Harry Potter and Sex, Idealized Settings and Hidden Messages

Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid in Harry Potter and ...

Foreward: This entry was written by myself back at April 2007. The last book was not yet written. I thought it’s interesting, so I am going to share it (with minor cleaning up); especially seeing what I covered in my 100th post, regarding slash-fic. Anyway, onward we go.

There is no sex in Harry Potter.
As far as we know, all the non-parent characters are virgins. We know Harry is a virgin, Ron is a virgin unless he got some action during his summer vacations, which is unlikely, living at home and far away from civilization and other humans.
Hermione is the most likely one to have had sex, seeing she spends her summer vacations amongst humanity, and we know very little of what she does during that time.

We know the characters’ parents, and parental characters had sex, but we only know of it because they have children.
This is a rather prudish way of handling things.

You will also note that we don’t have girls becoming pregnant during the year, none of the teachers seem to have kids, at all. If we’d go to Narnia for a bit (the first book), we’ll see it’s an idealized setting. The kids get to adulthood, do not have offspring, do not marry, and when they return they are once again children, who will agree to suffer through school and being told what to do, after being rulers of a kingdom!

So, idealized setting. No one smokes, people rarely cuss (if they do something, they curse, an actual curse, quite a message about not cursing others for young ones), and we have characters of all races.
Wait a moment, we have all races represented, but the vast majority is British. You say that is as it should be, in Britain, but where are all the immigrants, where are the vast numbers of Pakistani students? Or in JKR’s idealized setting while there’s equality, most people are British…
And Kraut is an ex death-eater, Nazi and war on muggles not of pure-blood, again with the World War II imagery.

Breeding plays a large part in Harry Potter. Breeding is sex, but yet, we somehow manage to avoid talking about sex, while talking about breeding, muggles, pure-bloods, mud-bloods, all the time.
Allegories to sex are also quite abundant.

We have one love scene in the series thus far, when Hagrid talks to the half-giant teacher of the foreign school. We see it and know we shouldn’t. Sex, or anything close to it, should not be seen. And who is participating? Two oddities, freaks of nature. Creations of a pairing that did not succeed, and theirs is a pairing does not even get that far.

Hagrid is a cross-breed, and he is located where all cross-breeds are. At the edge of the Forbidden Forest. If you’re thinking of Red Riding Hood and what the forest symbolized in that tale, you’re at the right place. The Forbidden Forest has Hagrid, Centaurs, Hypogriffs and man-eating spiders. Everything that is not natural, a cross-breed, an oddity of nature, a freak of magic, is located there.
It is also the place where most students would go to interact sexually. A forest near their boarding school. But it is forbidden, filled with dangers, and what is birthed there is vile (Voldemort’s feast on the unicorn blood signals his return). Sex is vile.

When the characters get to an age where sex is an option, we learn of a new room in Hogwarts, the hidden room which opens only for those who need it, and opens as it should be. It’s no happenstance we learn of it when the characters come of age. And yet, its obvious usage is left untouched in the text, because even as Harry grows, the target audience for the books remains the same age (aside from book 3, The Prisoner of Azkaban, which is a genuinely good book). An age where sex is only how you came to be (I’m quite surprised there are no actual storks delivering children in the series!)

There is always the transference of bodily fluids between Voldemort and Harry, which breaks the protection Lily, Harry’s mother, granted to him as she died saving him.
I don’t even know where to begin with. Mom to Harry, Harry to Voldemort, Voldemort cancelling Harry’s mother.

This is written just off of the top of my head, I’m sure if I actually read the text looking for it, I’d find a lot more.

Now we’ll address another issue. Fan-fiction in the Harry-Potter universe.
Fan-fiction is good to cover what is missing in the world. America, real relationships, what Hermione does during her vacations, etc. It can even cover sex.
But usually, the fan-ficcers seem to write idealized fan-fiction. Which makes one wonder why they bother.

Here’s a little tidbit. If you write Harry Potter – Snape slash, stop writing it as a forbidden relationship neither can stop. Write about it realistically. Child molestation. Rape. Pedophilia. Abuse of power and privilige.
You know what it’d be like? Just like the Catholic clergy who molested altar/choir boys, and it’s time someone got some realism into your heads.

It’s time someone got some realism into this world. And JKR has the temerity to say she does not write fantasy, pfft.

P.S. I always forget stuff. It was discussed at length elsewhere (not by me), but this entry would be remiss without it. If we accept that this is an idealized setting that tries to transfer some morals to the young readers, what does it truly tell us? Harry and his gang often bend the rules, outright break them, and are often then rewarded for their behavior (House cup). This tells kids the end justifies the means and that the question is what they can get away with, breaking and entering, lying, spying on others, suspecting adults, etc.
Also, if we take another deeper look at “Fairy Tales and Harry Potter”, as in Red Riding Hood and the Forbidden Forest, then how about Umbridge as the Evil Witch?

2010 P.S.: Hagrid picture’s there at the top because he’s The Big Bad Wolf, and that’s got sexual undertones all over the place. Also, it’s true, if we look for it, we can find hidden messages in everything, so can’t take it too far.

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11 comments on “Harry Potter and Sex, Idealized Settings and Hidden Messages

  1. kluxorious says:

    Harry Potter and Snape can never be a consensus sex. A lesson those retards need to learn. I mean, rapeage will be more interesting, no?

    • Guy says:

      Interesting is not the word I’d use.

      But most fan-fiction is tenuously connected to the word. It seems the whole point is “What if…”
      But there’s no what if in those stories, merely a goal. A what-if treatment would ask, “What if Harry were put into Slytherin?” and one of my favourites, “John Constantine in the world of Harry Potter”. But then you explore what comes out of it.

      When you have a goal you strive for, you throw all this into the wind.

  2. Adam says:

    Interesting analysis. I never read that much into the series, myself.

    Your post reminds me of this choice IRC quote, though:
    http://bash.org/?111338

    • Guy says:

      The “Wang” replacement technique is something we do in the Exalted RPG as well, replacing words in a charm (power)’s name with “Wang”.

      That bash post got a link on my facebook from another of my friends, interestingly enough.

      • Mark says:

        For a while, we were replacing key words in the names of Deathlords (powerful ghosts who have sold their names to the dead primordials in return for power and have had to adopt titles) with the word “buttsex.” So you had Buttsex in Darkness, Mask of Buttsex, Lover Clad in the Raiment of Buttsex (buttless chaps, I guess?), and so on. The best was probably Princess Buttsex with Lips of Buttsex and Buttsex of Buttsex Buttsex, for the Deathlord with the most outrageous title of all.

    • Guy says:

      Awesome, though I probably would have liked the one who lives in her name (buttsex) the best ;)

  3. Mark says:

    What pissed me off the most about Harry Potter was the idea that group membership determined morality. We never see a truly worthwhile Slytherin. The best we get is one Slytherin who can’t bring himself to do something terrible and another who is a fairly innocuous kind of douchebag (names omitted to protect the ignorant). It makes me wonder why they didn’t just expel anyone the Hat sorted into that house (“Sorry, kid, failed the personality test”) or take them out back and shoot them in the head (“Sorry, kid, we’ve had bad experiences with your kind before. This is the best way”).

    Seriously, as someone who works in a school where gang violence is a problem, do we really need to be supporting the idea that some people are bad because they’re wearing the wrong colors, with no other meaningful content? Slytherin isn’t bad because of its philosophies, or because it’s entirely reasonable goals contradict the main characters’… it’s bad because it’s bad, full of bad people.

    More importantly, it’s lazy writing. It’s lazy to have a villain who’s bad just ’cause. It’s lazy and, unless handled very well, incredibly boring.

    • Guy says:

      I think there’s some form of egg and chicken question going on around here.

      So you go to Slytherin if you’re competitive, and perhaps more likely to be corrupt, but if you had been placed in Ravenclaw/Griffyndor then perhaps you’d have turned out ok. Harry muses about this at one point.

      But once you enter Slytherin, it seems you’re destined, or at least much more likely to be up to no good.

      I should mention that like most media set in a school setting, we only get to see a small sub-section of the school, or even each grade. But we do get a lot of nameless faceless mooks shouting about their house’s propaganda, yeah.

      Finally, there’s the “Functionalist” point of view, which says a society needs outsider to mark its boundaries. And even if we don’t take this look, then Slytherin is not only highly competitive, but they drive the other houses to compete with the “evil dudes”, which brings the whole school up in level.

      I still think it’s not explored well enough, not nearly half as much. We do now and then get a small talk and discussion of the issue, like when we find out of how Hogswarts came to be.

  4. Yi says:

    I love the part about the Forbidden Forest. Even the name of the forest suggests of the sins of sex a la forbidden fruit and such.

    • Guy says:

      Definitely. Part of my thinking was this: Forbidden Forest > Red Riding Hood > Forest symbolizes, well, you know, and the unknown, where sexual activities occur. It’s fun skipping along the fable-stones.

  5. Bablet says:

    Agreed!

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