George Orwell’s 1984 has garnered a lot of attention this past week for quickly becoming one of Amazon’s best-selling books. Other notable titles on the list include Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and the novel It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. Why are these books suddenly making a comeback? I’ll give you a hint: If his skin tone were a MAC foundation shade, it would be called, “Oompa Loompa.”
While Donald Trump is not making America great again, he has certainly done his part to make America read again. As such, I’d like to propose that a new book be added to the list: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Acting as the fifth book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix not only mirrors America’s current state, but it offers a semblance of hope as well (plus, wizards are pretty neat).
In terms of literary characters that I simply can’t stand, Dolores Umbridge may very well be the most heinous of them all. From her obvious superiority complex to her archaic teaching methods, she is a hellion to the nth degree. She is so abhorrent that some fans of the series would rather grab a drink with Lord Voldemort than share one measly minute with Umbridge. Despite my disdain for the woman, I’m at the point in my life where I’d rather hit up Sunday brunch for bottomless mimosas with Umbridge and Voldemort than see one more picture of Trump signing an executive order.
If you’ve read The Order of the Phoenix you don’t need me to dive into the similarities between the book’s antagonists and America’s antagonists. Instead, I want to focus on some of its protagonists; because, in the words of Sirius Black, “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
Fred & George Weasley
The Ministry’s infiltration of Hogwarts gave Fred and George Weasley the boost they needed to go from serial pranksters to all-out revolutionaries. Their final, and most memorable, prank (setting off their entire stock of enchanted fireworks before departing from Hogwarts permanently) can be seen as a metaphor for what happens when the government intervenes with the education system; or, to go one step further, when the government refuses to separate church and state. Comparing their actions to the actions of those in the real world, I dub the National Park Service the “Fred and George” of America. Not only is the National Park Service doing its due diligence to combat the ridiculous restrictions that our “fearless leader” has placed on various federal organizations, it has inspired other orgs — entities like NASA and the U.S. Forest Service — to do the same.
The Order of the Phoenix
The Order of the Phoenix was, initially, composed of witches and wizards from all walks of life: Ministry officials, scholars, ex-cons, and an angry dude with one eye. To put its objective simply, the Order was a group of people, some with ties to the government, that used their power and prestige for good. It’s hard to be in a position of power and to oppose the actions of your government. I’ve seen “House of Cards.” You might get pushed in front of a train. It took balls for the members of the Order of the Phoenix to be in the Order of the Phoenix. Fortunately, there are a lot of people in our own world with balls of steel and I can’t help but think of them when I write about the Order. From Mark Zuckerberg and Justin Trudeau, to John Oliver, Malala Yousafzai, and beyond, our world is full of people who are determined to use their power and influence for good, especially during these tumultuous times.
Much like the Order, Dumbledore’s Army had one main objective: down with Voldy. Unlike the Order, the D.A. was filled to the brim with relatively normal people — if you consider being SO LUCKY and having magical powers “normal” — who were hellbent on creating change. Sound familiar? (I’m lookin’ at you, protesters.) In my opinion, the formation of Dumbledore’s Army (Fred and George Weasley included) was the turning point of the wizarding war. It proved that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
While we may not have magical abilities to back us up, there is strength in numbers. If you’ve marched for a cause, called a senator, signed a petition, donated money, consoled a refugee, or spoken out against the atrocities that we as a nation are currently facing, you are a part of this revolution. This is our war and this is our turning point. We are the protagonists of this story and, like Dumbledore’s Army, we won’t be going down without one hell of a fight.
In summary, read the damn book, fight the good fight, and let’s make America ours again.