In the esteemed educational institution of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the spells are electrifying, giant spiders and mythical beasts can be found roaming the grounds and the ghosts live in portraits.
Almost every aspect of J.K Rowling’s fictional academy only exists on the page, sprung from her imagination or on theatre screens and DVD discs. But what the world in the Harry Potter books does portray is unfortunate ignorance. ‘Purebloods’ are witches and wizards with magical parents like Ron and Harry, ‘Half-Bloods’ have one magical parent while the offensive term ‘Mudbloods’ is used to describe those with no magical heritage, like Hermione who has Muggles (non-wizarding people) for parents.
Throughout the books we’re shown how Ron, Harry and various others stick up for Hermione and with the readers and viewers empathising with that (along with the various oppressed magical creatures in the series), it seems that we’ve learnt how to become more accepting.
That statement comes from a new study conducted in Northern Italy. Researchers gave high schoolers two questionnaires – one asked which books they’d read while the other asked their opinions on gay people. Interestingly, the results gathered showed that those who had read the Harry Potter books were more accepting of gay people than those who hadn’t read them at all. Not only that but those who answered saying that they identified with Harry himself were also far more likely to show positive attitudes towards gay people.
There is the point being made that as conservative and religious families are often wary of magical related media, the high schoolers who haven’t read the book might come from conservative backgrounds anyway. However, author Loris Vezzali told NY Mag’s Science of Us team that “The books do not directly refer to real-world groups, and so their message can be easily applied to several stigmatized categories,” giving us even more of a reason to love Harry Potter and his magical adventures.