|Was Voldemort right?|
Yet, because Muggles are so boring, the main impetus of the plot comes not from conflicts between Muggles and wizards, but from the war over race relations waged among wizards. On one side are our tolerant heroes. On the other are the evil Nazi purebloods—such as Voldemort and blond Draco Malfoy, Harry’s archrival from Slytherin House—who denigrate wizards of mixed-ancestry as “mudbloods.”
Although Rowling, who once worked for Amnesty International, makes her books ostentatiously anti-racist, there’s something fundamentally bogus about her façade of conventional modern politics. Wizardry turns out to feature a politically incorrect dependence upon nature rather than nurture. Blood will tell. As Chris Suellentrop scoffed in Slate at Rowling’s eugenic worldview: “Hogwarts is nothing more than a magical Mensa meeting.”
At a cursory glance, the tale of Harry and his companions is rife with the proper social pathologies and messages that permeate every book and movie in this multicultural age. As a result, conservatives, libertarians, and particularly, leftist and far left activists have all sought to utilize Harry Potter for their own devices, claiming he and Albus Dumbledore as champions for progress and tolerance.
Of course, the directors of the films make sure to depict the enemy of the series, the malevolent, genocidal, Lord Voldemort as a wanton mass murderer obsessed with the concept of immortality. This is a slight departure from the calculating and collected wizard depicted in the books, who strove for a greater society built on natural hierarchy. Voldemort’s nuances and vision were left out of the movie in favor of a theatrical performance by Ralph Fiennes that may work on the big screen, yet ultimately left a camp stain on a much more complex character.
Rowling should be credited with creating such an intricate web of characters who’s story arcs all end with the mighty crescendo of drawn wands. Readers and critics are generally so engrossed within the story itself that they fail to truly evaluate the social surroundings in which the story takes place.
The viewer is expected to take as a given the society that Harry Potter is defending as good, and to blindly pay fealty to loyalties provided. Instead of a critical glance, it’s very easy to fall into the corny morality that Harry never seems to transcend throughout the books and movies.
|Hogwarts sure is a white school...|
As a result, Rowling leaves ample room for questions that desperately need to be answered. One of the most important questions is what exactly was Harry Potter defending? What was the society that Harry, Dumbledore, and the rest of his intrepid friends sought to preserve from the evil clutches of Lord Voldemort and his despicable minions?
Deep down in the pit of your stomach, there lies this sneaking suspicion that there are some flaws within Harry’s worldview. The curious dare to lend inclination towards the unthinkable notion that some of the things advocated by Lord Voldemort, may in fact be true.
As a result, when watching the movie and reading through the books, over and again, the inquisitive are faced with one question you are not supposed to ask; “was Lord Voldemort right?”
If we truly investigate the world in which Harry lives, and look at the skull beneath the skin, it is not the egalitarian dreamland that many of the more progressive supporters of the book seem to valorize.
The bondage of house elves as lifelong slaves to wizarding families is taken as a fact. Goblins are strictly kept in their proper place manning the vaults ensconced within the caverns of Gringotts. Centaurs, werewolves, and other sentient magical creatures are relegated to protected areas out of the way of ordinary wizarding life.
Interestingly enough, magic is not a wellspring from which all can drink. A Bell Curve does apply to the wizarding world as magic is not equally distributed. Some wizards have a higher aptitude in regards to their capabilities than others. While Harry’s female accomplice Hermoine is out mastering complex spells and creating potions that would confound warlocks five times her age, her compatriot in Gryffindor House Neville Longbottom can at times barely tie his shoes.
Rowling makes it very clear in regards to the inheritability of magic that wizards are a genetic elite, who chose to live a completely separate existence. They are literally a race unto their own, and pass magic along through blood. As a result they have their own schools, financial institutions, government, and traditions. They are a culture within a culture, a genetic aristocracy hidden within the folds of society itself.
Wizards have an amazing ability to use magic to their benefit, and could easily solve many of the problems that the non wizarding world faces. Poverty, diseases, crime, and science all could be aided by wizarding ingenuity and know how, yet they chose to sever their connections to this world in favor of experimenting for their own benefit.
Instead wizards live in a completely segregated society, and shun many of the advances of modern life. Wizards follow the International Decree of Secrecy and refuse to divulge information about themselves to the general population. Magic is best kept a hidden secret, only to be explored and experimented with by the genetically fortunate. They are the ones who will reap the bountiful rewards that magic brings, while the hapless non magical types will have to work through decades of technology to achieve even of their power.
If the non wizarding world ever does catch sight of something that may make them question their conventions, wizards confound them into forgetting it ever happened. Wizards even insert plants within the branches of the non wizarding government to keep an eye on things, and to act as a liaison in the event of a breach between both worlds.
Harry is fighting to preserve a fundamentally segregated society.
Unlike Lord Voldemort, or at one point in time, Albus Dumbledore, Harry is completely content to preserve the world that exists around him. Harry at the end of book seven even comments that “I’ve had enough trouble for one life” and is content to live out his existence in peace with the world around.
Harry is a character who goes through many evolutions, but these are all initiated by the stimulus of
His wildest dreams were pushed even further upon realizing that his capabilities far outpaced anything that had ever been seen in the wizarding world before. Hogwarts was alight with the glory of Tom Riddle, who was a powerful and prodigious talent, always pushing magic to the next level. Even Albus Dumbledore himself admits that Tom Riddle/Voldemort knew more about magic than any wizard that had ever existed.
Unfortunately, a hole existed in the soul of Riddle who longed to find out about his family history. Upon discovering the unfortunate truth of his not so noble origins, and the way in which his muggle father abandoned him at birth, Voldemort became convinced of the ignoble and disreputable nature that the non wizarding world held towards their magical counterparts.
This coupled with being surrounded by less talented muggles at the orphanage during his summer months away from Hogwarts Castle only intensified his disdain for the world of the ordinary.
Voldemort is in some ways, the dynamic faustian individualist we see emerging in many civilizations. Instead of giving in to weakness, Voldemort crafted an ideology of power. One that would put the non magical in their proper place and foment a society that would emphasis the talented as opposed to the idiotic.
Voldemort is of course motivated by his own selfish desire to conquer death, but for a wizard of his power who had achieved so much, one can only ask, what else was left for him? As if the technological and medical advances we pursue today are any less of a Promethean effort to stave off the inevitable.
If you were Lord Voldemort, would you really look at Tony Blair or David Cameron, or the Osbournes and say “By golly these people are worth defending and preserving!”? If you do, then you are a more conniving and soulless villain than anything that could emerge from the darkest recesses of JK Rowling’s imagination. Perhaps in the end, Voldemort was right.