Which country practices totalitarianism

Parallels to the form of rule of totalitarian systems in "Harry Potter"


A) Totalitarian systems in world history

B) Hidden parallels to the form of rule of totalitarian systems in "Harry Potter"
1 Explanation of the starting position
2 ideology
2.1 Racial doctrine
2.2 Suppression of the “inferior” race
3 form of rule
3.1 Leader principle
3.2 Rule by Spreading Fear
3.3 Disregard for human rights
4 comparisons of people
4.1 Lord Voldemort - Adolf Hitler
4.2 Severus Snape - Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg
4.3 Wormtail - German population
4.4 Hermine Granger - Albert Einstein: Refutation of the racial doctrine
5 More parallels
5.1 Symbols
5.2 Terms
6 “Harry Potter” as an anti-totalitarian work
6.1 Impact of the narrative perspective on the reader
6.2 Self-identification of the reader as "Muggle"

C) Public awareness of the anti-totalitarian aspect of the work

A) Totalitarian systems in world history

"[Totalitarianism] describes a political rule that demands unrestricted disposal over the ruled and their complete submission to a (dictatorial) political goal."1

Probably the most recent example of a totalitarian ruler is Muammar al-Gaddafi. From 1979 to 2011 he was the head of the African state of Libya.2 His regime there and the NATO mission in that country preoccupied all of Europe. Gaddafi died on October 20, 2011 under previously unexplained circumstances. Totalitarianism in Libya was defeated In Germany, Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists succeeded between 1933 and 1945 in building a totalitarian state. In this they ensured their exclusion with slogans against Jews, Sinti, Roma, homosexuals, the disabled and other marginalized groups and propagated the German Aryans as a master race. The Germans also began World War II under Hitler to expand their territory. One of the worst known crimes in human history, the Holocaust, occurred under the right-wing Nazi regime. Around 6 million Jews were systematically and deliberately exterminated. With Josef Stalin, a radical left-wing ruler came to power in what was then the Soviet Union in the 1940s. He also created a totalitarian regime, which continued to exist after his death in 1953.

Today there is only a totalitarian ruler in North Korea. Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994, is still the head of state there. According to the constitution, North Korea is a socialist state, so it is also one of the radical left totalitarian states.

It is striking that a totalitarian system can only be linked to a radical ideology. In a democracy, citizens have too much power to allow dictator status. Obviously, whether left or right-wing radicals does not matter. Such totalitarian systems do not only exist in real life. Totalitarianism is also practiced in fictional literary works and is a common form of rule. You can find him in Christopher Paolini's "Eragon" as well as in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings". Joanne K. Rowling's “Harry Potter” also fights against a totalitarian system. The following work deals with its structure and the similarities there to the real world.

B) Hidden parallels to the form of rule of totalitarian systems in "Harry Potter"

1 Explanation of the starting position

At the beginning of this work it is important to briefly explain the current situation in the "Harry Potter" volumes in order to bring it back to mind.

The work "Harry Potter" is named after the protagonist. He considers himself a completely ordinary boy until he finds out on his eleventh birthday that he is a wizard. His parents were murdered by the black magician Lord Voldemort when Harry was one year old. Voldemort and his totalitarian regime were at the height of their power at this point. That evening Voldemort wanted to kill Harry too, as the prophecy says he will pose a threat to him. The killing curse, which no human has survived, ricochets off Harry and tears Voldemort out of his body. Harry becomes a celebrity in the magical world that "normal" people don't know about.

From now on, each volume describes Harry's school year at Hogwarts boarding school, the school of wizardry. There he experiences various adventures with his best friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. At the end of the fourth volume, Lord Voldemort regains his body. Now he continues to pursue his goal of killing Harry. In the sixth book, Harry's mentor Albus Dumbledore, probably the most powerful “good” wizard, is murdered. As a result, Voldemort and his followers seize power in the magical world again at the beginning of the seventh and final volume. At the end of the work Harry and Voldemort face each other in a fight, which Harry - without killing - wins. The self-proclaimed "Dark Lord" is defeated and peace and harmony are restored.

An interesting aspect is what ideology Lord Voldemort's totalitarianism follows and how it is implemented. Several other parallels between Voldemort and other dictatorships can also be discovered in Joanne K. Rowling's work.

These are discussed below.

2 ideology

2.1 Racial doctrine

"[The] Pureblood [...] [is Lord Voldemort's] belief the only kind of wizard [...] worthy to exist and to know".3 With this statement Albus Dumbledore captures the quintessence of the racial theory practiced by the Death Eaters, Voldemort's followers.

For them, a pure-blood wizard, a wizard whose ancestors do not contain any Muggles, is above all else. Voldemort shows this, among other things, with his statement that "[every] drop of magical blood that is shed [is] a loss and a waste" (VII, 667).

Muggles, on the other hand, are "people who have not a drop of magical blood in their veins" (II, 7). According to Voldemort and his followers, they are inferior because they do not have the ability to perform magic.

The Death Eaters also despise Muggle-born wizards, that is, magicians whose parents are Muggles. These are insulted by them as mudbloods. This "is a really bad swear word for someone who comes from a Muggle family" (II, 121). Hermione Granger, in particular, is exposed to this abuse frequently during the volumes4as she, although she is a brilliant witch5, descended from two dentists. The disgust of the Death Eaters also includes what they call “blood traitors”. These are actually pure-blood wizards who deal with Muggles and accept them as people of equal value. For Pius Thicknesse, who is under the Imperius curse [with this curse the cursed person is completely controlled and can no longer act independently], “the traitors are just as bad as the mudbloods” (VII, 255). From the point of view of Bellatrix Lestrange, one of Voldemort's most loyal servants, "[blood traitors] come on [their] list right after Mudbloods" (VII, 470). The Weasley family is considered to be the "worst" traitor family, which Bill Weasley also confirms: "We [the Weasleys] are the largest traitor family there is" (VII, 490). Likewise, Arthur Weasley says of himself that he "[has] fought half a life [...] against the mistreatment of Muggles" (IV, 58). That is why Ron Weasley has been insulted several times as a "traitor of blood".6

Half-blooded wizards, who have a magical and a non-magical parent, are also impure according to the Death Eater ideology. However, since Lord Voldemort himself is a half-breed7 and “most wizards have mixed blood” (II, 121) “the Death Eaters only hate Muggle-borns because they are not all pure-blood themselves” (VI, 244f). This division is strongly reminiscent of the division of Jews during the Nazi era. These were divided into full Jews, half Jews and quarter Jews by the Hitler regime and treated accordingly differently. Officially, these people were considered Jews or mixed race of the first or second degree.

When Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters take power in the wizarding world, they immediately begin spreading their theses. Leaflets are being distributed at the ministry explaining the dangers posed by mudbloods8 and Muggle Studies at Hogwarts School of Magic teach that "Muggles are like animals" (VII, 582).

Originally, however, this teaching does not come from Lord Voldemort, but from the co-founder of the Hogwarts School Salazar Slytherin9. According to Slytherin, only purebloods are worthy of studying magic10 and the Hogwartshaus named after him "[produced] more black witches and wizards [...] than any other" (II, 81). Slytherin's basilisk at Hogwarts [a large snake whose looks kill] does not attack purebloods either.11 His descendant Voldemort takes over the Slytherin imaginations and makes them his.

2.2 Suppression of the “inferior” race

According to the Death Eaters, these "inferior" people should be suppressed or even destroyed. The members of the Malfoy family, in particular, repeatedly show a particular aversion to Muggle-borns. So both Lucius Malfoy and his son Draco express the opinion that Muggle-borns should not be admitted to Hogwarts12, or "the school [...] must be cleansed of all filthy mudbloods" (I, 88).

The Malfoy family also regularly attack Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts. According to Lucius Malfoy, this is "the worst [...] that could happen to this school, [because] [e] r [...] people of Muggle origin [like]" (II, 232). Lord Voldemort also describes Dumbledore as a "Muggle-loving fool" (IV, 687). It is all the more surprising that even the young Albus Dumbledore had plans according to which the wizards should rule over the Muggles "for the greater good" (VII, 365f). That even a “Muggle friend” like Dumbledore once had such views supports Sirius Black's [Harry Potter's godfather] thesis that “there were a lot of people who thought he [Voldemort] had the right idea of ​​where to go “(V, 136).

The oppression of the "lower race", primarily of all Muggle-borns, increases dramatically with the rise of Voldemort. He begins with his self-proclaimed goal of "ruling over the Muggles and the Muggle-borns" (VII, 199) by introducing the "Muggle-born registration" in the Ministry of Magic13. In the course of this, all magicians who are suspected of being of Muggle descent have to prove their “blood status”. Remus Lupine refers to this as "[rounding up] Muggle-borns [r]" (VII, 216) and Harry Potter explains to Muggle-born Mrs. Cattermole that they "do not have anything like a fair hearing [...] here [when registering Muggle-borns] [ gets] ”(VII, 271).

Something similar happened in Germany at the time of the Third Reich, when Jewish citizens had the word “Jew” in bold in their passports. Likewise, from September 1, 1941, all Jews throughout the German Reich were obliged to wear a Jewish star on the street so that the general population could identify them as inferior. The same thing happened to the opponents of the dictator Mao Tse-tung in the People's Republic of China. These were given shame hats so that they could be publicly identified.14

Measures against Muggle people are also being introduced at Hogwarts. While in Germany Jewish pupils were “only” discriminated against, for example by calling them inferior in front of other pupils, young people of Muggle origin are no longer allowed to attend the School of Magic15. The same has been done for a long time at the Eastern Magic School in Durmstrang.16 In order to visit Hogwarts, the young witches and wizards must prove their blood status. The factories do not learn anything more about the practical implementation of this ban in Durmstrang.

3 form of rule

3.1 Leader principle

As in most dictatorships, the Death Eaters have a clear leader who makes all the decisions: Lord Voldemort. This is made up of his chosen group of followers, the Death Eaters17, respectfully addressed as "Dark Lord" (V, 697) or simply as "Lord" (VII, Chapter 1). They also treat Voldemort with great respect in other ways: for example, they approach him on their knees and kiss his cloak.18 Voldemort's self-appointed “friends” (VI, 448) have sworn “eternal loyalty” (IV, 676) and obey all his commands. Severus Snape posing as a Death Eater19 formulates the simple rule of the followers of Voldemort: "The word of the Dark Lord is law" (VI, 39). In order to make this regulation sustainable, Voldemort also uses drastic methods such as torture to punish his followers.20 Even in his school days there was a group of boys who “looked up to Voldemort, then still Tom Riddle, as their leaders” (VI, 499). This group, which Riddle gathered around himself, "were the forerunners of the Death Eaters, and some of them later also became the first Death Eaters" (VI, 364), which is why one can certainly speak of parallels between the two groups. His school-age followers were "a mixture of the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking glory, and thugs who were drawn to a leader" (VI, 364). Similar groupings can also be found in the Third Reich. However, under Hitler with the SA (Sturmabteilung), the SS (Schutzstaffel), the Wehrmacht and his party, the NSDAP, there were several basic pillars that stood under him (although the SA lost more and more importance after the seizure of power), while Voldemort has only the Death Eaters as followers.


1 See Federal Agency for Civic Education / bpb.de: Lexika: Totalitarismus

2 See fr-online: The hunt is over, October 21, 2011

3 Harry Potter V, p. 989 - From now on in italics: Harry Potter I-VII, the following number indicates text passage.

4 See, inter alia, Harry Potter II, p. 117; Harry Potter VI, p. 116; Harry Potter VII, p. 197.

5 See Section 4.4.

6 See, inter alia, Harry Potter VI, p. 300; Harry Potter VII, p. 197.

7 See Section 4.1.

8 See Harry Potter VII, p. 256f.

9 See Harry Potter II, p. 159.

10 See Harry Potter II, p. 157f.

11 See Harry Potter II, p. 193.

12 See Harry Potter II, p. 233.

13 See Harry Potterr VII, p. 216.

14 See Welt-online: Mao Tse-tsung - From the cult of a mass murderer, 09/30/2004.

15 See Harry Potter VII, p. 217.

16 See Harry Potter IV, p. 174.

17 See Harry Potter V, p. 993.

18 See Harry Potter IV, p. 676.

19 See section 4.2.

20 See Harry Potter IV, pp. 603f.

End of the reading sample from 22 pages