Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

[...] whence, after all, have the ideas of J.K. Rowling and her books emerged? From middle-class Britain – and not just any era in the history of middle-class Britain. Harry Potter is, irreducibly, a product of the End of History years: after the fall of the Soviet Union, and before the 2007-08 financial crash (the last book in the regular series was published in July 2007, two months before the collapse of Northern Rock). Years of smug certainty, where a vague progressivism and myths of meritocracy were allowed to conceal the still-entrenched injustices that the ruling class would weaponise once everything started to go wrong. Certain members of Rowling's generation – herself, of course, very much included – benefited immensely from this order, and their politics is now largely defined by their inability to recognise why it failed.

In fact: there is no principle that defines the wizarding world of Harry Potter more clearly than that of meritocracy. In the series, wizards constitute a ruling class, membership of which is precisely defined by merit – you're either magical, so you deserve to be a member of the wizarding class (no matter how evil you are), or you're not and thus you don't. The thrill of Harry Potter is not that of fighting evil wizards – it's that of being inducted to the ruling classes: from the comically dull, petty-bourgeois world of the Dursleys that Harry grew up in, to the Eton/Oxford substitute of Hogwarts, where every strange ritual seems alive with meaning. At age 11, the wizard child discovers something about themselves – that essentially, inherently, they are deserving, that they, unlike all the Muggles, have merit. That the whole of the magical world belongs to them.

But of course, this 'merit' – much like the merit which ostensibly fuels mobility in our own world – is suspiciously heritable: magic often runs in 'great wizarding families' (although these families can technically produce non-magical 'squibs') – often, magical merit looks like nothing other than having gone to the right school. [...]

so good!

Harry Potter as Religion by Tom Whyman 5 years, 3 months ago