The Harry Potter novels include a significant political subtext, which is at least as important as the teen romance or coming-of-age aspects. In Deathly Hallows the novel, the political subtext becomes the main storyline as a holocaust-style persecution of wizards without 'pure blood' begins. But perhaps inevitably the movie adaptations do not do justice to the political themes. The recent movie adaptation of part of the last book, Deathly Hallows 1, heavily sidelines the radical politics of the novels in favor of focusing on a love triangle between the main characters. This makes for a weak storyline that de-fangs the important political message in the book - that sometimes illegal, principled opposition is not only desirable but necessary in the fight against evil.

    Author J.K. Rowling is often represented as having been, pre-potter, a desperate single mother on welfare writing in coffee shops. While the novels were written under these conditions, Rowling was also a well-educated and experienced activist. She worked full-time in Spain for Amnesty International, a very competitive position that requires a serious commitment to human rights. Probably because of this background, Rowling has an excellent understanding of political persecution, and especially details the way state bureaucracies can be the impersonal agents of evil policies under a cloak of legality. In the novels, Harry fights not only against the evil Voldemort and his minions, but also against an entrenched bureaucracy and a culture that hides inequalities under a seemingly stable society.

posted by forwardslash: 1807 days ago