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Harry Potter: Exploitation of Primordial Fear and Hope


Photo: Brian Selznick (c) 2018 by Scholastic Inc.

J. K. Rowling has done with the Harry Potter fantasy series somethings which take few precedences since Peter Pan and Wind in the Willows. Many scholars have dismissed Harry Pottery as being low-brow literature and associated its cartoons with cardboard figures. By Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling has captured the imagination of the British people and has filled our minds with characters and attitudes that have become a shared frame of reference that has influenced our hopes and intentions with soft socialism. She reduces the complex world of politics to a simple world of good and evil in a narrative of Hogwarts, a magic world organized by spells and occult powers. It such a world, a child only needs one kind of knowledge, the knowledge of the spells that will summon the vestiges of "good" to protect them from "evil." It is a world without responsibility; a world which values protection and control at the tips on one's figures.

Harry Potter as a children's cartoon and literature has invaded the adult working-day. The names of every character are on the minds and lips, as the internet offers Harry Potter names by which to name your cat or dog. J. K. Rowling invites you to even baptize your most hated politician by the resources of her lexicon. Even more strongly reinforced is the value that all obstacles are dreams, or should be, by how English society is beginning to adopt a form of soft socialism, which some conservative scholars claim to be partly from adults having been weaned on Harry Potter. Although these are a few ways in which values are reinforced, what is more of interest is how these cartoons, anthropomorphically speaking, rely on an English form of enchantment yet while avoiding traditional religious beliefs. By how Harry Potter uses magic in an English Gothic temple context without prayers, psalms, and alters, magic has replaced religion where it once occupied and has lifted the battle of good and evil out from the context of English reason and religion into a world of illusion. Here lies the challenge to English values.

In response to Harry Potter's exploitation of primordial fear and hopes of the child in which magic was a controlling part, other cartoons and literature have risen to challenge such values. The cartoons and literature which have risen into popularity to challenge Harry Potter's values are of the kind which displays a child's eye on the adult world and uses innocence with the power of reason to defend against illusions, such as the works of Lewis Carroll.

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