- Me: But I have about fifty books at home I haven't read, there's no reason for me to buy these.
- My brain: Okay, but consider this: more books.
Guess who’s currently dialed into a conference call with the White House????
Calling with a bunch of other student leaders in my state to talk about sexual assault policy with policy advisors and the white house liason to young americans. So pumped I was invited and have this mega cool awesome chance to engage in dialogue about a really fucking important issue.
The basic plot, which cannot be ignored even in the films, is that Harry, Hermione and Ron give up everything for their political struggle. They drop out of high school, they go illegal, defy the government, belong to an underground organization [The Order of the Phoenix], operate out of safe houses and forests and even raid offices of the government and banking offices. This is all done in principled opposition to the Dark Wizard Voldemort and a corrupt bureaucratized government that has been heavily infiltrated with his evil minions. This is revolutionary activity. But the movie version does not present it as such or emphasize these radical aspects of the plot, thereby entirely missing the dramatic sweep and action present in the first half of the last novel.
The novels recognize the importance of alternative media for political struggle. The mainstream press [The Daily Prophet] is shown as unreliable and unprincipled, eventually deteriorating into a fear-mongering propaganda machine for the Voldemort-controlled bureaucracy. For a while the alternative but above ground media [The Quibbler] publishes the real news, but it ceases to print after the daughter of the publisher is kidnapped. In the book, friends of Harry [Lee Jordan, with Fred and George Weasley as frequent guests] start broadcasting the real news from an underground radio station, encrypted with a password. This radio station becomes a critical link for the resistance, which is scattered and weak. Although we are treated to some radio broadcast updates in the movie, they are delivered by a disembodied and professional sounding voice, not our friends the Weasleys. This undermines the important message - a guiding principle behind the media coop - that in a serious situation it becomes necessary to produce your own media and not to rely on ‘professionals’.
The novel makes it clear that in this phase of the struggle the characters romantic lives take a backseat to their political activity, as Harry breaks up with the love of his life [Ginny Weasley] so as to avoid making her a target for Voldemort’s forces, who are known to use torture and kidnapping as tactics. The ‘love triangle’ that becomes the focus of the movie isn’t even really present in the books. In the books, the relationship between Harry and Hermione is totally platonic - Ron is shown as jealous, but the feeling is entirely without foundation. In the book Harry says to Ron: “I love her like a sister and I reckon she feels the same way about me. It’s always been like that. I thought you knew” (pg 378, DH US Hardback). This conveys that men and women can be close comrades and friends without being involved romantically. But in the film, Harry and Hermione are shown dancing romantically, and Harry’s line to Ron about his brotherly feeling towards Hermione does not even make it into the film. This completely undermines the important message that jealousy is counter-productive and has toxic effects, which is an important feminist message for young people.
Worth a repost
HP is one of the most fundamentally anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian, radical books in a WHILE. The books are incredibly diverse in race and gender, including villains. While everyone was screaming about Pullman, and hanging their hats on the witchcraft in HP, Rowling basically put out a roadmap of revolutiinary youth.
Everyone likes to pull the, “Deatheaters are Nazis,” subtext but if you look at the timeline of the text and publication, it’s pretty clear that politically, this is an England/Ireland/Scotland/Wales under Tory rule and in the midst of the Troubles & Thatcherism from the start, with subsequent books written and published in a post-9/11 world.
Rowling wrote the root, branch, and flower of politics and power creating death and despair, where love and unity by choice were the strongest powers. There are reasons for that.