- At the end of “Harry Potter,” the titular hero didn’t save the Wizarding World from all its evils.
- Harry’s last thought, before the series’ epilogue, is if a house-elf will make him a sandwich.
- Wizard supremacy appears to be alive and well 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts.
Harry Potter is lauded as the brave and successful hero of the series, but what actually changed after he defeated Voldemort?
The real evils plaguing the Wizarding World cut deeper than one powerful villain. And based on Harry’s thoughts right after the Battle of Hogwarts, his actions didn’t get to the root of the issue.
Harry’s final thought in the last chapter of ‘Deathly Hallows’ proves how limited his success was
In the last sentence of “Deathly Hallows” before the series’ epilogue, we learn Harry’s thoughts after the Battle of Hogwarts:
“… He turned away from the portraits, thinking now only of the four-poster bed lying waiting for him in Gryffindor Tower, and wondering whether Kreacher might bring him a sandwich there …”
Kreacher is essentially Harry’s personal slave. In the Wizarding World, house-elves are imprisoned and forced to do manual labor, despite the fact that wizards could easily accomplish those tasks using, you know, magic.
But hierarchies aren’t about pragmatism. They’re about power. In this world, that means maintaining the status of “pure-blood” wizards.
Voldemort used wizard-supremacist ideals to justify his brutal ascent to power, and Harry spends his entire adolescence fighting to defeat him. But mere hours after his ultimate triumph, Harry endorses the very system that Voldemort personified … because he wants a snack.
But maybe we should cut Harry some slack. After all, he was only 17 when he cast the charm that ended Voldemort’s life. And the battle – that the house-elves also fought in – must have been tiring.
Defeating Voldemort didn’t magically end all notions of oppression and wizard supremacy
At the end of the series, it seems like the entire Wizarding World has deluded itself into thinking that the war was won the minute Tom Riddle drew his last breath.
But for those of us paying attention, it’s abundantly clear that Voldemort was never more than a charismatic demagogue whose rise was a symptom of a much deeper, much older, and much more pernicious disease.
Salazar Slytherin tried to rid Hogwarts of “non-pure-blood” wizards in 990. When Harry arrived at Hogwarts 1,000 years later, wizard society was still enslaving house-elves, denying goblins access to wands, colonizing centaur land, and forcing werewolves out of their jobs.
Despite the strained relationships between wizards and magical creatures, the Fountain of Magical Brethren in the Ministry of Magic depicts a centaur, goblin, and house-elf gazing adoringly at a pair of wizards. When injustice becomes law, propaganda becomes duty.
Voldemort wasn’t even the first villain to use wizard supremacy to amass power. Grindelwald made an enduring blueprint for him, and Voldemort’s defeat merely created a legacy for the next dark wizard.
Based on series’ epilogue, it’s clear that not much actually changed after Voldemort’s demise
Unsurprisingly, 19 years later, wizard supremacy is alive and well.
In the series’ epilogue, as Harry arrives at Platform 9 3/4 to send his children off to Hogwarts, his son Albus worries about being sorted into Slytherin.
The Hogwarts house refused to stand against Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts, and apparently, it still has a bad reputation.
Ron also nonchalantly admits to using a Confundus charm on a muggle, so evidently, it’s still fine to take away someone’s agency if they’re not a wizard.
The billowing steam from the Hogwarts Express blankets the scene, and it all feels a bit too familiar.
As the train pulls away, I picture Albus and James Potter settling into their carriages and pulling out food that their parents packed for the ride. Despite my best efforts, I can’t help but wonder: Who made their sandwiches?