Harry Potter and the Fulfillment of the “Unhappy Gays” Trope
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The Recurring Acceptance of Abuse in HARRY POTTER

Mia Scott analyzes the recurring theme of abuse in the Harry Potter series.

The Harry Potter series teaches its readers many beautiful lessons, such as the idea that you can choose your own family, doing what’s right is never wrong, and that the guy who stalked your mom and called her slurs deserves love, too.

Unfair Treatment

Severus Snape’s character is constantly described as “morally grey” and “redeemable” by readers and author, J.K. Rowling. Alike, characters such as the young and frightened Draco Malfoy is painted as a gay-coded villain who deserves the unhappy ending he gets. Not only is this mindset excusing abuse in the name of so-called love, but it also tells kids that your mistakes as a teenager define you for life.

Draco was raised by a racist, abusive father who lived to serve the series’ big bad, Lord Voldemort. When the audience is first introduced to Draco, he insults lovable loser Ron Weasley before offering to be Harry’s friend. Though this might be – excuse my language – a dick move, there are facts you have to remember. This is an 11-year-old kid who has been taught his whole young life that the Weasley family is disgusting because they’re poor, but Harry Potter is powerful and they need him to bring back Lord Voldemort.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) – source: Warner Bros. Pictures

When I was 11, I used words I wouldn’t use today and I wasn’t always nice to everyone I met – and my parents weren’t abusive, racist or ‘classist’. Additionally, throughout the series, Draco has tremendous growth. He chooses to throw Harry his wand so Harry can defeat Voldemort, he lies to the villains to their faces to protect Harry’s life, and he can’t kill Harry’s mentor… I don’t know about you all, but I’m sensing a trend here.

Draco Malfoy: The LGBT Hero We Deserve

It’s surely not a coincidence that thousands of young gay people see themselves in Draco. Lonely outsiders, pining for someone they can’t have… All while they are tropes for gay characters, can also be true for gay kids. Thousands of fan-fictions (non-canon stories written about characters, often romantic) have been written about Harry and Draco, all because gay audiences responded to who Draco was, and saw something that even J.K. Rowling didn’t seem to see – despite writing it. Rowling ultimately decided that Draco didn’t deserve a happy ending.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (200) – source: Warner Bros. Pictures

The last shot we see of Draco in the movies is him staring longingly at Harry as an adult – next to his wife and son, looking miserable. That scene shows that Rowling, at that point, was aware of what Draco was to her LGBT audience, but why give them hope?

Undeserved Vindication

Severus Snape got the redemption arc that Draco deserved. Though he works as a double agent among Dumbledore and Voldemort, he uses his dying moments to help Harry understand why he was so rude to him all these years. Sounds sweet, right? The only problem is that it still doesn’t explain why Snape was even more cruel to Harry’s classmate, Neville, even to the point that his biggest fear is Snape himself. Not, for example, the woman who murdered his parents right in front of him – Bellatrix Lestrange. That is the exact same abuse that Draco receives from his father – not always fearing for his life, but fear of slipping up, of not pleasing just by giving a wrong answer to a simple question.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) – source: Warner Bros. Pictures

So much harm is done by excusing the slurs Snape hurled at Harry’s mother, the strange possessiveness he thought he had over her, or the abuse Snape brought down onto the kids whom he thought deserved it. What does that show young kids in abusive homes? That their abusers might have a good reason? That abuse is love? Or better yet, what does Draco’s unhappy ending demonstrate, other than that abused kids deserve their abuse, and that they will grow up unhappy?

The Richest Woman in Britain is Fake Woke

J.K. Rowling continues to prove that she has no idea what she wrote. She so clearly doesn’t understand her audience or why they like these beloved novels. In an attempt to appear relatable, she tweets what she considers “canon”, like that Albus Dumbledore was gay the whole time (despite never putting that in the books or movies), or that yes, there was, in fact one Jewish kid at Hogwarts. Yes, I said one, and no, he was not mentioned in the series even once. Rowling shouldn’t get “woke points” for deciding to tweet that, oh yeah, Hermione Granger was black, Hagrid’s dog Fang was transgender, and Dobby reproduced asexually (yep, one of those is actually true). And I don’t mean it to sound like I wouldn’t want, for example, Hermione to be a black girl – in fact, that would be amazing. But, authors don’t deserve credit for representation when they don’t include it in the source material. It’s just tailing it on the end so that your story isn’t full of white cisgender straight men. That is not representation.

Draco Malfoy deserved better and Severus Snape deserved worse. Both characters were technically affiliated with Voldemort, yet one was a scared, impressionable kid who had no honest friends and was probably gay. The other was a grown man who thought abusing kids was validated because he did it for love. If Rowling is going to tweet any more nonsense about the series, at least let it be an apology to Draco Malfoy personally. Or, hey – just let the series die a peaceful death.

 

  

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3 comments on “The Recurring Acceptance of Abuse in HARRY POTTER

  1. Kilgore Finch

    What if Draco can never be redeemed through his own actions in Harry’s story, but only by confronting and forgiving himself for being abused?

    Severus Snape lived a life of lonely bitterness, a prisoner of his own demons. He died a hero in the main narrative, but his death doesn’t necessarily redeem his actions. I agree he’s presented in a much more sympathetic light than Draco. Snape’s whole backstory attempts to explain why he behaved the way he did. Harry was certainly fooled by Snape’s “bravery”, which I think is better understood as extreme selfishness and narcissism.

    At any rate, Snape never had a chance for personal happiness. Draco still does, but the hard journey of recovering from abuse is never as tidy as Snape’s “heroic” death.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. severus snape eats babies and this is the best article ive ever read

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi there! Such a wonderful post, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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