle for Hogwarts. A supposedly dead Harry is laying on the ground and Narcissa goes over to check on him. Seeing that he is not dead, she asks him if Draco is safe, to which Harry whispers that he is. Narcissa then tells Voldemort that Harry is dead. Later, after Draco and The Dark Lord’s creepy hug, she takes him and leaves, literally turning her back on Voldemort. Had Harry answered that Draco was dead, the entire scene could have played out differently. Her love for Draco roots her in humanity.
Lily Evans Potter
Harry’s mother died protecting him while he was still a baby. This is the most important thing to happen in Harry Potter. Had she killed Voldemort or died in any other way, there would be no story. It was her ultimate sacrifice that saved Harry. A mother’s love can literally change the world. Even though she was gone, her love protected him for many years. Lord Voldemort could not even touch Harry because Harry was protected. Harry had a special place for James Potter, to be sure, but throughout his young life it was the idea of his mother that drew his attention. As stated, he had his mother’s eyes and it was these eyes that Snape looked in and saw his love, Lily Evans. This caused Snape to protect the boy. Although Lily’s presence in Harry’s life was short, she is arguably the most important of the mothers in Harry Potter. Her sacrifice, her appearance in the Mirror of Erised, her appearance in the Priori Incantatum, and again through the Resurrection Stone, all had an immense impact on Harry’s life and the lives of those he sought to protect.
Children: Tom Marvolo Riddle
Just like a mother’s love can save and protect a child, the lack of a mother’s love can cause a child to grow evil and heartless. That is what happened to Tom Riddle aka Voldemort. His mother abandoned while he was a baby, a baby born of false love created by a love potion no less. Tom grew up in an orphanage and never felt maternal or really any love. (This is not to say that anyone that grows up without a mother is going to become a dark wizard.) How would his life have been different had this not happened? If he had been raised by Merope, even as a single mother, we can imagine that things would have been different. Harry and Tom really are two sides of the same coin. Both powerful wizards that lost their parents at a young age. One is good, the other turns evil… all because of their mother’s love or lack thereof.
There are other mothers in Harry Potter that we could discuss. Dumbledore or Hermione’s mothers, Neville’s grandmother, all of whom are very important to the story, as are motherly figures like Minerva McGonagall.
No matter which mother we talk about, they are all important. It might be fictional mothers like Lily Evans Potter, Marge Simpson, or Shmi Skywalker. They are important. It could be real ones like mine or yours. None are perfect, but all of them matter.