“No one who has seen ‘Birth of a Nation’ or ‘Gone With the Wind’ could fail to recognize the resemblance between the relationship of Scarlett O’Hara and Mammy and of Master Barry and Winky,” Mendelsohn writes.

I have now officially heard everything. What a ridiculous comparison. I’m not arguing that there are racial issues in Harry Potter; that much is obvious. But Mammy and Scarlett? Mammy was strong-willed and gave as good as she got in that relationship. She was a member of the family. Winky was not a member of the Crouch family. (And her master was Barty, not Barry.) I’d agree with a comparison of Civil War-era human racism and wizarding racism in general, but using these specific examples is just silly.


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  1. What a strange synergy. I was playing poker this evening and telling a friend about the Gollum MTV awards skit in which he calls out Dobby the House Elf. Another guy who hasn’t read Potter remarked, “House elves? Are there field elves too?”

  2. Weird. Yeah, the more I think about the house elves the more I agree with Hermione’s stance. I stumbled across the HP Lexicon today and came across this statement:

    “Hermione Granger is working to bring enlightened thinking to the house-elves at Hogwarts, so far with very little success. It would be interesting indeed if she would succeed in convincing these creatures to stand up for themselves and perhaps even fight against Voldemort.”

    So maybe the house elves will go from being a minor sub-plot to a fighting force? That would satisfy my sense of justice, but it also sounds a little too “Ewoks overthrow the Empire”, if you know what I mean. But I’m willing to get Rowling the benefit of the doubt for now…

  3. Anonymous? Strange, that post was mine. Not sure why I came up as anonymous. At any rate, I agree with you…the House (and Field) Elves will have to play a part in the Voldemort Liberation Army. Perhaps as spies?

  4. The problem with that, I think, is that it isn’t merely a question of the House Elves *deciding* to be liberated. There’s obviously some magic involved. Remember when Dobby physically couldn’t say anything bad about his employer? That wasn’t because he liked him. It was because he was magically enslaved til he received some clothes. I can’t really think of a way around that. I guess all the Hogwarts elves are probably considered to be “owned” by Dumbledore, so he could free them if he wanted. (He’s probably offered, given that he pays Dobby.) But unless other wizarding families decide to free their Elves, I don’t think there’s much they can do about it… unless somebody casts an uber-spell that breaks the whole slavery thing in general. Harry as Abe Lincoln performing the wizard equivalent of the Emancipation Proclamation? 🙂

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