The Politics of Harry Potter

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But a subtler point the books make is how bigotry and injustice can be normalized. Hermione's S. It's frighteningly easy for any level of injustice to start feeling just kind of Ask almost anyone who grew up with HP, and they'll tell you that the most hateful character in the series is Dolores Umbridge. Not Voldy. Not the Death Eaters. She's the worst. And I think that's because everyone has encountered a real teacher like Umbridge: someone who cares more about following the rules than teaching children the truth and who likes ugly kitten decor.

With the whole D. Oh, Ron.

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Sweet, goofy, kinda-racist Ron. Sure, he's everyone's third favorite of the Golden Trio, but his character development is simply brilliant. He unlearns all kinds of toxic nonsense over the course of the series. He hates giants and werewolves He's a misogynistic teenage boy He thinks house elf liberation is silly Ron is proof that even kind, funny people with good intentions can harbor ugly beliefs and unlearn them!

Yeah, yeah, I know Harry Potter isn't the most subversive deconstruction of the "chosen one" narrative in the world How does this translate into politics? Well, it's easy to feel like you're not the right person to change things, or that you don't have any power against the forces of international government interests. But if Neville Longbottom can kill a giant snake with a sword, you can definitely call up your congressperson.

Everyone can make an impact on some level, chosen one or not.

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False imprisonments! The Wizarding World goes from fantasy playground to corrupt government structure over the course of the first few books. We get the message that we shouldn't trust authoritarians like Dolores Umbridge, or even the initially well-meaning Cornelius Fudge. But even "good" authority figures like Dumbledore do some definitely shady things. Harry is forced to learn again and again that just because someone makes the rules, it doesn't mean they're right.

People in power don't deserve automatic respect, they have to earn it. It's tempting to look back on Harry Potter as a story of the inevitable triumph of good over evil. And, while that interpretation has some merit Harry doesn't defeat Voldemort alone, he defeats Voldemort through organized resistance.

Harry Potter and the Complicated Identity Politics

Rowling herself, thereby making it official. Political alignment is the central focus of the study, and the other two categories aim to identify if factors other than politics also play an influence. Social media and Medium itself played a lesser role in distributing the form. After a week and a half and after the filter question , the study had total participants. As with the Skyrim study, the predominance of Reddit as a source makes the sample non-random. This means that the percentages of certain political groups or certain houses might be overrepresented, so only cross-sections of the data should be treated as meaningful.

With that said, let us look at what relations we found. Most respondents were Ravenclaws, and the least were Gryffindors.

Once again, this does not mean that most people are Ravenclaws, only that most Redditors are. Similarly, most respondents were liberals, but this is also probably indicative of the sample source, not the overall picture. Going into this, my hypothesis was that conservatives would be more heavily represented within both Gryffindor and Slytherin G-S , while liberals would be more represented within Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff R-H. I was less certain about libertarians, but I expected them to gravitate toward Ravenclaw. What did the data ultimately say?

On liberals and conservatives, I was correct. R-H comprised a majority of liberals at When conservatives were analyzed, G-S grew to a majority of Interestingly, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw were the most sensitive to this shift. Now, what about libertarians and centrists? Centrists had an R-H coalition almost equal to that of liberals, at Similarly, G-S libertarians reversed the trend, nearly matching their conservative G-S friends with Unlike liberals, however, centrists drew far more heavily from Ravenclaw, having a majority in that house alone.


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Libertarians, meanwhile, drew more heavily from Slytherin than Gryffindor. While more libertarians were still Ravenclaws, libertarianism seems to draw out Slytherin traits better than any other house, so I consider my prediction about libertarianism to be incorrect.


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What does this say about Hufflepuff? We have some evidence to help interpret this, however. Of the American respondents, 5. Among the non-Americans, This means that the liberal R-H coalition is actually a bit larger than When an area led in house representation, it was often to a lesser extent than political groups. Still, some things did stand out. Does their reputation for politeness also mean they are less bold?


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Americans were also the least likely to be Ravenclaws, while they were the most likely to be Hufflepuffs. Aussies and Kiwis were the least likely to be Slytherins, at I suppose they would not have the best relationship with snakes Down Under, so this makes sense. The most unusual of all were the Germans. They were the most likely to be Ravenclaws, with a majority at They were the most likely to be Slytherins too, as well as the least likely to be Hufflepuffs, making them perhaps the most lopsided of all people.

Even across age groups, Ravenclaws led. Hufflepuffs also reached an all-time low with people 18—25 at 6.

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Despite some lows like that, the R-H majority always held. One interesting trend of note was that the number of Gryffindors tended to decline with age, while the other houses trended to grow with age. It would be a mistake, therefore, to look at the sorting process on Pottermore as a specifically or primarily political test.