The battle against fascism starts, and ends, at Hogwarts

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Many people have said this about Harry Potter: the characters have to grow up too soon. The students of Hogwarts are left to fight for a better world for themselves because the older generation refused to learn from its mistakes and let Voldemort rise to power again.

This analysis is not wrong. By the fourth book, when the political gears are turning and the wizarding world is on the edge of a colossal shift, the trio are deeply invested in what’s going on in the world around them. How many fourteen-year-olds…

Remembering and misremembering

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There are a lot of memories in Harry Potter.

In the fourth book we are introduced to the Pensieve, a wooden bowl that can hold memories so that they can be explored at leisure. Dumbledore has one and he uses it often so that he can find patterns in events that he remembers, and also because his brain just gets too full. Harry and I share one thing in common when Dumbledore admits that he just doesn’t have room for all of his memories — we cannot relate to that at all.

I have ADHD and it…

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When I’m not rereading Harry Potter and doting on my plants, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about serial killers. (I know, I’m a catch. My husband is so lucky to have me.) I researched serial killers extensively when I was in high school for a large paper and presentation, and I am happily one of those people who is fascinated by them. I know a lot about them — specific serial killers, what most of them have in common, the trifecta that presents itself when they’re young— I even have a favorite. (Ed Kemper. …

The two house elves who met Voldemort

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I’ve been thinking a lot about house elves lately. But not about Dobby, or even about Winky.

I’ve been thinking about Kreacher and Hokey.

Both of these house elves have met Voldemort personally. Whilst Hokey met a young and handsome Tom Riddle, Kreacher met Voldemort at the height of his powers shortly before the death of Lily and James Potter; full on snake face and red eyes. Kreacher just hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting Voldemort, Kreacher has had the pleasure of spending time alone with Voldemort, and then being discarded and left to die by Voldemort. Voldemort required an…

How the wizarding world is built on white supremacy

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The formula for the “on purpose” racism in Harry Potter is very simple.

Muggleborns= people of color.

Mudbloods= a dehumanizing slur for people of color.

Magical beings that are not wizards= people of color.

Muggles= people of color.

Wizards= white people.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out. If you read Harry Potter as a child, like I did, you might not have come up with this exactly formula, but children still understand the idea of Othering, particularly when they are Othered themselves. When I was in third grade…

The Hogwarts founders, explained

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Hogwarts has four founders, the creators of the only magical boarding school in Britain. Each one has their own house, named after them, and each house has their own certain virtue that they wanted to see in their students. As one of my favorite tweets aptly puts it: “As we all know, there are only four types of kids- brave, evil, smart, and miscellaneous.” And thus Hogwarts and the four houses were born.

Godric Gryffindor

Godric Gryffindor is the guy in your MFA who explains your own work to you. He only wants brave kids, but…

Hogwarts churned out generations of wizards who were too stupid to build a better world for themselves

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I have read each Harry Potter book 57 times. No, that’s not a typo. Fifty-seven times through the entire series. After so many years and so many reads, I’m beginning to find that what I enjoy the most about the series is finding and plucking out its flaws, examining them under the light the way I wish I had been able to in college when I was working to become an English teacher. …

Hogwarts is very, very straight

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The discourse surrounding queerness and writing has changed and improved drastically over the years. As a teacher, I have recommended dozens of books focusing on LGBTQ+ characters to my students. I tell them that it is important that they see themselves in what they read and that those characters are not just sidekicks. The writing is changing and the discourse is changing, but there is still much work to do. …

He’s the literal worst.

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There are a lot of arguments about Snape out there. Of course he had to let some terrible things happen to keep under cover, like watching as his fellow teacher got murdered and eaten by a snake. Yes, he definitely tried to send someone to the Department of Mysteries to intercept Harry when he believed that Sirius was being held there. Yes, his “murder” of Dumbledore was part of Dumbledore’s great plan and Snape helped. Yes, he was bullied at school and it caused him to be cruel.

But I don’t care. These things do not…

Photo by Rhii Photography on Unsplash

A few years after college, Twitter gifted me a website where I could test my Harry Potter knowledge, and I jumped at the opportunity. It was a timed task: could I type in the names of the 50 most mentioned characters from Harry Potter in under five minutes? The answer was yes, I could, and I could do it without consulting the books or Google (not that I want to brag, but I kind of do). Pretty much all 50 characters listed appeared in more than one of the seven books in the series, all except one. One character only…

Emily Mossoian

I have a lot of takes on Harry Potter. Gandhi said it best: Write the takes you wish to read in the world.

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