John C. Wright and why Harry Potter is Superversive

John C. Wright has an article in Intercollegiate Review on The Superversive World of Harry Potter.

In reality, the best way to find reality is through fairyland.

Fairy tales of any sort are more truthful about the eternal verities of the human condition than many a tale told in the realistic style. Stories about a bold champion of Camelot or the enchantress of Aeaea, or the great dragon beneath the Lonely Mountain, will tell you more of sin and salvation, love and loss and love found again, than a yarn about a cuckold in turn-of-the-century Dublin, or a decadent drunk living in West Egg, Long Island. This is because so-called realistic tales deal only with the surface features of life, what we see with our eyes, so to speak; fairy tales touch the mystery and wonder at the core of life.

This is true even of tales that treat the matter of ancient epics and ballads lightly, as when a young orphan discovers he is not of our world but a wizard from the land of magic hidden from human eyes. Harry Potter somewhat cheekily, and with tongue in cheek, puts all the tropes of once-upon-a-time into modern garb, so that broom-riding witches play rugby in midair, and the sorcerer’s apprentice goes to boarding school straight out of Tom Brown’s School Days to face bullies as bad as Flashman. But even a lighthearted treatment of the eternal things will brush up against eternal themes: Harry must face a Dark Lord who is a dark reflection of his own soul, and he bears the wound of his mother’s love, which saved him as a babe, upon his brow.

Harry Potter is the most successful book of all time next to Pilgrim’s Progress and the Sear’s Catalogue. And so, naturally, there is a certain cult, known in his world as Deatheaters, and in our world as Political Correctness, that seeks repulsively to claim that success as their own.

Read the Rest.