Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Politicians
The first line of the new Harry Potter book - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - suggests that the book will take readers on a political path: “It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind.”
Here’s where book 5 left us with a student revolt against a new form of wizardly government that persecutes students in the name of security. That government curtails students under the cover of protection from the evildoer Lord Voldemort, but Harry Potter rejects the link and battles the government at the same time as he resists the growing influence of Lord Voldemort.
Adults who watch the news will see a similarity between current events in our muggle world and the struggle for freedom at Hogwarts. Now, I haven’t yet read beyond the first page of Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince, so I don’t know where J.K. Rowling is going with these themes, but here’s the point, kids: Take out all the special effects, and Harry Potter is about the same kind of human events that political stories tell us about.
Maybe there aren’t any magic wands or dragons involved, but non-magical politics contains the same kind of plot elements. Just considering how eagerly the Republicans are encouraging the Azkaban-style interrogation tactics at Guantanamo Bay makes me shivers. Oh, yes, kiddies, there are such things as dementors, and your parents’ tax dollars are paying their wages.
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