| Quote #1
As neither Dudley nor the hedge was in any way hurt, Aunt Petunia knew he hadn't really done magic, but he still had to duck as she aimed a heavy blow at his head with the soapy frying pan. Then she gave him work to do, with the promise he wouldn't eat again until he was finished.
While Dudley lolled around watching and eating ice cream, Harry cleaned the windows, washed the car, mowed the lawn, trimmed the flower beds, pruned and watered the roses, and repainted the garden bench. The sun blazed overhead, burning the back of his neck. Harry knew he shouldn't have risen to Dudley's bait, but Dudley had said the very thing Harry had been thinking himself...maybe he didn't have any friends at Hogwarts. (1.86)
First off, Harry is twelve. This is an insane amount of work that Aunt Petunia makes him do, underlining once more that the Dursleys are abusive jerks. What's interesting about this scene, though, is that, as unfair as it is that Aunt Petunia tries to hit Harry with a frying pan and then sets him to work like a slave, it's not this treatment that seems to be truly bothering him. What's really getting to Harry is his worry that his friends don't like him anymore. If Harry really knew his friends still cared about him, it appears that he would be able to put up with this treatment with relative calm. This theme of friendship as more important than hardship or bad treatment is one that develops throughout the series.
| Quote #2
It was as though they had been plunged into a fabulous dream. This, thought Harry, was surely the only way to travel – past swirls and turrets of snowy cloud, in a car full of hot, bright sunlight, with a fat pack of toffees in the glove compartment, and the prospect of seeing Fred's and George's jealous faces when they landed smoothly and spectacularly on the sweeping lawn in front of Hogwarts castle. (5.68)
OK, aside from the Harry Potter series' important themes, it's also just really cool. This whole sequence of Ron and Harry's flying drive to Hogwarts reminds us why we all wish we were wizards: there are so many fun times! It seems fitting that Harry's sharing this "fabulous dream" with his best friend – part of the pleasure in this sequence comes from the fact that he's driving with Ron. J.K. Rowling gives plenty of play to the more serious side of friendship, since Harry needs support to get through his fight with Voldemort, but she doesn't forget that we have friends because it's fun (most of the time).
| Quote #3
They didn't know the new year's password, not having met a Gryffindor prefect yet, but help came almost immediately; they heard hurrying feet behind them and turned to see Hermione dashing toward them.
"There you are! Where have you been? The most ridiculous rumors – someone said you'd been expelled for crashing a flying car —" (5.181-182)
We adore Hermione, but for a twelve-year-old girl, she sounds surprisingly like Mrs. Weasley in her panic. She loves Harry and Ron, but she shows that love by scolding them mercilessly when they break the rules. She gets a little self-righteous at times – again, out of love and concern for her friends, but that doesn't mean it's not irritating. Do you have friends who show their affection that way? Does it ever get annoying? How do you cope with that annoyance?