By Katie Cline, Editor-in-Chief
Ask anyone who knows me: there are few things I love more than love. There’s nothing about love that I don’t, well, love: weddings, proposals, promposals, love letters, cheesy love songs, hearing that your best friends finally started dating after a year and half of dancing around it—everything! Of course, I’ve been riding the “Single Ladies” bus since long before Beyoncé ever sang about it, so I don’t have a lot of firsthand experience when it comes to romantic love, but I have experienced every other kind of love there is. And there is one thing I love at least as much as (or maybe more so than) love, and that is “Harry Potter.”
The Ancient Greeks developed four terms for love (there are a few more, but these are the main ones): eros, storge, philia and agape. Eros is the romantic love that dominates Valentine’s Day. It can be superficial (like Harry and Cho) or deep (like Bill and Fleur). It’s what Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione and George and Angelina and Neville and Hannah have. But eros is just one part of love. No relationship can survive for long on eros (see Harry and Cho). There is so much more love to celebrate.
Philia is platonic love. It’s friendship. It’s brotherly. It’s Neville standing up for Harry in “Order of the Phoenix.” It’s Ginny and Luna bonding across House divides just because they like being around each other. It’s Hermione and Ginny sharing a look and understanding exactly what the other one means.
Storge is familial love, and it’s one of my favorites. Often times I find my friends straying into this territory, because storge is natural and accepting and sacrificial and forgiving. It’s deeper than eros or philia, and it lasts. It’s Harry and Hermione dancing in the tent. It’s the Weasleys taking Harry in as their own child and brother and never complaining.
And then there’s agape. Agape is total, unconditional love. It accepts the person for who they are. It doesn’t expect anything in return. Harry and Ginny have eros, obviously, but it grew from philia; somewhere along the line philia became storge, and I would say that by the epilogue of “Deathly Hallows” storge had become agape. (And I’ll give the exact same argument for Ron and Hermione, and I’ll fight you if you disagree.) But I also think that James and Lily personified agape when they died for Harry just like Remus and Tonks did when they died with Teddy in mind. I think Sirius felt agape love for Harry, James, Lily and Remus, too. Agape isn’t just for lovers.
The great thing about these loves is that they can coexist. It doesn’t have to be one or the other; it can be any or all. And on Valentine’s Day, we don’t have to celebrate just the romantic eros. I, for one, have more philia, storge and agape than I could ever deserve, and that’s what I’ll be celebrating, on Valentine’s Day and “always.”