Though not quite my favorite book, The Order of the Phoenix is definitely the scariest in the Harry Potter series. The fact that two of us raised our hands to speak for it says much, but like its doppelgänger, Prisoner of Azkaban, Phoenix’s fear is primarily psychological and therefore far more upsetting than its more externally-focused counterparts. Continue reading
You may have noticed the recurrence of several numbers in the Harry Potter series and wondered what it all meant. In fact, this is a popular topic of speculation on forums and in critical essays. In this new series, I’ll give you my take as I explore
occurrences of various numbers throughout the series and explain how I believe J.K. Rowling uses numbers as signposts and signals throughout her texts.
The study of number meanings and symbolism, and their influence on Life, is called “Numerology”. More specifically, Numerology is “the study of a cosmic code that uses numbers as symbols… Continue reading
Part III: Lockean Law of Nature
This is the third of a three-part series on Lockean political themes in Order of the Phoenix. (Click on these links, if you missed order cheap viagrarg/un-locke-ing-order-of-the-phoenix-part-i-7412/”>Part I: Creating a Legitimate Order and Part II: When Reason Rebels.) Here, I’d like to pick up on the mention made in Part I about Lockean pre-political moral standing, since this is both the source of the purpose of the state and the moral justification for a right to rebellion: In a State of Nature humans are free and equal, according to the Law of Nature. Locke’s natural law/natural rights theory about moral standing provides the philosophical grounding for protection of what he broadly terms “property” (i.e., life, health, liberty, and possessions). This post also picks up on a theme present in several comments made especially by Mary Ellen, namely, the unequal treatment of various (Lockean) moral agents (e.g., Elves, Centaurs, Half-Giants, Half-Bloods, Mud-Bloods, etc.) that serves as a strong sub-plot in the series.
Part II: When Reason Rebels
It’s been a while since I posted Part I: Creating a Legitimate Order (apologies for the delay) in this three-part series (with Part III: Lockean Law of Nature to come out in the Spring) on Lockean political philosophy themes in Order of the Phoenix. The previous post focused on Locke’s justification in his Second Treatise of Government for the two-stage move from the state of nature to a political society/civil order by means of express consent. Some parallels were drawn, despite some disanalogy, between this two-stage move and Hermione’s role in the two-stage founding of Dumbledore’s Army.
This post focuses on Locke’s justification for the people’s right of rebellion/revolution when their legitimately constituted legislature/ruler violates the purpose of the state. Hermione—as the mind/reason figure—will again figure prominently in drawing parallels in OotP (with a little Deathly Hallows sprinkled in).
Part I: Creating a Legitimate Order
Seventeenth-century British philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) penned a number of influential works in the history of modern philosophy, but one was especially revolutionary: Second Treatise of Government (1689-90). Much in here profoundly affected Thomas Jefferson’s drafting of The Declaration of Independence–there is easily 25% similarity between the wording of Locke’s Second Treatise and Jefferson’s Declaration–from all men being born free and equal according to the Law of Nature to the authority of government by consent to the right of revolution.
Given Locke’s influence and British pedigree, it would be unsurprising for strands of his political thought to have been woven into Rowling’s saga. A close reading of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix shows signs of a Lockean (if not Locke’s) approach to moving from a state of nature to a civil society and to that move’s being legitimately grounded in consent.
I’m enjoying the Saturday discussion prompts at the My Friend Amy blog, so I thought I’d respond to this week‘s as well. The question: Who is your favorite and least favorite fictional politician? I’ll stick with Harry Potter on this. Feel free to answer either from Harry Potter (considering every member of the Ministry is a politician in one way or another) or from any other kind of fiction.
- My favorite: You’ll have a hard time guessing this one, won’t you? Albus Dumbledore, of course – primarily because, in good libertarian fashion, he turned down the Minister position 3 times, prefering to work in the fields of justice (Wizengamot), international cooperation, and education. Honorable mention: Arthur Weasley, who wouldn’t compromise principle to get more recognition and power.
- My least favorite: Delores Umbridge – and by least favorite, I mean that I hated her, not that she’s not a brilliant character. Honorable mention: Lucius Malfoy and Cornelius Fudge. I never liked Scrimgeour, but he died defending Harry, so you can’t get too mad at him.