Sunday, December 11, 2005

magical fascism

OK, I admit it. I've been to see the new Narnia film.
In Britain, an allegiance to C.S. Lewis is merely a marker for middle-classness, but in the US Narnia has become a shining city on a hill for Christians of all stripes; the chronicles are among the favourite books of home-schoolers. Churches are being pressed into service to promote the new film, as they were for The Passion of The Christ. [...] In this context, Rowling's vision is radical. Harry is at first so glad to escape his oppressed life as an orphan that the wizarding world seems to him a utopia. But the realisation dawns on him - at about the same time it dawns on the reader - that his new community is just as deeply flawed. It is governed by a myopic, rent-seeking bureaucracy that reacts to crisis by resorting to magical fascism. The Wizengamot, the wizarding court, is less a Nuremberg tribunal, more a show trial of which Beria might have been proud.
David Honigmann in 'Away with the fairies'.

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