Hogwarts Dystopia

An amusing article about some of the darker implications of the Harry Potter universe:

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2017/06/why-wizarding-world-dystopian-totalitarian-nightmare

The House Elves being happy in slavery is, of course, hardly a new trope. It was a staple of pre-US Civil War literature, where the Southern State plantation owners tried to defend their system as being the natural order of things (“it was for the slaves’ own good!”). It’s just bizarre that this notion of the happy slave should resurface in a late twentieth century text that ostensibly pleas for social tolerance.

There is, however, one thing that the article misses: the chilling potential of Rowling’s Love Potion. Recall that this potion takes away one’s ability to consent, forcing infatuation on the victim, and is freely available in a setting where hormonal teenagers are running around with minimal supervision. The Wizarding World literally has a bona fide date rape drug, and no-one seems to care. Rowling herself takes pains to draw a distinction between infatuation and true love – hence her conclusion about Voldemort’s conception* – but if the imperius curse is Unforgivable, surely its potion equivalent is just as bad?

*A bizarre and offensive conclusion at that. Rowling thinks the manner of Voldemort’s conception is thematically fitting for his personality, as though he never had any Free Will of his own.

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