Woke Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved “Harry Potter” children’s fantasy books, delighted countless children with her works, became wealthy, famous, and admired—then disappointed many conservative parents with her conventional leftist grandstanding.

Recently, she disappointed part of the activist Left, too, by endorsing the reality of biological sex. Inhabitants of some fantasy worlds were enraged. The equivalent of electronic “Howlers” filled the Internet, as Social Justice Death Eaters mobilized.

So far as we know, this attack hasn’t resulted in Rowling doing an Orwell, turning her formidable talents to trenchant criticism of ideas with which she’d formerly sympathized. It’s too bad; she could write the 21st century’s equivalent of Orwell’s Animal Farm about the social justice mob if she cared to do so.

Or even revisit a familiar setting, with a new twist . . .

Harry Potter, Jr., Volume One: Is the Sorcerer Stoned?

Headmistress McGonagall ran Hogwarts School of Wizardry very well, and she knew it. Perhaps in some ways, not quite as well as Dumbledore had done in his day; and she knew that, too.

Then again, the challenges of his time had been different ones entirely. He would have been poorly suited indeed, to dealing with some of these. She regarded the latest envelope from the Ministry of Reimagining Magical Education sourly. What would it be this time? More absurd counterproductive regulations, with vague hints of dire consequences for less-than-zealous cooperation?

Another attempted imposition on precious instructional time, for another seminar on Pureblood Privilege to be inflicted upon helpless students who’d had no more control over their bloodlines than any muggle had? She set it aside—it could wait.

The next envelope was from a parent—a notorious Hoverbroom. In Dumbledore’s day, witches and wizards had expected their offspring to uphold the family reputation at Hogwarts. Today, it tended to be faculty, not students, who received the parents’ wrath if the child misbehaved. She tossed it in the HowlerCooler, a new and necessary office furnishing in these times. In the HowlerCooler, the magic missive could be disenchanted.

What a very apt word, “disenchanted,” McGonagall thought dourly to herself. Ah, well, a new year, new opportunities; at least the Sorting Hat ceremony was tonight and that was enough to cheer anyone up.

Suddenly she had a suspicion that the letter from the Ministry would announce the intention of “equalizing,” denaturing, and destroying the individual traditions of the Houses. “Antiquated,” “elitist,” “imperialist,” and who-knew-what-else-ist, surely.

“Not while this Gryffindor has anything to say about it,” she muttered. Scowling one final time at the unopened envelope, she left.

***

The Hat had always been shrewd, mischievous, and a bit grumpy. McGonagall suspected the grumpiness was usually for show, for the sake of the students; she knew a bit about that herself. This year, though, the Hat seemed to be showing a certain genuine annoyance.

Upon the head of the year’s first candidate, a bright-eyed blonde boy from somewhere in the North of England, the hat swayed gently, side to side. Much cleverness, upon which to draw . . . so this child goes to . . . RAVENCLAW!” The hat straightened with finality and regarded her.

“Yes,” the esteemed witch agreed. “And?”

“And?” asked the hat. “And what?”

“You know what, and why it’s necessary.”

The hat sighed. “Though I find the question crude—I announce this child is a dude.”

“Use the official language,” McGonagall reminded him. “For legal reasons.”

This time, the hat nearly snarled. “A male. This student is a biological male. Any idiot can tell that, without the use of magic! You people should not need me to tell you this.”

No, we shouldn’t, she thought to herself. She said nothing aloud, however, merely gesturing to the next student in line, as House Ravenclaw cheered their newest member. McGonnegal took the opportunity to lean in close to the Sorting Hat and whisper a few words of reassurance.

“I know it isn’t very dignified, but it’s going to help us retain a bit of common sense around here. Just keep announcing and making official which ones are boys, and which ones are girls. For the record. Dark forces are abroad in the world, and the best defense against some of them, is simple truth plainly stated.”

She resumed her dignified posture and the Hat, slightly mollified, resumed its.

Just then, Peeves the Poltergeist rocketed into the hall, then decelerated to a leisurely cruising speed. An envelope and a letter with a familiar and ominous official letterhead fluttered along with him. Peeves began to chant:

“The Ministry thinks that it can switch,
Which is wizard and which is witch!
Switchitty switch, which is witch! Switchitty switch, which is witch . . . ”

McGonagall’s already-stern features hardened further. It was going to be a long year.

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