Harry Potter ranked #1 on this year's Top 10 Favorite Heroes / Heroines for World Book Day (see the full list here). While Mr. Potter and his friends (or enemies) are definitely helpful in teaching kids about "muggles", "the Ministry of Magic" and the "invisibility cloak", they could also teach kids important lessons about compassion. Here are 2 examples.
#1. Never look down on others because of their origins.
Draco Malfoy thought he was better than (almost) everybody else because his parents were powerful wizards. Hermione Granger, for one, was frequently ridiculed by Malfoy. But guess what? Hermione went on to become one of the smartest witches of her year. And Malfoy went down the dark path of working for Lord Voldemort, the most evil of dark wizards.
Where you come from does not, and should not matter. What matters is what type of person you are, and what type of person you aspire to be.
#2. When helping others, treat them as equals, not people who are inferior to you.
Hermione, with a strong sense of justice, created the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. Her goal was to help house elves achieve equal rights as humans.
Still remember the cute house elf Dobby? Hermione believed that it was wrong to "help" house elves only by treating them as beggars or inferior creatures. Giving them leftover food that we couldn't finish, for instance, was more about making us feel good about ourselves than about treating house elves as our equals.
The Harry Potter series provides lots of opportunities to talk to our kids about compassion. Moreover, the first few books focus on school life of teenagers, which may be easier for kids to relate to. Apart from being a hero of magic, Mr. Potter can also be a role model of compassion.