What Harry Potter can Teach us About Politics

I’ve mentioned before that Sam and I have been reading Harry Potter together (yes, outloud; and yes, with voices.) There’s a famous blogger who once explained English politics and aligned different parties with different houses in order to help her foreign readers make sense of the English political system. Now she made Gryffindor House into the Tories and with all due respect to her opinion, this is blatantly false. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Uncle Vernon is reading “The Daily Mail” (a conservative English paper) so I fail to see a way that Harry would ever join a house that Uncle Vernon too would have been a part of if he would have been a wizard. Therefore, Gryffindor does not equal Tory. But I digress.

Harry Potter might not teach us about which political party is which in Great Britain there are some great political lessons in the series.

rhyme and ribbons
You can see my original post on Platform 9 3/4 here.

#1 People in power aren’t necessarily right. Remember when the Ministry of Magic decided to ignore Dumbledore and Harry’s warnings that Voldemort was rising and reforming? Bad decision. Or when they were fairly evenly inflitrated by Death Eaters? No bueno.

#2 Don’t blindly ally yourself to one party. Always question why you are following a certain path. Remember, if Mrs Malfoy can turn her back on Voldemort than you can occasionally question the intentions and convictions of your leaders.

#3 News sources aren’t always accurate. I have two words for you: Rita Skeeter

#4 People are often products of their environments. There are many examples of classically dislikable characters who’s faults can be traced to their upbringing and background. IE, Draco, Dudley, and Voldemort himself.

#5 Stand up for what you believe in because you don’t know how great the reprocussions of your actions may be. We can probably guess what would have happened if Harry, Ron and Hermoine hadn’t stood up to You-Know-Who, but what if Neville hadn’t? Everything would have gone to hell. Power to the little guy.

#6 Inequalites can be built into the “system” but that doesn’t make them right. There are many examples of this in the wizard world. The treatment of house-elves, werewolves, giants was all appalling and systematic.

#7 Don’t judge someone based on the past. IE, Professor Snape. We all hated him. Let’s admit it. And then by the end of Death Hallows we wanted to beg his forgiveness.

(Yes, I did seven points because there are 7 books.)

professor lupin's wand
Lupin’s wand.
But let’s face it: the main reason to read the Harry Potter series is because it is fabulous.

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