Racism in Harry Potter IV

Mary Ann Dimand amaebi at iwon.com
Wed Jul 12 19:30:07 EDT 2000


Tanaqui said:


> I found the racist Quidditch World Cup almost more than I
> could bear  (the nasty foreigners pretend not to speak English,
> or mangle her with outrageous accents, they commit
> unremitting but unavailing fouls, they blag seats, they have
> siren-harpy cheerleaders who bamboozle the opposition and
> nobble the ref. - albeit causing a problem for one of their own
> players).

I have to say, though, that racism of preceisely this type is absolutely in
the British school story tradition. If you haven't yet read George Orwell's
essay on boy's magazines, may I recommend it as fascinating?

The essay focuses largely on the Greyfriars stories in the Magnet and I
forget what other magazine-- the stories which introduced Billy Bunter to
the world.  (No relation to Mervyn, one imagines and hopes.) Orwell
discussed the stories as both literature and marketed commodities, remarking
snobbism, jiingoistic racism, and reader response and identification.

Then he got word that there was just one author of the stories (the output
and ritualistic elements made him expect a stable), who was writing a
rejoinder. He was qutie panicked, imagining he'd got everything wrong (his
letters reveal). But the jolly old author basically just chortled ripely,
"But foreigners *are* funny! That's whay I make them ridiculous. And they
aren't the sort of straight, upright fellows our clean young Englishmen are,
are they, now?" And more about what stupendous inimatable literature his
work was. :)

Ah, luscious revolting literature. Nothing  like it, as the White King says
of hay. though it's more apt to bring faintness on than to cure it.

Ham sandwich, anyone?

Mary Ann
(I haven't had the pleasure of reading The Goblet of Fire yet, and likely
won't for a year or so. I'm mean, and read Rowlings out of the library.)


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