As I was reading the seventh Harry Potter book, I was surprised at how closely you could relate the holocaust to what was happening to the wizarding (and muggle) communities due to the ministry being overthrown. Just a few examples I can think of off the top of my head.
- Muggle born wizards (Mudbloods) were rounded up and deprived of their freedoms, just as the Jews were.
- Muggles were being terrorized and killed off almost systematically by death eaters, again just like the Jewish were.
- It is evident particularly in the case of Arthur Weasley that although the ministry had now become a tool of destruction and demise - people were too scared to revolt, and continued to work under evil authorities, just like many SS officers who felt that their lives, and their family's lives were in danger if they were to disobey orders.
- There is a lack of social revolt, and anything that could be considered close to it, eg. The Order of the Pheonix was very much underground, and lacking in effectiveness on a large scale.
- The notion of "Pure Blood" can be closely linked to Hitlers obsession with an Arian race.
Are there more similarities/differences between the two? Where do house elves, and Goblins fit in to all of this?
4 Answers | Add Yours
Yeah, I don't think it's any accident that one of Dumbledore's greatest accomplishments was against a dark wizard in 1945... I don't think there's any question that there are many similarities.
I don't think that both the mudbloods and the Muggles can be "the Jews" in part because I think that it's overstating it to say that the Death Eaters are kiling Muggles in any sort of systematic way. To me, the Muggles are more like the non-Jewish citizens of the occupied countries like France. They're not being treated badly in a systematic way, but they're clearly seen as something low -- things to be used however the master race wants.
As for the house elves and the goblins -- I think that they are like the conscript labor that the Germans took from other countries. They're not Jews and so they don't need to be rooted out. But they are fit only to be servants.
Obviously, Deathly Hallows isn't a direct analogy. You don't have death camps. The fact that there are all these different species makes direct analogy difficult, as does the fact that all of the Muggles don't even know that the magical world exists.
However, the basic idea of a master race that feels it is better than everyone else is clearly analogous. So too is the idea that the mudbloods are somehow impure and are ruining the master race's society -- that's actually the biggest/most important similarity to me. Hitler thought the Jews were ruining Germany because they were impure yet had power. That seems very close to what Voldemort and the Death Eaters think about the mudbloods.
After writing Lord Of The Rings, Tolkien spent the rest of his life rebutting people who claimed they had found an allegory for his book. No matter how often he insisted it was simply a neo-myth in the medieval European style, people insisted it was about 'this metaphor' or 'that metaphor'.
Harry Potter was an on-going, book-by-book continuation of a simple kids story about a little boy who goes to magic school. Rowling famously struggled to meet her publisher's deadlines and had lots of 'help' from her publishers to get the later, fat books to print. To say it is a metaphor for the holocaust is to suggest she knew at the start where the story was going. She most certainly did not. She did not know it would become a multi-book sensation when she wrote the first book. It is a mediocre fantasy series for children about wizards, nothing more.
Cherry-picking a few sparse facts and shoe-horning them into a pre-concluded theory is illogical, to say the least. And, more importantly, to go looking for the holocaust in trivial childrens books is bordering on offensive.
I do agree that Lord of the Rings is not historically allegorical, although it is easy to see the similarities. This is because the book focuses on large themes present throughout society. On the other hand, Harry Potter intentionally borrows from everything. There are allusions to history, mythology, religion, pop culture, other books and just about anything you can think of. These are not coincidences. Some people downplay Harry Potter because of this, but it does introduce young people to allusions.
In book 7, you can definitely see the similarities to a Nazi totalitarian regime, if not directly the Holocaust. Voldemort has every register their wands and their lineage. We get a glimpse of the trial of a muggle-born woman and how the Ministry was ready to execute her. Voldemort uses Hogwarts to register all muggle born students. I found this similar to how Jews had to be registered as well.
We’ve answered 287,337 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question