Why living in the world of Harry Potter would not be as great as it seems

We all love Harry Potter. In fact, many teens and young adults today would consider themselves massive Potterheads! However, when we actually delve into this fantasy world, we can see that it is not quite as magical as first imagined…

  • It’s racist as f*ck. Muggleborns and squibs are ridiculed and ostracised repeatedly throughout the series. Squibs and wizards are segregated into different schools, and squibs are rarely spoken about. The fact that Mr Filch was cautious to disclose that he was a squib highlights how non-magical people born into magical families are marginalised. Furthermore, muggleborns are also subject to racist treatment throughout the world of Harry Potter. From Hermione being bullied by blood purists, to eventually being tortured and having a racial slur carved into her arm. This compares to the hate crimes and racial prejudice found in our world today, something I’m sure none of us would want to experience if we attended Hogwarts.
  • The education is limited. At Hogwarts, only subjects involving magic are taught. This means that witches and wizards are limited to jobs in the wizarding world, increasing tensions between muggles and wizards, and amplifying the entire wizarding community’s fear and apprehension towards muggles. There also seems to be no universities, so the highest qualification a student can achieve is a N.E.W.T, which is only equivalent to an A-level!
  • The teachers are crazy. Just look at all the Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers, just look at them…

The first had a serial killer living in the back of his head, and was too much of a nervous wreck to teach. The second was too obsessed with himself to take any notice of his students. The third was brilliant, but also a werewolf. The fourth was an imposter, and traumatised Neville by showing him the curse that killed his parents. The fifth tortured her students and prohibited them from learning anyone. The sixth was a decent teacher, but a huge bully. This would never be allowed in a muggle school (although I have had some pretty wild teachers in my time…), what about pupil safety?

  • The House system is stupid. Grouping kids based on the way they act when they are eleven is never going to go down well. *Silently cringes whilst I remember when I thought that covering my face with glittery bronzer was ‘contouring’*

People change a lot between the ages of eleven and eighteen, so why push an expectation on them to act a certain way for literally no reason whatsoever? The house system only encourages rivalry between young wizards, and teaches them to be prejudiced and self-righteous. This is seen several times in the books, such as when Albus Potter fears being in Slytherin, and Voldemort plans to make Slytherin the ruling house.

  • No foreign aid. Why didn’t American wizards come and help take down Voldemort??? They could have easily apparated across the Atlantic to reinforce the allies at the Battle of Hogwarts! The only time we see wizards from other countries interacting with British wizards is during a school competition! Why were they not there when they were really needed?
  • Overly tough criminal justice system.We all know that criminals in the world of Harry Potter are sent to Azkaban prison, an island fortress surrounded by soul sucking guards named dementors. The fact that a dementor can stop a person from ever feeling happiness again, and bring them a fate worse than death, indicates how unforgiving wizarding prisons are. They literally invented a punishment more severe than the death penalty. Furthermore, it is evident that Azkaban prison focuses on retribution instead of reforming criminals, as Bellatrix Lestrange became even more ruthless and bloodthirsty after escaping the prison.

Overall, the world of Harry Potter is incredibly segregated, and seems to have incredibly backwards laws about punishment and education. The tensions between wizards and muggles, muggleborns, half-breeds and Hogwarts houses are one of the main causes of conflict in the Potter universe. The lack of respect for wizards’ human rights also causes problems. If the British wizarding community had had less tensions between groups, and better laws regarding safety in schools, I’m pretty sure that Lord Voldemort would have never rose to power. However, these problems make for an engaging and powerful story, that reflects many parts of our society today.

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