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The Dark Side of Harry Potter
Jul 1, 2002

There has been a new wave of increasing violence in children's films, books, and toys. This concept of incorporating violence deep in the souls with the paradigm to accept ' the other' as the enemy has become widespread. Hence, some children have started to act in the name of the shadows and claim to have superhuman powers.

This essay evaluates an example of violence theme books, claimed to be written for both children and adults. We shall analyze Harry Potter, which has been marketed through commercials and campaigns, in terms of content and language, adequate and overriding themes.

The author: Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born in 1965 in England and graduated from Exeter University with a degree in French literature. She started writing the series after an instant inspiration while riding a train. The Harry Potter series, which has sold more than 200 million copies and has been translated into 47 languages, has made the author one of the highest taxpayers ('60 million sterling) in England.

The hero: Harry Potter is a child who survived a tragedy in which his parents, both wizards, were killed by black magic. As an infant, he was sent to live with his mother's sister and her husband, both opposed to magic and therefore openly hostile to Harry. After realizing that he has inherited supernatural powers, Harry dedicates himself to fighting evil. He acquires many magic skills that no one else has.

Themes: The science-mystic series starts on a Tuesday morning in London. Throughout, good-bad and positive-negative elements are inseparable, for there is neither a hierarchy of values nor a moral code. Furthermore, the characters' morals shift morals throughout the books. The series affects children, leaving traces of subjective behaviors based on imitation and changing ethics. As a result, they use their fathers' cars without permission, lie to cover up incidents, and become apparently disobedient at school.

In such books, there usually is an overwhelming idea: The universe is ordered and good always triumphs over evil. But in this series, there is no good side apart from Harry's hereditary supernatural powers.

Language: Another interesting feature is the unacceptable language full of swear words, even though it is said to be written for children. It is evident that the author tried to maintain the readers' interest through inappropriate metaphors and negative terminology.

Main theme: The usual design of the universe can be changed through magic, and the only way to overcome evil is to use mysterious forces and sorcery. Thus everything is build on a theme of sorcery. The author successfully tells the story for children by using normal objects and places and by incorporating the real world with an artificial world based on sorcery.

Magic is used to overcome evil and help the good, but is portrayed as a positive element to be used in daily life. Thus, all daily behaviors are associated with magic. This emphasis asserts that adults and children must use magic to resolve issues that can be resolved through human willpower and effort. In this case, there is the possibility to believe in sorcery's power, and thereby be drawn into helplessness and pessimism and forgetfulness of Divine power.

The absolute evils in the books (vampires, witches, bloodsuckers) are around all the time and can exert evil constantly. Such a world concept has the potential to increase the number of unhappy children, as well as those who already are aggressive and cause trouble for others.

Up until the eighteenth century, people believed in white (good) and black (bad) magic and that white magic somehow helped goodness to prevail. However, in Harry Potter, white and black magic are inseparable, use the same weapons, and both use the apparatuses used in black magic (e.g.,corps, urine, blood, crow, cemetery soil). However, it is implied that black magic is used for murder and death. Black magic and spells replace mercy, forgiveness, warning, and short-term punishment with methods of terminating and disappearing. As a consequence, children are manipulated toward magic (particularly black magic) and the so-called dark sciences.

Religion and Divine Power: This series emphasizes a universe without any design and owner, one having no concept of God or Destiny. Creation, killing, and reviving are associated with a mysticism originating from an arbitrary and Godless universe. The concepts attributed to God in all religions are tied to the power of magicians and sorcery. In a sense, therefore, sorcery has replaced religion. Harry has an almost divine role due to the supernatural powers he possesses, which have come to him from an unknown source.

Mental violence: In the series, both the good and evil forces use violence against each other. In fact, violence against violence is the primary theme. All of these violent messages sent to the subconscious are constantly repeated and thus leave negative impacts. Moreover, even the fairy used as the symbol of good in such books is portrayed as an evil fairy. It is well known that mental violence is more harmful to one's personality than physical violence.

Interaction with the Devil and Satanism: The series contains many satanic motifs, among them Harry's interaction with the snake in the zoo and owls carrying a letter to him. Both of these animals are apparent signs of the world of sorcery. In fact, the Qur'n refers to the snake as the '€œdevil who leads people astray.'€ The victims of satanic scarifies are unfortunately innocent girls. The author even writes about such a girl who is killed in this way, a murdered cat whose blood is drunk tree days after, and a way of suicide that the Satanists call Satan suicide. Furthermore cemeteries, which also attract Satanists, appear frequently in the books. The Satanists' œblood drinking ritual, based on their belief that they become more powerful by drinking the blood of a cat killed by torture, is also depicted.

We do not know why blood, another element that feeds mental violence, is used so much in books written for children. However, if we consider that blood is not shown on TV news programs, we find it difficult to comprehend the author's intentions. The frequent use of such terms as 'blood, death, soul suckers' cannot lead to anything but mental terror for small children whose perception cannot go beyond physical means.


The Harry Potter series emphasizes an unorganized universe; ignores moral codes; implants mental violence; injects helplessness, fear, and pessimism; replaces religion and Divine Power with sorcery and magic; overlooks the effects of God and Destiny in the flow of events; encourages Satanism, violence, and suicide; and reflects a perception of the consumer society as an appetizing market without any social concern.

Regardless of the author's intention, all of the images and descriptions of violence stored in the subconscious will bear violent people, who will play a role in creating a violent society. We should expect one consequence to be rising rates of children terror, death, and suicide on the nightly news.

From this perspective, this overlooking of moral values, children's pure minds, and the beautiful world of tomorrow for the sake of earning more and reaching greater markets could be countered by the efforts of those striving for goodness and their consciousness of these dangerous games. Children, to whom we one day will hand over the future, can be saved only in this way.