Maybe we need a Harry Potter today!
Now where did this come from? Well…… I’m just back from re-visiting Joanne Kathleen Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; and dang me if I didn’t find it quite like an ‘art imitates life’ situation!
So there I was, reading the fantasy series all over again from Book 1 and when I reached the sixth and penultimate novel in the sequence, I had what the French call (and the English have popularised) as ‘deja vu!’ As I dived into the first chapter and turned the subsequent pages, I had an uncannily persistent thought in the back of my mind which only grew stronger as the story progressed. Where had I seen this before? The plot of this particular book, the overall atmosphere J K Rowling creates in the book and its uncanny resemblance to our present times … it all had a jaw-dropping effect on me! It left me in a thoughtful mood long after I had finished the book.
I had to write about it and see if it’s only me or if the others might see these analogies too!
So in this book (written in 2005) and in the story so far, Lord Voldemort has risen, and how! The evil power of He Who Must Not Be Named is increasing, his army of Dementors is expanding and wreaking havoc on wizards and muggles, with fatal consequences; in our muggle world, the deadly Covid-19 is at large, its strains multiplying and its reach far and wide as it kills some and weakens others.
The Dementors – gliding wraithlike creatures, invisible to the muggles – prowl round casting gloom and draining out hope and happiness wherever they go; their kiss of death apparently sucks the soul out of people; while the virus in our world, an invisible killer, is prowling around spreading despair and death and sucking the life-breath out of those who are most affected.
The Ministry of Magic (MOM) is initially clueless of how to get above ‘The Dark Lord’ and his followers, subsequently it is forever several steps behind the enemy; the Ministry keeps issuing random statements and information in order to throw people off track and deflect attention from their short comings with some newspapers and reporters as their allies. And in our world? The authorities and the decision makers, at the outbreak of the pandemic, had no idea where and how to begin fighting the virus; news debates were flooded with self-proclaimed scientists and know-it-alls and our WhatsApp university flourished with strange theories, causes and remedies for the virus.
Aurors are highly skilled and trained magicians who brave their life and limbs to keep the enemy suppressed; they’re responsible for tackling any thing related to the Dark Arts; while paeans could be sung about our own front-line warriors who sacrifice their life in their fight to save the Corona victims, and the scientists who are racing against time to come up with medicines and vaccines to combat the virus and its effects.
The Death eaters leave the Dark Mark – a glittering green skull – hovering over any house they visit, much like leaving a calling card, to warn people of the horrors they might find inside. In our muggle world, during the 1st wave, we had health authorities cordoning off entire buildings and pasting a notice on the door of houses in which members tested positive with the virus. The notice was their calling card to warn the public against going to the affected places.
The Ministry of Magic finally wakes up and takes it upon itself to issue a set of guidelines and measures to the people to help protect themselves against possible attacks by dementors and the death-eaters – stay within the safety of your home, cast protective shields around yourself and loved ones, avoid unnecessary travel, get back before nightfall, review security arrangements around your house, congregation of more than three people on streets is prohibited, keep your wand at the ready at all times, report any strange behavior among friends and acquaintances, do not accept gifts and food from unknown sources ….. and above all – be alert and vigilant at all times.
While the safety measures in our world today? Lockdowns, curfews, travel restrictions, social gatherings and crowds prohibited, wear protective facemasks at all times, report any one having the viral symptoms to authorities, sanitise yourself and areas around you …. and above all, be alert and vigilant!
There you are!
You tell me now – am I simply being a crazy fan of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter or do you think like me, that we need a Potter who overcomes a series of near-fatal obstacles to bring peace and happiness to the world again; a Potter to give us hope that good shall win in the end and happier times shall prevail, and that there is light at the end of this seemingly long and dark path of the pandemic?