Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Discord in the Magical World

(slightly edited to make what I was saying clearer)


The magical world is filled with prejudice. These prejudices spawn from fear, misconceptions, hate, hasty judgments, and superiority complexes. In this way, the magical world echoes the real one. Many of the creatures in Rowling's creation, though fictional in many ways, remind the reader of various cultures. House-Elfs have a similar plight to that of the African descendents under slavery. Death Eaters are similar to purist groups throughout the world, including british secret societies and the Ku Klux Klan in America. Centaurs bear an uncanny resemblance to indigenous peoples. Giants are the perfect example of what Lobroso and Nordau (19th- century pseudo-scientists) called a degenerate, a kind of de-evolved human. What each of these creatures have in common is the constant battle against prejudice and colonialism.

Wizards are convinced that house-elf's are naturally slaves, centaurs are minimally intelligent half-bred humans, and giants are unteachable, murderous fiends. Under these conditions, many wizards chose to live blissfully ignorant of the destruction and hurt they have caused others. Many chose to accept the social labels they have imposed, and refuse to see those labeled as "creatures" as equal beings. These wizards have underestimated and toyed with other magical folk for so long, that something is bound to break.

"Sirius did not hate Kreacher," said Dumbledore. "He regarded him as a servant unworthy of much interest or notice. Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike. . . The fountain we destroyed tonight told a lie. We wizards have mistreated and abused our fellows for too long, and we are now reaping our reward."
Book Five, Page. 834, US Edition

Dumbledore has warned us throughout the books that unity will be the key to defeating Voldemort. The problem is that most of the wizarding community refuses to see past their prejudices to find unity. All giants are murderers. Once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater. Any non-wizard or witch is a creature and subject to the wizarding laws. Even within Hogwarts, people are labeled and continually judged.

For Voldemort, this disunity allows him to win such followers as the giants and "pure-blood wizards". For centaurs, it means isolation, and developing a superiority complex to fight the opposing one. For house-elfs this means living as slaves or living in shame. For Hogwarts it means rivalry among the four houses. In the Second War that book six will undoubtedly portray, all of these factors are going to come to light as a force that can destroy the wizarding world. The question is whether or not each group of magical folk can let go of their prejudices and work together to fight evil, or whether each group will chose to embrace their prejudices and be destroyed from an external exhibition of their inward hate.

Dr. Hagrid and Mr. Grawp

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Note: the reason I am comparing house-elfs with african descendant slaves, is from her emphasis on their dialect.