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Friday, October 30, 2009

Rambling Thought Regarding Harry Potter

Today, at the cafeteria, they were playing Harry Potter because I guess it's to get us in the holiday mood? Anyway, it reminded me of something I've thought since I read the first book. (I haven't read the rest. No insult on the series, I just got distracted. But if later book events make this train of thought completely non-applicable, well, oops. :-) Sometimes that happens.)

Ok, so the kids are sorted via the hat into Houses based on particular traits. They do everything in these Houses, and solidarity and competition is encouraged.

But they take the traits MOST likely to result in evil wizardry (ambition and cunning) and shove ALL of those people together into one House. Doesn't that seem like a recipe for disaster?

I mean, you've already got a House with a fairly disproportionate amount of evil-leaning wizards. And while not ALL ambitious people are likely to be evil, that does leave them pretty vulnerable TO the evil-leaning wizards running amock. And ambition is one of those traits that tends to make it easy to get in over your head.

It's like...prison really. In which some poor kid gets thrown in for drug possession or something and comes out with all this knowledge and ability to commit much bigger crimes. Only, you know. The wizard equivalent. You go in a little brat, and come out a Nazi.

And really, isolating most of the really ambitious people together in a system that promotes solidarity-in-ones-group and competition-with-others over anything else, just makes for another mess. If all the kids were dispersed instead of isolated, then they'd be more likely to focus their ambition on a wider area rather than just their own House.

It's like Hogwarts pretty much bred up the next generation of Voldemort's army FOR him. Yeesh.


  • At October 30, 2009 9:44 PM, Blogger Centurion said…

    Another possible way to look at it is that by lumping all the evil kids into one house, they have to continually fight amongst each other to accomplish anything in their own eyes. They'll constantly undermine each other so that they never grow to be a house to be truely reckoned with.

    If the evil kids are split among the other houses, they'll build their charismatic base of support until they take over the other houses as their own army.

    One house loyal to Voldermort that while powerful can't really agree on the use of the power, or three houses each as competent and lead uniformly under his sway?

    Maybe I've played too much D&D...

  • At October 30, 2009 10:37 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    But that doesn't seem to be how it works. They built up support IN Slytherin. (Draco had cronies and such.)

    Split among other houses means that if they DO have a charismatic base of support, it'll be made up of people whose base traits are less inclined for evil. (There are exceptions of course, but in general, brave doesn't respond as well to bullying. Studious is too busy. And nice, well, is too damn nice.)

    That is, if ANY of them are actually characterized as charismatic. And really. Snape? Draco? Not so much. Harry/Hermione/Ron were already unimpressed with Draco even before the sorting hat. Especially when you take into account the presence of Muggle-borns and the racism of most of the Slytherins.

    The isolationism is what really seems to have bred the particularly made the Slytherin kids so bad. They'd be competing with each other in a non-isolated school setting. All together though, they become an army. (And if there are power struggles we don't see, well, they seem to have a unified enough front.)

  • At October 31, 2009 12:17 PM, Blogger Greg Sanders said…

    I think you're absolutely right, but that of course raises the question of whether there's a valid in-universe explanation for such a counterproductive system.

    I made a post in reply where I tried to figure out some of the likely obstacles to educational reform at Hogwarts.

  • At October 31, 2009 11:26 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    To clarify, I'm not attacking Rowling. I think it's a realistic sort of character-stupidity. Not author-stupidity.

    I do like your post. :-)

  • At November 01, 2009 11:52 AM, Blogger Greg Sanders said…

    Glad you liked it. ^_^

    And I didn't get an attacking Rowling vibe, after all your comment on the downsides you point out in regards to downsides of Slytherin house are entirely consistent with what actually happens in the world.

  • At November 19, 2009 6:48 AM, Anonymous r4 dsi said…

    I like this article but..
    last night i went to the midnight premiere of harry potter and the half blood prince! I was honestly so disappointed! was it just me or did it seem very choppy and for some reason didn't feel like it was a harry potter movie. Don't get me wrong some of the parts in it were either really funny or somewhat scary but i really was not satisfied. I don't know, what did you think?? Am i wrong? Give me your opinions..


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