On Violence in the Magical World

Po 11 března 2024

(a comment on the Reddit thread “Lavender Brown is a good friend.” started by u/Fan_of_Fanfics; more discussion on that thread)

This is actually a very good comment, because it forced me to think more about the magical world. Of course, I agree, that culturally we are learned to be much more harsh about the violence of man on women (for many good reasons) than the other way around, but I don’t think it is it.

From the Dolyist point of view, I am angry with “Golden Bullets” (and all bashing!Ron stories) that they manipulated the story to be more violent and made Hermione look worse. It is the same as with many Harmony stories, where Ron is not only jealous and not believing Harry about the Goblet of Fire. No, he even had a letter from Charlie informing him about dragons, and he didn’t tell Harry anything, because he wanted him to be hurt by a dragon! And this is the same here, not only Ron was hit by twenty fluffy hairball-like little birds (which is what happened in the film), but he was bloodied and wounded to the level he required hospitalization! I don’t like it.

However, that is not what is really interesting. The situation is fascinating for me from the Watsonian point of view. I had to rethink again how very violent the magical world is. Yes, you are right, children are cruel and violent, but in the magical world, every child since age eleven, got a lethal weapon in his hand and training how to use it. I studied for a PhD in criminology (not criminalistics, like the crime scene investigation, but a sub-category of sociology, studying reasons why people commit crimes and possible methods of prevention) and as such, I am persuaded that the number of violent crimes in the United States is directly correlated with number of weapons in population.

There is that stupid argument that if you take weapons from people, only criminals will have them. It completely misses the point. The point where they are wrong is not that we would like to prevent Cosa Nostra from committing crimes. We cannot, or not by arms control. However, that is not our aim, because most violent crime is not committed by criminal syndicates. What we can do, is to prevent the casual availability of lethal weapons in the population. As you said, children (or teenagers) are cruel, violent, and completely lacking means of conflict control. Conflicts, especially among male teenagers, happen, and sometime end in violence. The difference between the United States and other countries, is that in other countries they use fists (or in the worst case, knives), which can hurt, wound, but it takes much more effort to kill. In the US, they have immediately guns in their hands, and somebody gets killed. The highest number of murders in the United States among non-relatives (of course, you know, that your most probable murderer is among your relatives, especially your spouse, not some evil criminal, right?), so the highest number of such murders there is among teenagers, either in relation to drugs or not.

Now switch to the magical universe. It is the society which is absolutely completely saturated with lethal weapons, in the literal meaning of the word. Absolutely every magical child, man, or woman has a lethal weapon in their hands all the time, and they are trained to use it. The violent crime rate must be incredible. I was joking that the Harry Potter universe is a lot like the Wild West, where everybody has a gun on their belt, but it is much, much worse. In such a world, the punishment for any unjustifiable violent action, should be much, much more strict, otherwise they would kill each other pretty quickly. And of course, it is combined with all those hundreds of hormonal teenagers being held together in a boarding school for a whole year.

Category: literature Tagged: review harryPotter blogComment