The Harry Potter series sparked an entire generation of imagination and thrills with some of the very best world building and storytelling there has ever been. The books are filled with incredibly rich characters and the settings are both wondrous and mesmerising. There is no question that J.K Rowling excelled at creating something that will last the test of time in both the literary and film spheres.
Having read through the books for a second time recently, I found myself diving deeper into the themes that make the characters and storylines so compelling and riveting to read. There are a number of concepts that I believe directly link to both depression and prejudice, which is something that takes a huge tole on people diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.
Below I have picked out three parts of the Harry Potter series and how we can learn from the impact they had on the Wizarding World. Its fascinating to see how J.K Rowling incorporated them into her stories and whether she was constantly playing reference to some of the biggest issues we face in life today.
This is a visual representation of depression and all the negative implications that come from the hugely powerful predicament. Dementors are dark forces that are used to help track down Sirius Black after he is discovered to have broken free of Azkaban prison. Their task is simply to find him and then drain his soul into a state where he is left completely emotionless.
Their dangly and dark presence is ghoulish and fills any room with an abundance of fear and trepidation. They lack any kind of emotion and simply position themselves in the very heart of your vicinity waiting to sap away all the joy and happiness that makes up your personality. There is no way you can feel any kind of positive energy whilst they are present, you simply must persevere or find effective methods that rid them completely.
Making Dementors leave can be achieved with the use of a Patronus Charm which is a positive force of energy. You must think of the happiest memories you have ever had and channel those thoughts in order to shield yourself from the pain and discomfort that come from the presence of Dementors. This is very similar to real life where the most common form of ridding depression would be to revel at the best parts of your life whether it be family, friends or past holidays.
The lives of house elves are much more fleshed out in the books and demonstrates some of the hardship that comes from slavery. They are more than willing to carry out the work of their masters without any payment and usually under the knowledge that they are going to be hugely mistreated if they step out of line or complete something to an unsatisfactory level.
In the Goblet of Fire, Hermione takes a stand for Elf rights and starts the SPEW movement which aims to improve the lifestyle of house elves and give them more of a humane working arrangement. She campaigns for them to have sufficient levels of holiday allowance and payment for all the work that they complete.
It’s interesting how house elves are more than happy to carry on with their way of living even though humans would react incredibly negatively if they were in a similar situation. They are ingrained early on that this is the norm and that living with no money and a severe lack of recreation time is the norm. They never complain and actually enjoy how they live, showing so much more appreciation for things than humans do.
The way we behave in the real world is probably down to the increasing level of brainwashing that takes place at school and work, creating a very rigid perspective of just about everything as we know it. When things have been operational within a certain remit for a long time, there is a tendency to accept how they are and never question the possibility that they could be wrong.
Voldemort is hugely possessive and will not let anyone stand in his way from asserting his highly repulsive ideology over the Muggle and Wizarding worlds. The level of prejudice and hate is at such an extreme that he is essentially the very embodiment of the Devil himself. His destructive demeanour represents a key issue that everyone faces, and that is there will always be someone out there trying to take over the world.
They key theme from Voldemort’s quest to dominate the world is to rid anyone without “Pure Blood” status completely. He believes that anyone born without magic or only possess power from a section of their family is not worthy of existence. This kind of plays into the fact that in the real world there are a number of labels that define who we are as a person in terms of our personality and the way we ultimately behave.
It feels like Voldemort represents all the bullies out there who cannot accept that some people may have Asperger Syndrome, ADHD, Bipolar disorder or any other condition that makes them different from neurotypical individuals. He will not move on his perception about who should exist, much like bullies who cannot find any reason to stop ridiculing and start accepting the way people are.
Have you read any books that have themes or characters that you believe link directly with mental health or any disorders? As always, I would love the hear all your thoughts below or by Contacting Me here on The Asperger Chronicles.