MTV Interview: Are Slytherins All Evil?

f39080230Shaunna Murphy at MTV News contacted me for a story she was writing about Slytherin House consequent to Ms Rowling’s tweeting that all racist witches and wizards are sorted into the House of Emerald Green and Silver. She wanted some help with the six pervasive misconceptions she believes readers and movie goers hold about Slytherins and I did my best. You can read her only slightly tongue in cheek treatment at You’re Getting Slytherin All Wrong: Six Myths About Harry Potter’s Misunderstood House.

Oh, and if you don’t think MTV News is a respectable source for your news, please remember that it was an MTV reporter who first asked The Presence on her Open Book Tour in 2007 about the Christian content in Deathly Hallows. Because, y’know, every other media outlet and journalist missed that part of the story, the explosion of almost ten years of nonsense about Harry’s adventures being ‘the gateway to the occult’…


  1. Melusina says

    To be fair to JKR, she didn’t say all racists were in Slytherin.

    This is what she said: “Not all Slytherins think they’re racially superior. But all those who do are Slytherins.”

    There’s a difference in meaning. Everyone is racist in big and small ways, but thinking you are actually racially superior is hard core racism. Ron’s belief that giants aren’t very nice might be racist (or speciesist) but they don’t necessarily mean that he thinks humans are racially superior.

    JKR uses words carefully, her fans less so. 😐

  2. Melusina says

    It’s pretty clear that on a thematic level Slytherin House is meant to represent the privileged, entitled, upper class conservative element of society. And that segment is often racist as bigotry can be useful in furthering your own ends when you are ambitious and born into power.

    I often suspect that Slytherin apologists don’t really understand what they are apologising for.

  3. John Granger says

    And Ron’s “feelings” about house-elves? Ron and wizards in general don’t think themselves racially superior to all creatures not human? Thou dost protest too much.

    Ms Rowling has used the Slytherin/Death Eater tar brush recently as well with the Scottish Independence crowd.

    No one admires Ms Rowling’s artistry as a writer more than I do. But that doesn’t entail embracing her off hand comments, even the carefully phrased ones, as revelations. More often than not, they’re just expressions of her partisan political stances.

    Your comments about those born with money, alas, reflect a remarkably glib facility in condemning an entire social class. Not racist, perhaps, but quite a show of prejudice, no?

    But thank you very much for sharing the exact phrasing of the tweet message. The MTV reporter did not share it with me and I didn’t check it, which, of course, I should have. Lesson learned!

  4. Melusina says

    Can you quote the bit of text to me in which Ron states that he believes wizards in general are superior to all creatures not human?

    And: We are talking are race, not species. Humans vs other humans. Ron was outraged when he heard Draco use the word Mudblood.

    AND: I completely agree that her comments align with her political stances, which align with her moral view of the world. As I said in my second comment, Slytherins/Conservatives are more likely to be racist because it suits their purposes. And the constant defending of Slytherin House I see in fandom just shows me how little most of fandom actually understands the social commentary evident in the series.

  5. Todd Heil says

    Subscriber and always enjoy seeing something from your blog bump my email inbox!
    For whatever reason the link for the MTV article isn’t working for me. For those folks that it isn’t work for either, here it is:

  6. Thank you for the working link — which I put in the text as a fix.

    Grateful John

  7. Louise Freeman says

    Re-posting Kathleen’s comment here:

    Submitted on 2015/07/03 at 5:12 am
    It’s bad enough that the MTV article makes assumptions that Republicans are Slytherins and mentions it multiple times because the writer was probably taught that in school. Can we leave the nasty political insinuations and outright slams out of this forum please? You have no idea who is in your audience but we don’t all walk in lock step with the mainstream media. We just share our passion for Harry Potter and spinoffs here.

  8. Melusina says

    Kathleen–politics and Harry Potter are inextricable, unless you read the series entirely on the surface. Rebublicans=Slytherins isn’t something one is “taught in school”, but a clear and obvious conclusion one reaches after analysing the story and the world JKR created. The HP series is a highly moral series and politics are intertwined with ethical thinking. You can’t separate the two.

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