Race In Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, By J.K. Rowling

1545 words - 6 pages

Race in Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireThroughout the Harry Potter series, race is an important issue that is touched upon, discussed, and glossed over in a variety of ways. In The Goblet of Fire, the fourth book in the series, the racial issues seem to multiply and stand out more than they have in the previous books. It is interesting, however, because the topic of race is not discussed in just the traditional sense. Different nationalities of race are discussed, but what seems to be more important in the book are the tensions between the different types of wizarding race, between wizards and non-wizards, and between different types or races of creatures within the wizarding world. While J.K. Rowling seems to believe in trying to teach an "everyone is equal" moral, the portrayals of race throughout Harry Potter only seem to further stereotypes, because the racial issues that we are used to encountering in the real world are played down, while the imaginary racial issues within the fictional world are stressed.Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where most of the story is set, is a British boarding school, of sorts, specializing in the teaching of magic. The school is multiculturally diverse--we are presented with a variety of races that all seem to live in prejudice-free harmony, even dating inter-racially without thinking twice. We are also introduced in this book to two other magic schools, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang. Beauxbatons is Hogwart's French counterpart, and Durmstrang seems to be of German or Russian origin, though it only specifies that they come from somewhere cold. The characters from these schools are incredibly stereotypical. The students speak with heavy accents, as well as act and dress differently than the students at Hogwarts. The portrayal of these different ethnicities is interesting, however, because they don't seem to matter much. Harry has a crush on Cho, a pretty Asian girl, while Ron falls for Fleur, a French girl from Beauxbatons. Hermione dates Viktor, a student from Durmstrang, and Harry and Ron go to the Yule Ball with Parvati and Padma Patil, two assumedly Indian girls from Hogwarts. All of this happens without a single reference to their races, save for physical description and, of course, their names. It is interesting that Rowling plays down and even goes so far as to stereotype these ethnicities, because these are the types of racial issues that we are used to encountering. Instead, Rowling turns to other examples of race and prejudice, ones that she can create with in the fictional setting of the book.First, there is the tension between Wizards and Muggles, who are regular humans with no magical power. The term "muggle" seems to be commonly used, and yet frequently seems condescending. Some characters, such as Ron's father, are obsessed and fascinated with muggles, wanting to learn more about the culture. Others, such as the Malfoys, hold all muggles in great contempt, as if they are a lesser...

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