Harry Potter as allegory ***SPOILERS***

Yes, another Harry Potter thread to confirm my everlasting dorkdom.

Major spoilers ahead for Book 7…

Ok, the racism/genocide theme has been developed in the previous 6 books, but DH really struck me with its similarities to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Let’s see… the purity of blood, the Muggle-born registration (and arrest, imprisonment, or death that follows), Muggle-borns fleeing the country, compulsory education/indoctrination at Hogwarts (Hitler Youth, anyone?), the propaganda, the fascism, the underground radio and print, everything.

Now, the main thing that really got me was the time Harry, Ron and Hermione spent hiding out in the woods, and their many near-misses with Death Eaters and Snatchers. Perhaps it’s just because I use to work with Holocaust survivors and have read a lot of survivor’s autobiographies, but it reminded me of several survivor’s stories. A lot of Jews managed to survive by hiding in the woods, much like Dean Thomas, Ted Tonks, and the goblins. Then, you had entire groups of partisans and resistance fighters hiding out there too, like Harry & Co. Not to mention, what has been seen as a flaw in the other HP thread, the many near misses Harry & Co. had where they blundered through their many escapes. It reminded me of so many survivor’s stories, where they managed to survive because the gun jammed, or they ended up at the end of the line being marched to the mass grave so they managed to run off, or any number of completely random and almost unbelievable coincidences. Anyhow.

It makes me wonder if at some point in the future, HPatDh will be used to teach children about the Holocaust. It obviously leaves out some of the nastier bits like the ghettoes and the camps, but still has the basics WRT racism, fascism, resistance, tolerance, etc.

What do you think? Or am I completely insane for reading it this way?

I just saw it as an attack on general racism/discrimination, but no, you’re not nuts. I’ve no idea if the forest bits you mentioned were intentional.

I thought more of communist regimes than Nazis when I read it. The USSR came to mind more readily than the Fatherland, but I dont’ think you’re insane. Strangely enough, there is another HP thread (sorry, there’ve been so many, I’ve lost track which one this is in) where a poster takes JKR to task for anti-Semitism–according to this poster (don’t remember the user name), the goblins are the Jews: a mistrusted group, in charge of money etc…this poster even mentioned a goblin named Azrael. :confused:

Like all works, each reader brings their own interpretations to it.

Another thing that brought to mind a parallel of Nazi Germany, for me, was the fact that people are still going to work, sending their kids to school, being preoccupied with mundane details of life, etc. At first I was wondering why Arthur Weasley is still showing up at the Ministry, what are they thinking sending Ginny to Hogwarts, but then I realized that even in the final days of the Nazi regime, people had to go to work and kids were expected to go to school.

Yeah, I saw that post too, and thought it was sorta funny seeing as how the whole series stresses tolerance and cooperation and all that.

It’s possible that Rowling has read some of the same stories and used them, consciously or unconsciously, as inspiration. Or it’s possible that the similarities are just because those are the kinds of things that can happen when you’re hiding from an oppressive regime. But I wouldn’t use the word “allegory” to describe what was going on.

But you’re right about the parallels. FWIW, Rowling’s name “Nurmengard” rang Nazi bells for me.

Nurmengard stood out to me, too.

I think there are so many allegories in the series, one of the reasons I think it stands out as more than just a children’s fantasy story. One theme that struck me more in this book was the idea that the goblins and other “minorities” like the House Elves, are in some ways more powerful than the wizards or “wand holders” but are kept from being able to realize their true power. If they were allowed wands, they could very well be the reigning class. They have their own kind of magic but it considered inferior to the wizards’.

Also the change of the statue in the Ministry that showed the wizards standing or sitting on the bodies of Muggles (IIRC) stood out to me.

You can read so much into many of the plots: issues of religion, politics, history / wars, oppression, minorites - (Jews, gays, blacks) animal rights. The list goes on. You could easily write a college level paper on any one of these themes.