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insight & trends
18 February 2022

7 life lessons from our favourite literary characters.

Fiction is inspired by real life; the characters, the love, the human connection. But in the same way, fiction inspires life. From the characters we grew up with, to the characters who comforted us on our darkest days and latest nights, to the ones we lost too soon. Fiction books contain anecdotes of universal truths and life lessons that have shaped us all in some magical way or another.

Take a look at 7 of the most profound life lessons we have learned from some of the best fiction books of all time.

1. You have to stand up for yourself (and others) – Matilda
Of the many noteworthy life lessons the Roald Dahl classic teaches us, one that stands out is the importance of learning to stand up for yourself and the people around you, no matter how difficult that may seem. Matilda teaches you about the strength in standing up for yourself and how you can overcome challenging people in your life by staying true to your values of being a good person.


2. Words are the “most inexhaustible source of magic” – Albus Dumbledore
In JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore is the beloved principal of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An inspiration to all he encounters, including readers, he proclaims that words are the “most inexhaustible source of magic”. They have the power to both hurt and heal. Hence why he insists that his students use the power of magic responsibly.


3. Friendship, loyalty and living in the present – Winnie-the-Pooh
Winnie-the-Pooh’s message of loyalty and friendship transcends the ages. In Pooh, there is a lesson for us all. One that holds a place in the heart of millions. One that shows us the importance of loyalty in friendship, being kind to others, and living in the present. Pooh is unafraid to try and learn new things. He is constantly learning from his friends and the world around him and isn’t ashamed of what he does not know. Pooh knows how to love, and embraces a world that needs more of it.

4. Good things take time – Fairy Godmother, Cinderella
One of the truest universal truths is that good things take time, and the fairy godmother from Cinderella agrees. “Even miracles take a little time,” she teaches audiences, young and old, that being patient will take you places. The wait is always worth it, even for the magical moments. It makes them all the more magical.

5. The most important form of courage is moral courage – Atticus Finch
Attic Finch is one of the most profound characters in literary history. He teaches us that moral courage is the most important type of bravery because it involves the strength to stick to your convictions and do the right thing, even when it seems like the world is against you. This is the most honourable thing you can do.

6. The sun will rise, and we will try again - Mowgli
Pain is inevitable, a reality we all know too well. But The Jungle Book’s Mowgli teaches us to focus on the positives amidst the darkness. “Things will look better in the morning,” Mowgli says, reassuring us that the sun will rise and we can start again, no matter the darkness we faced the day before.


7. Just because you may seem lost doesn’t mean you have no purpose – Bilbo Baggins
One of the most important lessons to learn, especially in today’s fast-paced and competitive world, is that “not all those who wander are lost.” Bilbo Baggins from The Fellowship of the Ring: The Riddle of Strider says it best. Some people may wander from pillar to post or job to job, but it doesn’t mean they have no purpose or won’t settle down. Each of us is on our own journey. Be proud of yours.

Where would we be without the magical impact of these beautifully simple life messages from our favourite literary characters? If you haven’t picked up a book in a while, maybe now’s a perfect time. After all, words are the “most inexhaustible source of magic” – Albus Dumbledore.

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