Fiction as a reflection of reality: the rise and fall of totalitarian regimes in J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series and in Nazi Germany
Echávarri Manjón, Sara
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Totalitarian regimes dominated the 20th century in Europe. Germany's Nazism is one of the most prominent examples of such regimes. Nevertheless, these phenomena are not restricted to the real world since they have also been portrayed in fiction. Children's literature has also depicted totalitarian regimes, which means that literature can be used as a tool to introduce children to a form of government that exerts total control over the lives of its citizens. The purpose of this paper is to show the parallels between J. K. Rowling's depiction of the rise of Lord Voldemort's totalitarian regime in the Harry Potter series and the rise of Adolf Hitler's Nazism in Germany. The first part of the analysis deals with the figures of Lord Voldemort and Adolf Hitler. The personality traits of these two figures are examined from a psychological perspective. These traits include narcissism, Machiavellianism, and a lack of empathy. The second section analyses the development of the groups led by Lord Voldemort and Hitler: the Death Eaters and the National Socialist German Workers' Party. To this end, this section covers the groups' creation, their attempts to gain power, and their ultimate defeat. Finally, the last section discusses the creation of the 'other', that is, the public enemy of the group, which is established on the basis of blood and racial status. For this purpose, it examines the various discriminatory attitudes and behaviours that the groups led by Lord Voldemort and Hitler hold against people of non-magical origin and Jews, respectively. This paper concludes that these two cases share a common breeding ground, namely the existence of a determined leader, an environment of uncertainty, and a common enemy. Furthermore, it remarks on the importance of employing children's literature to educate children about complex themes and provide foresight into potential social and political threats.