The wizarding world of Harry Potter has always offered an easy and satisfying escape route from reality, chock full of fantastic feats (not to mention beasts) and adventure of the highest order, but the series’ darker elements haven taken on new meaning for some in recent days.
Fans were quick to draw comparisons between the cast of characters assembling in the wings of Trump’s America and the magical elite who rose to high office once Voldemort gained power. Of course the two have nothing to actually do with one another, and while we don’t think Trump is made of pure evil, just as we understand the reality that not everyone who supported him is a bigot, the feeling that dark days lie ahead remains.
Or to quote Albus Dumbledore: “Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”
Take Myron Ebell, Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team.
Ebell is a leading climate change denier whose career is dismantling the scientific consensus that global warming is real, man-made and an imminent threat. So the guy in charge of the EPA is someone who doesn’t think the environment is something particularly in need of protecting. Perfect.
For those worried about the water protectors at Standing Rock putting their bodies on the line to stand up for the Earth and all its people, including those who would disperse and forget them, there is tangible fear in the air.
And the environment is just one (huge) issue weighing on people. There’s the prospect of a conservative Supreme Court that puts women’s and LGBTQ’s rights in the crosshairs, and more immediately, an uptick in anecdotal racism and homophobia felt in communities across the nation as Trump’s supporters who do happen to be bigots — and there are many to be sure — feel a sense of earned emboldening.
We don’t want to get too doom and gloom, as there are forces of good that will galvanize to combat any ugliness that should arise, but it’s not unreasonable to be on guard.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them star Ezra Miller agrees.
“I mean, ‘The ministry has fallen, Scrimgeour is dead, they are coming’ feels pretty legit to me,” the out actor told Buzzfeed, likening Voldemort’s rise to power in HP7 to today’s political climate.
He and his friends watched the final Potter film after the election, not because he appears in the upcoming spinoff, but “because some of my friends genuinely needed that. The fear that a lot of people are feeling right now is so palpable and so real.”
“The world of J.K. Rowling [is] this beautiful mythology that comforts us, and if we knew it as children, it brings us to a very basic place of feeling like we’re not alone in the world,” Miller continued. The series, “reminds us of the tools that we have in times of darkness, like the one we are barreling into right now: our love, our support of each other, friendship, community,” he added.
He also drew from the books to make a serious call to action: “I think we’re going to need the Order of the Phoenix,” he said. “We’re going to need people who are willing to make sacrifices and take risks for the people who are going to be in danger.”
Well said, Ezra.