Take Note, Muggles | Wizarding v Muggle Issues

take note muggles british wizarding issues

I’ve got to admit it, if I found a wormhole to Hogwarts I would totally go. IT’S FREAKING HOGWARTS. However, outside of my flailing-and-desperate-checking-the-post-for-my-Hogwarts-letter, I do have some Actual Real Problems with the wizarding world. And I realised that most of them had something in common: they’re also actual problems that I have with British society today.

So! I present to you a list of some of the difficulties of the wizarding world that occur throughout and beyond the HP books, and how they’re actually pretty relevant. (Mostly to Britain, because that’s where I live, but you don’t at all need to have an in-depth knowledge of British politics. *looks down at self and coughs* They’re pretty broad ideas.)

The government is corrupt. Hurrah. The system is a villain.

Aside from the Death Eaters taking over the government for a teensy while, the Ministry isn’t that bad. There are lots of worse fictional examples. See an annual televised fight to the death.

yay hunger games

But: Umbridge. Umbridge. There are people who like Draco and Snape and Voldemort, but to be honest, I’ve never seen anyone who likes Umbridge. (Let’s face it, she is the scariest character.) Whereas Voldemort is the Big Bad Villain to be Defeated In Battle By The Good and Pure Hero, I think Umbridge is more frightening because her brand of fear is more real. Plenty of people have been caught out by the system which is supposed to protect them – I mean, the law isn’t perfect. Though I’m not saying that, like, the entire government is corrupt, many people of high status (and wealth) get away with nasty stuff. There is still a ton of prejudice and bias – heck, Parliament isn’t even all that representative of the people. At least 20 MPs – out of 650 – were educated at Eton, and there’s no way you can tell me that’s proportional. I just feel like we were really screwed by the 2015 election. Ugh. The seats did not at all correlate to the percentage of votes so maybe the voting system actually needs to change??? Speaking of which:

The education system revolves around tests and, frankly, it sucks.

Okay, this is another Umbridge thing that thankfully was resolved after The Order of the Pheonix. I find it interesting how the Ministry’s reach for more testing and less practical work was kind of villainised by JK Rowling, because that’s pretty much what’s happening now in the UK. Our children are doing worse compared to the rest of Europe? Give them tests from age 5! Get rid of coursework! Let them spend another hour in the exam hall defining their future with their ability to use keywords from a mark scheme!

I really dislike the current education system. Learning shouldn’t be something that make you sick with anxiety. I mean, I get that I’m going to have to work but it’s not learning that I inherently dislike. I enjoy gaining new skills. But you know what? Not everyone works well in exams, and that doesn’t mean they aren’t clever. Likewise, there are plenty of occupations that can’t be prepared for simply with written work. You can’t learn everything from textbook. :/

People cannot be categorised with a word.

Just. GET RID OF HOUSE STEREOTYPES. Please.

I dislike what the Houses have become. Sorting people based on qualities they value makes sense, right? You’re probably going to achieve more and be happier. What I feel the Houses often become is a sorting of people based on their personality.

It’s so difficult to box people up into four different types. There’s always dissent about Sorting of fictional characters, and if you think about Sorting your friends or even yourself into Houses…it’s pretty hard. We all have different facets. We are not defined by one trait. And we certainly don’t remain 11-year-old self for the rest of our lives. (What, people change? *gasps* -_-)

The HP books almost exclusively from the viewpoint of a Gryffindor, which means that a lot of stereotypes are perpetuated. Gryffindor not the only House worth being in. (Or a bit of Slytherin if you like villains.) Gryffindors are not all awesome. As this excellent Tumblr post says: Cedric Diggory did not die for all the good Harry potter merch to be Gryffindor and Slytherin.
This is not okay. ALL HOUSES MATTER. Hufflepuff is NOT the freaking potato house. Not all Slytherins are evil. Ravenclaws have actual personalities beyond intelligence. Gryffindors are not always the heroes. (Another nice post about this.) Many people could probably fit into more than one house. You have choice.

I know that you can be moulded by the people you surround yourself with. I don’t want that to happen to all the ickle new first years. (Though! Non-Hogwarts schools also yessss.) So many stereotypes exist around us, sometimes based on things that aren’t even our choice. They need to go.

Prejudice? Stereotypes? Yeah, I’m not done with this.

I don’t feel that strongly about Snape but I absolutely do not forgive him for Lupin. Lupin was awesome, and also he was an awesome teacher. He’s the teacher we all wish we had. Obviously he is not?? a? danger????

In my opinion, Potter isn’t that good at diversity. I mean, plenty of fans write and draw and imagine it diverse, using the relative freedom it gives, which is super nice, but. It’s so widely read that I felt such a difference could have been made. Instead…yeah.

But I think we can probably agree that Lupin definitely didn’t need to leave, and the prejudice against werewolves is not cool. Prejudice is not cool, full stop.

Is loss of free will equal to loss of life?

Ah, the 3 Unforgivable curses. You probably know them I find it fascinating that those three were chosen to be Unforgivable – with punishment as a life sentence Azkaban – because most people rank Avada Kedavra as the worst, then Cruciatus, and finally Imperio. Why did Rowling choose to make crimes different in the eyes of many the same in the wizarding world? Should using Imperio get the same punishment as Avada Kedavra? Okay, this isn’t a problem per se, but I find it interesting JK Rowling chose it to be this way.

This thing about the Chosen One. What.

The concept of a Chosen One is strange. I just…do they start off like that? Hell, why is one person even chosen to be more special than the others? It just feels weird to me. It’s used in so many texts yet I feel like that one person is so removed. It sounds pretty lonely. Where are the effect? In this moment of promotion for my favourite mages, I present to you a reason why I am HELLA EXCITED FOR CARRY ON. Exploration of this yesss.

In conclusion, I have found that complaining whilst listening to the Harry Potter soundtrack is a great way to pass the time. *coughs* Ahem. What do you guys think of issues in books and issues today? Do you know your Hogwarts House?

I’m collecting my blog survey results soon – thank you so much for all your responses so far! – so if you haven’t already filled it out, this is a pretty great chance to make my blog more awesome. 😉 It will only take up a tiny portion of your internet browsing time, I promise!

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14 thoughts on “Take Note, Muggles | Wizarding v Muggle Issues

  1. Oh this is such an interesting post! I always loved how many issues in the Wizarding World can be compared to our own world’s issues, as it makes it more relatable (sadly we can’t relate to studying magic and the like 😦 THOUGH MAYBE ONE DAY THAT WILL CHANGE WHEN OUR HOGWARTS LETTER ARRIVES)

    • Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, I really love the depth of the Wizarding World and how, like, you can have intense debates about Harry Potter that are also still super relevant? YES OUR HOGWARTS LETTER IS 100% STILL ARRIVING, IT JUST GOT LOST IN THE POST. This is my opinion, anyway. The postal service is part of a massive anti-Hogwarts conspiracy. 😛

  2. So I won’t make a long comment because I’m on vacation and mobile, but I wanted to say YES TO THIS. Like everything. Government issues, house stereotypes, everything.

    (I didn’t click through your links, but do you have the Tumblr post about Cassius Warrington in Goblet of Fire? That was fab.)

    • Ooh, I hope you’re having a great time! (I’m super late to replying to this comment, but, erm, yes.) I AM HAVE STRONG FEELINGS ON BOTH THOSE THINGS. I will always have an intense argument about government issues and house stereotypes, so obviously I had to write a post with both. 😛
      (It actually isn’t, but eek I can’t believe I forgot that one! *facepalms* I’m so bad at keeping track of Tumblr posts, haha.)

  3. I really liked this post 🙂 it was super interesting and a really different take on things. I wanted to ask you about the tests thing though? While Hogwarts is definite ALL exams which is not a fair or useful way of assessing large groups of people, I know at my school your grade was made up of a lot of different types of assessment, from speaking to coursework to performance, rather than all being based on exams? And I think it’s hard not to test people in some way, otherwise it would be a bit of a waste of time with people never really bothering (although my school was not great so that may be personal experience). How would do you think we could test people other than exams? I definitely agree that the current idea of just add more exams is ridiculous though!

    • Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it!
      I’m not actually taking external exams yet so our internal grade is based on both the annual exams and yearly work, yeah. Sorry, I wasn’t that clear in the post – of course, there is work besides exams, but I feel like especially in certain subjects a lot weighs on your exam.
      Yes, you’re right – it would be very difficult to entirely get rid of exams! I just feel like extending exams to an earlier age, reducing emphasis on coursework, and the way that we judge a school’s worth based on whether they tick boxes doesn’t help learning. I think it would helpful to maybe make more vocational classes an option and concentrate on actual interesting content? The lack of practical classes seems weird to me.

      • Well put 🙂 I agree with you actually, was just curious as to what you thought. Yeah totally think that exams at an early age is ridiculous, and also that not all exams need to be written based. I remember having to take a written art exam once and it was just ridiculous. More vocational classes would be good too! Thank you for your response 🙂

  4. I love this post! Those are really interesting points you made–and I assure you, these problems, unfortunately, are quite universal…
    I’ll start with the second point because I know nothing about politics in Britain. Sorry. And education is probably the one I’ll complain the most about, as I’m currently in the midst of a heck lot of revision for uni entrance exam. And I understand that people want a FAIR way of assessment and exam is probably the most objective, instead of, say, onstage presentations or face to face interviews. But I can hardly see the point of cramming things that are irrelevant and impractical and then forget all of them right after the exam. Actually I think the exams and education–except for the Umbridge part, of course–in HP are quite practical, since the students are required to perform spells, make potions and all that instead of letting a piece of paper decide their future.
    I think a lot of people misinterpreted the idea of sorting and the houses, and I agree that the entire series is a bit biased from the single point of view of a hardcore Gryffindor. There IS ambiguity in the story though (see Luna, Cedric, Pettigrew and ??Snape??okaymaybenot). It’s when they are used as a plot device or when people use them to discriminate that the houses become stereotypes. And yes, prejudice (and discrimination) is not cool, full stop. Perhaps JKR was trying to make it realistic? Like if everything’s rainbows and ponies then there will be nothing relatable.
    The Chosen One seems to appear in a lot of fantasy novels, and yeah, it can be a bit strange but I guess it makes the protagonist more special (that’s why s/he gets to be the protagonist) and makes the story more dramatic. And honestly, I like reading those kinds of stories if well written, so I don’t really mind that. It’d definitely be interesting if I could see things from a nobody’s perspective though. Guess that’s why I want to read The Rest of Us Just Live Here so much 😛 .
    And damn, the free will question. This is becoming philosophical. The question itself, I’d say YES, since for me it’s free will that makes us who we are (if free will actually exists…okay let’s not delve into that); when something like free will is lost, I don’t know what would be left except a lump of tissues (?)
    Sorry for some all-caps there, looks as if i were yelling at you but they’re supposed to be italics but I’m being lazy… Anyway, I love this post! 🙂 It’s really thought provoking (hence this super long comment. Oops.)

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it!
      Ack, good luck in your revision! Yeah, marking schemes probably are the most objective way of marking. It does seem like I have to memorise a lot of dumb stuff that I’ll immediately forget, though. The practical element of Hogwarts is definitely something I like – I mean, I’m not 100% certain we’ll get to make potions noooooo! but perhaps if we could shift away from Umbridge levels of exams that would be good.
      The fact that not everyone in HP fits exactly into their house mould is pretty nice! I remember reading something about Pettigrew being Sorted into Gryffindor because he valued bravery, despite not having much of it, but for sure there are several options for characters. (Nyeeughh I’m still kinda on the fence about Snape. I mean, it would probably have been easier in relation to Lily & the rest of the Marauders to not be in Slytherin? EEK I DON’T KNOW.) If HP completely lacked conflict it wouldn’t be that interesting, yeah. I just quite liked the fact that a lot of issues applied to both worlds – I guess it made the wizarding world more relatable as well?
      Admittedly, I do like a good Chosen One story. Other than The Rest Us Just Live Here, though (which is amazing!) I haven’t seen many books that explore the side of the non-Chosen One, or the issues that come with it.
      PHILOSOPHICAL HARRY POTTER ALWAYS. Ooh yes, I see what you mean – I guess you could say that you’re temporarily dead, even if you still have some awareness? Hmm. (Then getting into free will and stuff, argh. This is becoming very deep. :P)
      No worries, long comments are great! I’m always up for some Harry Potter talk. (Or any talk, really? I just enjoy hoarding comments like gold. XD)

      • Omg, I thought I was the only one who hoarded comments…XD
        Those problems in the wizarding world are relatable indeed *shakes angry fist at all the governments* That’s kind of the point of fiction, I think, presenting to people what they probably wouldn’t see clearly in real life.
        Snape’s case is just…weird. Like, I know Slytherin is for people who are AMBITIOUS, but a lot of times Rowling seems to depict Slytherins as NASTY people (like Malfoy and co.) and I don’t see a lot of ambition in the Slytherins in the series. Maybe the Slytherin trait is prioritising oneself; that would explain Snape’s behaviours.
        I’m SO looking forward to reading The Rest of Us Just Live here! (And someday I’d really like to see a story about the sidekick. Imaginary publisher, you listening? XD )
        I love Harry Potter talks. Brings back the magical feeling and the nostalgia. Now I want to reread the series. (after I actually own the whole series :p)

      • YES, definitely, that’s something I love about books.
        Sometimes I think, yeah, the ‘ambition’ part is maybe a bit overused? Maybe cunning or something would be better. Ooh, yes, what you said seems to fit well! (I think JKR isn’t that fond of Slytherin, which perhaps influenced the portrayal of characters in the book.)
        A BOOK ABOUT THE SIDKICK YESS SO MUCH
        Haha, I only have 3 of the books — I just borrowed them from the library. ALL THE NOSTALGA. 🙂

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