Much to the delight of every Potterhead the world over, J.K. Rowling has kept the magic of Harry Potter alive by occasionally tweeting tidbits of the novels and addressing our pressing concerns and fan theories. Today, however, the Potter banter became serious (Sirius?) when J.K. Rowling tweeted that Donald Trump is worse than Voldemort. The tweet, which links out to a BBC Newsbeat article about why people are calling Trump "Lord Voldemort," showcases a series of comments from Twitter users comparing him to the famous fictional villain.
The tweets were specifically inspired by Donald Trump's recent stance on banning Muslims from entering the U.S. in the wake of the tragic San Bernardino mass shooting. In a Monday press release, Donald Trump stated:
Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.
Startled by this blatant and dangerous perpetuation of Islamophobia, people took to Twitter — with both an impressive amount of sass, and a harsh grain of truth:
It wasn't long before J.K. Rowling entered the ring with her reaction tweet.
While I applaud anybody who takes a stance against Trump, I hesitate to make this comparison wholeheartedly because, at the end of the day, Voldemort is still a mass-murdering, genocidal, remorseless psychopath. He is the fictional equivalent of Hitler, and while I personally find Trump's views detestable, I also acknowledge that he has not attained that level of evil.
That being said, there is one incredibly relevant passage in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that exemplifies the one true similarity between Trump and Voldemort: their extreme xenophobia. If it's been awhile since you've read the seventh book, then recall that Ron dialed Harry and Hermione into a secret rebellion radio station while they were in hiding, during a time when the Ministry was being run by Death Eaters and secretly operated by Voldemort. Lee Jordan interviews Kingsley Shacklebolt, resulting in a powerful discussion that applies so much further beyond the Wizarding world:
"Muggles remaining ignorant of the source of their suffering as they continue to sustain heavy casualties," said Kingsley. "However, we continue to hear truly inspirational stories of wizards and witches risking their own safety to protect Muggle friends and neighbors, often without the Muggles' knowledge. I'd like to appeal to all our listeners to emulate their example, perhaps by casting a protective charm over any Muggle dwellings on your street. Many lives could be saved if such simple measures were taken."
"And what would you say, Royal, to those listeners who reply that in these dangerous times, it should be 'Wizards first'?" asked Lee.
"I'd say that it's one short step from 'Wizards first' to 'Purebloods first,' and then to 'Death Eaters,'" replied Kingsley. "We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, is worth saving."
In this scenario, the Muggles are comparable to the Muslim population that Trump wants to ban from entering the country — including Muslim refugees, seeking asylum from the exact groups that are committing acts of terrorism, groups that Muslims are unfairly associated with and suffering at the hands of. Although it's sad that a metaphor from a children's book can highlight the importance of this issue that a full-grown man doesn't understand, it is important for us all to see the simple truth of this passage: that our responsibility as human beings does not extend just to the safety of people who are like us, but to all of humanity.
J.K. Rowling may be stretching it to say that Donald Trump is inherently worse than Voldemort, but this passage illustrates the deeper and somewhat scarier truth: Trump doesn't have to be as evil as Voldemort to be every bit as dangerous to the world.
Images: Warner Bros.