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.
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?
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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!