Bullying, DWJ, and Harry Potter...

Gili Bar-Hillel abhillel at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 30 06:38:36 EST 2003

Denise wrote:

>the Harry Potter books seem (to me at least) to condone bullying, in >the 
>sense that Harry & Ron are depicted as justified in mistreating >their 
>"friend" Hermione because of her bookish habits.

I disagree with this point of view. Perhaps it is true in the first book, 
before Harry and Ron befriend Hermione, but later on it is so clear what 
close friends they are and how much the boys admire her and depend upon her 
bookishness, that I would chalk their "negative" comments down to friendly 
teasing, not true bullying. After the first part of the first book, I don't 
get the feeling they are really trying to upset or ridicule her with their 
comments, and definitely not that they are trying to affect her behaviour 
and make her read less, which I think would comprise true bullying.

>I know that DWJ treats this issue from the other side round -- showing 
> >what revolting little jerks bullies of any sort can be -- in Witch >Week, 
>but I can't remember what other books she did it in.

I think it is a recurring theme in DWJ's books for the protagonist to 
suddenly realise what his/her behaviour looks like from someone else's 
perspective, and get a bit of a shock to discover that other people find 
him/her to be  overbearing. It happens to Cat and to Christopher, to several 
characters in "Power of Three" and "Time of the Ghost"... I'm sure there are 
many more examples.

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