"Order of the Phoenix" flies into philosophy, civics, religion, ethics; transporting Potter to new ethereal realms
Spoiler alert- Consider seeing the movie before reading this Op Ed .
A funny thing besets Harry Potter on the way to Hogwarts this year. He not only has to battle evil. He has to battle the banality of evil. More importantly, he introduces his viewers to a whole new realm of ideas.
Orwell is the real unseen ghost of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”. Hogwarts becomes ruled by, a mindless 1984-like bureaucracy, where Ignorance is Bliss, Slavery is the Freedom, and War is Peace. A cold war descends, graying newly bleak walls with Stalinist-type propaganda. The news media becomes a mouthpiece for the corrupt establishment, creating perfect soil for the real evil, Lord Voldemort, to prepare a blitzkrieg. Sure, all wizards and witches are equal, but some are more equal.
The delusional, self-righteous McCarthyite leader of the Ministry of Magic ignores facts, apparently believing he is divinely inspired. Sound familiar? No doubt, future wizards and witches will write term papers on why England slept as the storm gathered.
Even witches conduct witch trials, it appears. Harry has to appear before a rigged kangaroo court that gives him less due process than Salem gave witches. Harry is exonerated at the last minute, but it is clear the witches and wizards persecute their own much more effectively than normal humans (muggles).
The hidebound in-fighting Kafkaesque establishment preserves its own petty perks and even if they have to torture and or attempt murder students. They ignore the inconvenient truths their world faces. They are, to paraphrase Al Gore and Winston Churchill, passing from an era of procrastination to a time of consequences.
Take the magic out of learning and magic? Only J.K. Rowling could turn such a fiendish feat. Rowling is the genius who brought children to delight in reading, and to re-envision school as a sanctuary, where well scrubbed kids might delight in their old-school ties and don's gowns. But, in an incredible turn, everything is flipped, nothing can be taken at face value, and the children learn more important lessons, including: freedom isn't fee.