By now, most people know that J.K. Rowling’s series of books about young student wizard Harry Potter isn’t exactly for kids. It gets pretty dark pretty fast, and it wrestles with themes one sees more often in Young Adult fiction.
If you’ve read the books and seen the films a gazillion times, you can’t help but notice some really harsh things about the wizarding world. It’s quite a bit more like medieval Europe than our (relatively) safe and free Muggle world. And Hogwarts? It would be closed down after one semester by parents and social workers if it was in California.
7. Permission slip requirements are…inconsistent.
Children who attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry need a permission slip to visit the nearby town of Hogsmeade, with its tantalizing butterbeer and sweet shops. This is a major plot point in “Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban,” as poor Harry doesn’t have a parent or guardian to sign for him.
However, there appears to be no such permission slip requirement to play quidditch, the incredibly dangerous, high speed aerial sport which is like dodge ball on steroids and PCP. Harry is drafted onto his quidditch team by his own teacher — the same teacher who won’t let him go to Hogsmeade without paperwork.
The takeaway? Wizard children can be pummeled or fall to their deaths, but a parent or guardian needs to permit them to relax.
6. House elves are pretty much slaves at worst, indentured servants at best.
The wizarding world has sentient creatures in it whose entire purpose is to serve humans. There is really no pleasant way to phrase that. Hermione Granger found the concept so offensive that she founded S.P.E.W., the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. That it had not occurred to any wizard children before her is more than alarming.
House elves (yes, they are called that) cook, clean, and receive general abuse depending on the level of callousness in the wizard family that owns them. They are only freed after receiving an item of clothing from their master, so they cover themselves with old tea towels and pillowcases. They are compelled to torture themselves for displeasing their master — utterly brutal.
5. There is no system in place to protect the welfare of children or employees.
In our world, if your parents die and your only living relatives are abusive, neglectful prats who force you to live in a cupboard under the stairs, Child Protective Services will remove you from that home. In the wizarding world, it’s just, “Oh, pity. Well, what’s for tea?”
Oh, and then there are school books that actually try to eat you. This is definitely an OSHA violation in the Muggle world.