Happy Birthday Harry Potter!
Since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone the books have taken the world by storm. The books have sold over 400 million books worldwide. Has been translated into 73 languages. Increased readership in youth, in particular boys. Is a book series favorite of both kids and adults. Has spanned into eight blockbuster movies and a play. A themed attraction at Universal Studios & Resorts. And three new spin-off films planned for release in the next five years. Starting with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
It’s hard not to see just how popular Harry Potter is. Hell children and adults still like to dress up as Harry Potter for Halloween. And I, like many others, am still waiting for my Hogwarts acceptance letter. Don’t judge me. You can roll your eyes at my silliness but a woman can hope. I’d even settle for an Hogwarts adult study program.
And for all its success and letting its readers have the privilege of watching Harry Potter grow up, it also brought up issues that we learned from. Issues that still persists today. Issues that provide proof of its existence live, in real time and on social media. And blatantly used as rhetoric to further divide us.
Why are the Harry Potter books important today? Aside from promoting love, loyalty and friendship as the greatest magic humans are capable of. The Harry Potter books also promoted equality and tolerance.
If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.– Sirius Black
The wizarding world in the Harry Potter universe parallels the racism towards community of color in the United States. As well as discrimination against gender, religion, sexual preference, etc. Many of the purebloods considered themselves superior to muggles and other magical creatures. House elves were enslaved. Centaurs were subhuman and regulated to living areas deemed suitable by the ministry. Giants segregated from humans and banished to the mountains. Muggle born wizards and witches were ‘mudbloods.’ And legislation were drafted, forcing good people like Remus Lupin into poverty. All because of hatred and superiority.
Throughout the books Harry Potter had befriended beings who were different from him. For all intended purposes he was their better. But he never thought a house elf, a centaur, a giant, a half blood or mudblood or werewolf as his inferiors. They were his equals. His friends. Who didn’t deserve the hatred or unfair treatment they received by the community. Because of where they fall on the hierarchical caste system in place. Or the lack of purity of their blood.
The above quote is by Sirius Black from the fourth book Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire. And he’s right. The truth of one’s character can not be judged by how he treats his equals. But if he treats those who are considered as inferior the same way, than he/she is a person worth admiration. And emulation.
Harry Potter is important today because we need more Harry Potter’s in the world. We need more people to recognize, acknowledge and fight for equality. Who understands that no one race is superior over another. That everyone should be treated with fairness, kindness and love. That they should be treated for who they are and not what they are. For who they decide to be and not on preconceived notions. And to step forward, together and united to fight against anyone who says otherwise.