There is no good and evil there is only power
Interesting, why do you consider harry potter is a dystopia?
I find it impossible to think of Harry Potter as anything BUT a dystopia. Even Hogwarts itself is a dystopia.
Children are segregated based on a personality test at age 11, and then left to fulfill roles that were set out a thousand years ago, leading to cultural divides that continue for the rest of their lives. The Hogwarts house system is one of the main foundations of the pureblood/muggleborn divide in HP. And I haven’t even gotten into the issues with how Hogwarts is run, how useful it is as a tool for preparing people for adult life, and how dangerous it is to live there.
As for Wizarding Britain at large:
- There’s no evidence that the Ministry of Magic is organized by anything other than cronyism.
- The Minister for Magic is not a democratically elected leader.
- Voldemort easily finds a foothold in mainstream, society (even within living memory of his last reign of terror!) and his supporters easily infiltrate the government and implement all sorts of nightmarish and bigoted policies.
- There’s surprisingly little evidence of people working to innovate any aspect of wizarding society, with the exception of eccentrics like the Weasley Twins or Luna Lovegood.
- Purebloods find it bizarre if a witch or wizard takes much interest in muggle culture, even if they are muggleborn.
- Umbridge is allowed to torture children and spread propaganda at the only major educational institution in the country.
- There’s a huge amount of discrimination relating to non-human races throughout the wizarding world, particularly House Elf slavery.
I could go on at some length on this topic, but instead I’ll finish with my pet theory: that Wizarding Britain is so fucked up that the rest of the wizarding world has just given up on it.
We know from the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament that there are plenty of magical cultures all over the world, but Britain receives NO kind of international help when Voldemort is on the rise or when the Ministry of Magic is in turmoil.
Obviously the “real” explanation is that the Voldemort/Harry/Hogwarts narrative must to be isolated for Harry’s story to be told… but I still quite like the explanation that Wizarding Britain has been abandoned by the rest of the world. Their society has become so warped, so backward and so beholden to irrational beliefs and traditions that other international wizarding powers have decided the situation is unsalvageable.
There’s no point in stepping in to get rid of Voldemort unless he becomes a threat overseas, because another Dark Lord will probably rise up in a few years anyway. And Wizarding Britain seems functionally incapable of defending itself from this threat without the help of Harry and his team of teen sidekicks — who by the end of the series are all suffering from PTSD because they have spent their formative years fighting in a dystopian war.
(P.S. Even if my pet theory ISN’T true, then the international wizarding community must still have SOME reason not to step in and help Britain fight back against Voldemort. Which, in itself, makes the world of Harry Potter seem even more dystopian than before.)
ok but hear me out- what about a lightning bolt scar that looked like real lightning?
Totally fascinating research into how reading shapes political beliefs.
ron, harry & hermione!
i like to imagine that after the war ends & everything gets cleaned up, the three of them get a flat together while they recuperate & try to figure out where to go from there. and they all have a tough time of it at first, but eventually they create someplace all of them can call home.
… “You must have shown me real loyalty down in the Chamber. Nothing but that could’ve called Fawkes to you.” That’s the very first thing Dumbledore thanks and praises Harry for. Not for rescuing Ginny, or saving the school from the basilisk, or for keeping Voldemort from coming back, but for loyalty.
Dumbledore judges the people he works with based first and foremost on how loyal they are to him. Not because he thinks he’s all that, but because, as I said, he views people as game pieces, and you can’t have your game pieces acting up, can you? He values his pieces. He wants to advance and protect them. But he doesn’t want them running off beyond his sphere of influence and doing their own thing. I think there’s something very ambiguous about Dumbledore’s habit of seeking out desperate, socially outcast people and doing them one or two huge favors that leave them bound to him for life. Remus, Hagrid and Snape all fit that pattern, and Trelawney and Firenze appear to join the ranks in OOP. It kind of makes me wonder what Dumbledore has done for Fletcher, Moody and Shacklebolt.
…The problem with Sirius is, he’s not loyal to Dumbledore at all; he’s loyal to Harry. From Dumbledore’s point of view, it’s as if he’s playing wizard chess, and one of the knights suddenly decides that he doesn’t care what happens to the king, he’s just going to take care of that little pawn on the left. So Dumbledore does the only thing he thinks he can do — he sticks his recalcitrant knight into a safe, isolated corner of the board and keeps him from making any moves. Perfectly sensible and strategically sound, as long as you don’t expect your game pieces to have any pesky emotions or psychological issue that need to be taken into account.
…Dumbledore’s actions at Hogwarts are another symptom of his general approach. He doesn’t treat it just as a school, but also as an instrument in his strategy. People like Snape, Hagrid and Trelawny — all lousy teachers, in very different ways — are given their jobs as perks, because of their past of future usefulness to the Order, and because it strengthens their bonds of loyalty to Dumbledore.
OTOH, look at Lupin, who is a talented teacher. Why wasn’t he hired before Harry’s third year, especially given the difficulty of finding qualified DADA professors? My theory is that Dumbledore didn’t consider it necessary. As far as he knew, Lupin was already totally loyal simply because Dumbledore had allowed him to attend Hogwarts. There was no need to bribe him with a job. He was hired only when his familiarity with Sirius became an important factor. Once Sirius proved not to be a threat, Lupin was allowed to resign…
Bloomsbury Children’s Books revealed the complete set of new Harry Potter covers today! They’re so beautiful. Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite, if you couldn’t tell. They’re published on 1st September in paperback and hardback, and illustrated by Jonny Duddle.
If you were asleep when I posted these this yesterday morning, here they are again! Which is your favourite?
Things Dumbledore Did That’d Be Creepy If You Did them
the stupidest thing in the entire harry potter series was when they go down to the slytherin dormitory and it’s all dark and slimy and freezing and shit. as if lucius malfoy would let his son live in squalor like that. the house with the highest concentration of spoiled purebloods are happy to live under the goddamn lake? no.
wow this is the #1 best harry potter criticism i have ever read
the essential dichotomy of the two very different things jkr seemed to be trying to embody in slytherin which are just not compatible if you ask me.
you’ve got the malfoy side of slytherin. blood purity, deliberate class metaphors, deliberate race metaphors. this kind of slytherin is all about old wealth, british identity, and privilege-based violence. the malfoys are SUPER WHITE they are the WHITEST WHITE, and with that goes this image they project as benevolent philanthropists, while they privately (and then not so privately) degrade and exploit and abuse those they consider categorically lesser (muggle borns, house elves, people poorer than them, etc). this is the slytherins-are-privileged-racists side of the house traits.
the other side has always kind of struck me as jkr’s-privilege-seems-to-have-led-her-to-use-racist-tropes-to-make-slytherins-more-loathesome side of things. it’s the snape side of slytherin. the side embodied by snakes (and all that weight of judeo-christian inflected nastiness they are supposed to carry). why is the house of POWERFUL pureblood families not represented by some animal associated with institutional power in britain (like I DON’T KNOW A FUCKING LION). this version of slytherin is the kind of evil that is “obvious” because everyone knows snakes are bad (just like rats are bad!!! :|). everyone knows the guy with the black eyes, the greasy hair, the “”“”“sallow”“”“” complexion, and the hooked nose (always comes back to the Ambiguously Ethnic thing doesn’t it) is evil. you know it even before he says a fucking thing. you can tell he’s evil by his body, by his phenotype. because this shit doesn’t exist in a vacuum and like it or not, certain traits have a history of being coded in certain ways, racially/ethnically speaking. the idea of sneakiness, of cleverness, of ruthlessness and questionably moral doing-what-it-takes-to-get-ahead, none of that is coded ROBUST HETEROSEXUAL WHITE CHRISTIAN let me tell you that. slytherins are bad at sports (not like the VIGOROUS HEALTHY GRYFFINDORS) and when they do get close to winning it’s by cheating.
but the thing is if you are running the system, you don’t need to cheat the system. the two sides of slytherin just don’t mesh together.
THIS IS SUPER INCOHERENT I need to structure this into something formal with capitalization when I’m not quite so beset with insomnia and inarticulate rage. I’M NOT EVEN A SLYTHERIN. I just care because if JKR had been really serious about the radical and anti-authoritarian message she seemed to WANT for harry potter, it would have been gyffindor that was the dangerous, privileged, racist house. that’s the house with the traits associated with POWER, and so much of that second slytherin has been associated with groups that are ruthlessly marginalized.
this old post explains it pretty well actually, the antisemitism / anti-foreigner sentiment seething just beneath the surface.
i love harry potter but sometimes i fucking hate harry potter you know?
victims of the 90’s
you never know when the desire to draw Luna Lovegood is gonna hit you… but it’s useless to fight it.
A Harry Potter AU where everything’s exactly the same, except the house elves look like Lord of the Rings elves and Dobby’s, like, played by Orlando Bloom. But they’re still not allowed to have clothes
orlando bloom hitting himself in the face with a lamp
twelve year old Daniel Radcliff shoving a nearly-naked Orlando Bloom into his closet