Tag Archives: Racism

Harry Potter Lessons: What I Think the Series Means

30 Mar

I’ve decided to do a series about Harry Potter. This is partially out of my obsession with the series and partially because I’m in between books with nothing to write. Either way, this is something that means a lot to me and I’ve been wanting to share for a long time. In this first post, I want to share my overall feelings about the series and in further posts, I’ll dive into individual lessons I learned. Look for those coming soon.

I understand that some people have not read or will not allow their children to read the series for various religious reasons that deal with witchcraft. When I hear of cases like this, I understand, but it makes me sad. There is so much in the series if you are able to look past the spells and magic. But that’s like saying you should buy a dress that fits you well if it’s a color you don’t like and doesn’t look good on you. If the premise doesn’t work, don’t force it.


Image via HarryMedia.com

For those who are able to get through the series, there are a lot of interpretations and key messages but for me, the theme has always been clear. Harry Potter is about the dangers of racism and prejudice. We’re introduced to a character with mixed blood purity who has to defeat a villain who, while also having mixed blood, believes in a purification of the population. Does this remind anyone else of this guy? He’s gathering an army around him to pick off those who the leader considers inferior and ruining the pure race through influence and inbreeding. I’m not even sure if I’m talking about Hitler or Voldemort anymore. Both were willing to kill to reach their goal and relied on devoted followers to carry out their bidding. There was a group seen as inferior (Muggles or Jews) that needed to be eliminated or controlled. Using fear mongering and displays of power, both were able to control their followers and carry out their agendas. That is, until the ‘light,’ the ‘good guys,’ the Allied Forces, and the Order of the Phoenix overcame that power in a series of battles that defeated the leader. Harry Potter is a warning that the evils of Hitler are can take shape in many forms and that we have to be strong like Dumbledor and Harry to keep that evil, that single-minded drive for power and control, at bay. It does matter if it’s the Aryan race (which Hitler was not part of) or purebloods (which Voldemort was not), there are groups that some find inferior and will work to defeat.

Image via the Sun

Image via the Sun

But Harry Potter overcame this evil. He saw that Hermione was as worthy of being a witch as Ginny and that Draco was as flawed as Hagrid. He saw a value in all humans, no matter what their blood status. The books taught me about tolerance and acceptance of those who are different and the dangers that come when we segregate people for the way they were born.

Some elements of the story can be applied to the Civil Rights movement in the US but because Rowling is a British citizen, I think this is more accidental than on purpose. But this helps drive home the message that prejudices are all around us and we can’t escape from them unless we fight against them. If we don’t speak out (like Aberforth) we can’t make a change and have to live with the consequences.


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