The Harry Potter franchise is arguably the voice of a generation. Ever since its release in 1997 millions of us have been utterly enchanted with the magical universe. However, what if I were to tell you that it's not just entertainment and literature being affected? A brand new study carried out by the American Political Science Association has found a correlation between readers of the J.K Rowling novels and their political stance on the upcoming elections. The trial's results have discovered this:
This is definitely a very strong statement to be making at the present time. Therefore, in order to ensure the results were as true as possible the researchers cross-referenced their information against other controlling factors and still found Harry Potter to be the determining difference between participants:
"Even when controlling for party identification, gender, education level, age, evangelical self-identification, and social dominance orientation — all factors known to predict Americans’ attitudes toward Donald Trump — the Harry Potter effect remained."
Between 2014 and 2016, panels and multivariate models were carried out in the name of research. The study was given the name Harry Potter and the Deathly Donald, which unsurprisingly was not a working title J.K Rowling toyed with for one of the installments. The key researcher and founder of the project was Diana C. Mutz, Professor of Political Science and Communication and from the data gathered she managed to draw up this conclusion:
“Because Trump’s political views are widely viewed as opposed to the values espoused in the Harry Potter series, exposure to the Potter series may play an influential role in influencing how Americans respond to Donald Trump.”
There's no denying that this is an interesting result, but let's examine the ways Professor Mutz believes Trump's ideologies clash with the teachings of Harry Potter:
1. Tolerance And Understanding
Within the Harry Potter universe it is the villains who seek out a purity within the magical world, either by degradation or extermination of those deemed unworthy. The protagonist himself is a half-blood wizard which means within Voldemort's perfect world he would not exist. The heroes of Hogwarts, including Dumbledore, Hermione and the Weasleys all preach lessons of tolerance and appreciation of those who, at least on the surface, may be different. In addition, Arthur Weasley's job is to observe and learn from Muggles, something he takes great pleasure and fascination from. Mutz believes these strong views of tolerance go against what Donald Trump stands for.
The Republican candidate has on numerous occasions claimed he wanted to prevent Muslims from entering the States and has repeatedly made offensive comments about women, religious groups and people with disabilities.
This is not the positive and understanding sentiment J.K Rowling created in her novels. Therefore, those who have grown up on and value the morality of Harry Potter are likely to shy away from Trump's opposing views. As Kinglsey Shacklebolt quipped in The Deathly Hallows:
“We are all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
2. How You Treat Those Who Need You The Most
Readers of the series are taught very early on it's important treat others well, regardless of their social standing. This scene shows how brutal Lucius Malfoy is to his 'servant' and that he is completely happy imprisoning a living-being for his own personal gain. In contrast you have characters such as Sirius Black, who himself said in The Goblet Of Fire:
“If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”
Mutz has compared the morality presented in the books with the views of The Apprentice star. Trump has been seen talking down to those he believes to be lesser than him. In March this year, hundreds of his former employees sued the business mogul for employment violations. His views on those most in need of his help (especially if he was to be elected into power) are subject to change as he floats between being misogynistic, then "fighting for women's right" or protecting the "little guy" but only decreasing tax for the rich.
The two views of Rowling's work and the presidential candidate clash horribly. Therefore, it makes sense that when Trump says something against the vulnerable that the Potter readers are unable to support his actions. Although it may sometimes be difficult to do the right thing, Harry Potter teaches us all that it's the honest thing to do.
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3. Violence And Torture
It is not until the fourth installment of Harry Potter that we learn all about the unforgivable curses. It seems even in the wizarding world some actions go too far. I remember being particularly disturbed by the Cruciatus curse and its agonizing effects. Therefore, it's completely understandable that Hogwarts students should be taught that the three unforgivable curses are not only terrible, but punishable by a one way ticket to Azkaban prison. The young witches and wizards soon learn that, though they have magical powers, they should not be used to harm another living thing. However, they are allowed to protect themselves but should do so by disarming. Harry even goes as far as to save Draco's life, even though they've been enemies the whole time.
However, as we know, not all wizards are good. The Death Eaters and their evil leader Voldemort take great pleasure in using these horrible curses. Bellatrix herself caused Neville Longbottom's parents so much pain they went insane. Their sadistic nature is upsetting to most readers, but ultimately teaches us that harming others is inexcusable regardless of the situation.
The findings of the study have shown that these anti-violent views are the complete opposite of those of Trump. The presidential candidate has voiced his plans to bring back torture if he's elected. He's said on camera that he is not opposed to waterboarding other such hideous methods to extract information from alleged terrorists.
His methods to inflict pain and suffering on others goes against everything we as readers learnt at Hogwarts. You can understand how someone who holds the bravery and mercy of the good wizards so highly would be so disturbed to hear Trump announcing that he is all for 'the unforgivable curses.'
4. The Fight Against Authoritarianism
Potter's main mission within the novels is to stand up to negative authoritarianism, be it in the form of bullies at school, Voldemort's followers or the corrupt Ministry of Magic. All of the gang are fully aware that their rebellious actions could cost them their place at Hogwarts or worse, their lives. Yet they continue on, fighting for what they believe in.
The role models that Rowling has created for millions of her fans offer the courage and inspiration to stand up for what is good within the world. It's no wonder that the readers of the books would find something so honorable and carry it with them. So when someone like Trump comes along and seeks to make others bow to his command, they instinctively turn away from him.
In the study Professor Mutz argues that Donald's ideals support an authoritarian society, proven by his talks of his aims to make China fear America and stop them from using the country as a "piggy bank":
The study supports the concept that Potterheads are unconsciously pushing against the views of Trump, in fact the results showed that reading just one Harry Potter book lowered the likelihood of you voting for Trump by 18%, and the percent only increases the more books you read. The study has definitely brought up some interesting thoughts on how literature may well influence us more than we realize. However, we'll have to wait and see in November whether the Potterheads stay true to their magical teachings.
Do you think Harry Potter readers are less likely to vote for Trump?