"After you left," he said in a low voice, grateful for the fact that Ron's face was hidden, "she cried for a week. Probably longer, only she didn't want me to see. There were loads of nights when we never even spoke to each other. With you gone…"
He could not finish; it was only now that Ron was here again that Harry fully realized how much his absence had cost them.
"She's like my sister," he went on. "I love her like a sister and I reckon she feels the same way about me. It's always been like that. I thought you knew." (19.90-92)
Here, we see three kinds of love emerge out of our trio of friends – the bromance between Ron and Harry, the sibling-like love between Harry and Hermione, and, finally, the romantic love between Ron and Hermione. Ooh la la. (About time.)
Xenophilius looked ghastly, a century old, his lips drawn back into a dreadful leer.
"They will be here any moment. I must save Luna. I cannot lose Luna. You must not leave." (21.85)
Xenophilius Lovegood here demonstrates the desperation of a distraught parent – he loves his daughter more than anything else, and is willing to turn Harry over (despite the fact that until now he's fully been on Harry's side) in order to ensure Luna's safe return.
The elf's eyes found him, and his lips trembled with the effort to form words.
And then with a little shudder the elf became quite still, and his eyes were nothing more than great glassy orbs, sprinkled with light from the stars they could not see. (23.131-133)
Dobby's love for Harry is the stuff of legend – the brave little elf is willing to die for his hero, and it's heartbreaking to see his loyalty, right up to the end.
His scar burned, but he was master of the pain; he felt it, yet was apart from it. He had learned control at last, learned to shut his mind to Voldemort, the very thing Dumbledore had wanted him to learn from Snape. Just as Voldemort had not been able to possess Harry while Harry was consumed with grief for Sirius, so his thoughts could not penetrate Harry now, while he mourned Dobby. Grief, it seemed, drove Voldemort out… though Dumbledore, of course, would have said that it was love… (24.8)
Is love really so different from grief, though? Harry's sorrow for the loss of those who have given themselves up for his sake is made a thousand times more bitter because of his love for them. Perhaps both of these things are what keep Harry closed off from Voldemort's mind.
"Funny thing, how many of the people my brother cared about very much ended up in a worse state than if he'd left 'em well alone." (28.55)
Aberforth observes a curious phenomenon about his brother's love – it often ended up hurting people, the very same ones he professed to love. Well, love does hurt, after all.
There was a clatter as the basilisk fans cascaded out of Hermione's arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet.
"Is this the moment?" Harry asked weakly, and when nothing happened except that Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. "OI! There's a war going on here!"
Ron and Hermione broke apart, their arms still around each other.
"I know, mate," said Ron… "so it's now or never, isn't it?" (31.120-123)
In times of desperation, it seems that the things that have been hidden beneath the surface all come out – such as Ron and Hermione's love for each other. No surprise here – we all totally saw that one coming.
"But this is touching, Severus," said Dumbledore seriously. "Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?"
"For him?" shouted Snape. "Expecto Patronum!"
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe: She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
"After all this time?"
"Always," said Snape. (33)
Snape's finest quality – his loyal love for Lily – informs the most intimate part of himself, his Patronus.
"NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" (36.78)
Language alert! We've see Mrs. Weasley upset before, but never really enraged – yet, here, after Bellatrix Lestrange threatened Ginny's life, this angry mama bear rushes out to savagely defend her cub. Her maternal love is the fuel to her fire, and she will do anything to save her family – like another mother we've just seen, Narcissa Malfoy.
"Is it love again?" said Voldemort, his snake's face jeering. "Dumbledore's favorite solution, love, which he claimed conquered death, though love did not stop him falling from the tower and breaking like an old waxwork? Love, which did not prevent me from stamping out your Mudblood mother like a cockroach, Potter – and nobody seems to love you enough to run forward this time and take my curse. So what will stop you from dying now when I strike?" (36.102)
After all these years, Voldemort still hasn't learned his lesson – love does matter, and it is a kind of power he'll never be able to master. Love as a motivation is what has undone him; we've seen it in everyone who's betrayed the Dark Lord, like Snape and Narcissa; people can't help but love, and it's the most powerful force in the world.
…and then [Ginny] was kissing him as she had never kissed him before, and Harry was kissing her back, and it was blissful oblivion, better than firewhiskey; she was the only real thing in the world. (7.42)
Ah, l'amour, l'amour. This is the one real moment of undiluted romance we get in the book, and it's so sweet – but, unfortunately for the two lovebirds, very brief. Here, Harry feels for the first time the utter consumption of real love.