Good news for Harry Potter fans. Science just said that those who read the books are better human beings than those who don’t.
According to a new paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, “reading the Harry Potter series significantly improved young peoples’ perception of stigmatised groups like immigrants, homosexuals or refugees.”
Ultimately, JK Rowling is to thank for that, as she has taken ideologies from everyday life and applied them to the characters and storylines in her books.
For instance, ‘Mudblood’ is a commonly used term in the novels, as a way to describe non-magic folk. And if you think about it, it could be traced to pretty much any other racially discriminatory slang.
Last year, JK Rowling answered a fan’s question on the topic, saying that, “the expressions ‘pure-blood’, ‘half-blood’ and ‘muggle-born’ have been coined by people to whom these distinctions matter and express their originators’ prejudices.
“As far as somebody like Lucius Malfoy is concerned, for instance, a muggle-born [wizard] is as bad as a muggle. Therefore Harry would be considered only half-wizard because of his mother’s grandparents.”
Rowling said that even with how far-fetched this is, it’s not that far from the truth, this same concept is shown in some of the real charts the Nazis used to show what constituted Aryan or Jewish blood.
“I saw one in the Holocaust Museum in Washington when I had already devised the ‘pure-blood’, ‘half-blood’ and ‘muggle-born’ definitions and was chilled to see that the Nazis used precisely the same warped logic as the Death Eaters,” she said.
“A single Jewish grandparent ‘polluted’ the blood, according to their propaganda.”
So, good news, if you’re a fan of Potter, then you’re probably not a Nazi.
The reason Potterheads are better people is probably because Rowling believes that they were a part of Hogwarts too.
It has also been noticed that there are parallels in the books with famous quotes from history. For example, when Albus Dumbledore slates the Minister of Magic, he said:
“You place too much importance, and you always have done, on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognise that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!”
It echoes a statement made by Martin Luther King, Jr during his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”
So whilst everyone reading the book thought that it was just all made up, it seems that they were getting a history lesson as well.
We see what you did there, Rowling. Made all those kids learn important life lessons without them even realising.