I’ve loved many books, but it’s hard to imagine a story that will take up as big a space in my heart as the Harry Potter series. I know I’m not alone in that. The series can be an escape from the “real” world. Given the current political situation escaping to Hogwarts, even just in my head, is appealing. The places, characters, and stories we love can give us a needed break.
At the same time, something about our current administration feels familiar to what Harry Potter was up against. I don’t want to be hyperbolic. No one is going around using the Cruciatus Curse or Avada Kedavra-ing people from different backgrounds. Although our president did say torture “absolutely works” and advocated a ban on certain nationalities and religions entering our country without due process. Also, the Jewish Day School in my relatively liberal hometown received a bomb threat last week which the head of our country suggested might have been made up. Also…I could keep going and going and going.
If there was an all-powerful dark lord secretly occupying the back of the president’s head Quirinus Quirrell style, I wouldn’t be that surprised.
This is a little silly in some very non-silly times. But something that’s kept me from tearing my hair out as each headline escalates in scariness and absurdity, is comparing current political participants to Harry Potter villains.
***Disclaimer: certain members of this administration may or may not still be in office as further information about illegal and undisclosed ties to Russia come to light.***
Donald Trump – Gilderoy Lockhart
Despite the fact that J.K. Rowling herself compared 45 to Voldemort, I see him much more as Harry’s bumbling, fame-obsessed defense against the dark arts instructor from second year. Filled to the brim with bravado and groundless claims of his greatness, can’t you just see Lockhart using the word bigly before completely failing to save Ginny Weasley from the Basilisk?
Stephen Bannon – Voldemort
“Alt-right” and “Nationalism” sound kind of harmless, but the platform seems pretty similar to another group: Death Eaters. As former executive chair of Breitbart News and current White House Chief Strategist (not to mention member the National Security Council) I think this guy has enough cunning and power to be the real he-who-must-not-be-named. I’m not alone in this opinion. There’s a quiz making its way around challenging people to guess whether Bannon or Voldemort said different quotes. I did not get 100% on said quiz.
Mike Pence – Nagini
He had his chance to step away from this madness after our current president bragged on tape about assaulting women. Like a snake, he didn’t take it. Also his private email server!
Steve Miller – Barty Crouch Jr.
The vigorous Trump defender comes from a family of Democrats and grew up in liberal, multicultural Santa Monica. Like Barty Crouch Jr. rejected of his father’s beliefs, Miller rebelled against the values of his community from a young age. Given his fidelity, I doubt he’d bat an eye if Bannon asked him to take a polyjuice potion.
Jeff Sessions – Lucius Malfoy
Like Draco’s dad, Sessions appears charming, but don’t be fooled by either’s agreeable façade. Both men are more than a little too concerned with race and/or blood purity.
Kellyanne Conway – Bellatrix Lestrange
While Kellyanne appears neater and more put together than Bellatrix, both women show unwavering support for the charismatic leaders of their movements. Kellyanne hasn’t used the Cruciatus curse or killed anyone – that we know of– but she has coined the phrase “alternative facts”, fabricated a terrorist massacre, and committed an ethics violation by telling people to go buy the president’s daughter’s products.
Sean Spicer – Rita Skeeter
Both seem a little too unconcerned with journalistic integrity to be a good fit for their day jobs. I have a feeling Rita and her magic pen would have agreed with Spicer’s assertion that, “sometimes we can disagree with the facts.”
Betsy Devos – Dolores Umbridge
Umbridge had no professional experience in education before taking over Hogwarts, and Devos had none before becoming Education Secretary. Both equal peril for the educational institutions under their protection and guidance.
Chris Christie – Peter Pettigrew
I know Chris Christie isn’t an official member of the administration (yet), but can’t you just see Voldemort forcing Wormtail to eat a meatloaf?
John McCain – Severus Snape
It’s too early to tell if McCain will be the Severus Snape in the story. Though McCain’s been a vocal source of opposition within the Republican party, he’s voted with the president more often than not. Time will tell.
Honorable mention goes to Ronald Reagan matching up with Gellert Grindelwald. Aside from sharing alliterative names, Reagan originated the slogan “Make America Great Again” in the 1980 presidential election (it was racist then and it still is now). Grindelwald used the phrase “For the Greater Good” to warrant his attempt to subordinate the Muggle population in the Global Wizarding War. The slogans, along with both men’s legacies, are eerily similar.