Why Hogwarts Was All in Harry’s Head: A Conspiracy Theory | Cracked.com

Harry Potter

Harry Potter (Photo credit: ACPL)

via Why Hogwarts Was All in Harry’s Head: A Conspiracy Theory | Cracked.com.

Now we have another article from Cracked.com that deals with Harry Potter. It raises a question of the “it’s all in his head” cliche and the evidence that supported this theory.

Here’s my take on the article:

  1. He was abused as a child“: why didn’t the authorities intervene early, like say, when Harry was attending regular school? You don’t abuse children like that and not expect any punishment to happen. Now, if this happened in the Unites States, depriving a child of food and denying their right to humanity, as well as emotional abuse, could land you in jail for a long time and permanently stain your reputation.
  2. It’s Called Fantasy Coping Theory“: what happens when Harry turns 11? He gets rescued by Hagrid and taken to the wizarding world, where he finds out that he is rich and famous and has hordes of followers. Or was it all in his head? There have been instances where abuse victims have used the fantasy escape mechanism to deal with their abusive lives (prime examples: Babydoll from Sucker Punch and Olivia Harlequin from The Short (Human) Life of Olivia Harlequin-Grantley) and this pattern of escaping into an alternate reality makes a lot more sense than some huge guy coming from nowhere flying on a motorcycle. (Plus, motorcycles don’t fly)
  3. The Abuse Doesn’t Stop“: Well, as Harry gets older, the abuse he suffers at home gets worse. Maybe it all gets to the point where he’s in and out of the hospital making up lies about his injuries. Many abuse victims are known to lie about how they got the injury that sent them to the hospital, and the story keeps changing as the injuries get even more serious. (Surely a doctor would notice the injuries and inform the police, right?)

  4. All of Those Inconsistencies Make Sense Now“: There is a very good reason why Hogwarts had to be in Harry’s head; as he got older, Harry had to explain away his fantasy to avoid losing it altogether.

So, what’s the deal on this issue? Was this a story filled with bad writing about a crappy alternative universe, or was it the messed-up imagination of a boy who was slowly dying due the abuses that were inflicted on him?

Or as one reviewer puts it: “After realizing that it was all a fantasy and that his life still sucked, he was not a legendary hero, there was no magical academy where he would have friends and fans, and his parents’ death was really just an ordinary car accident, Harry reached up one last time to find he also didn’t really have a scar.”

So, what you think about this? I await your answers.

2 responses to “Why Hogwarts Was All in Harry’s Head: A Conspiracy Theory | Cracked.com

  1. naa i dont think it’s true. There’s no way he can come up with all that. Dumbledore’s past, the Deathly hallow brothers. Besides, her mom is a wizard, and her aunt and uncle can see it all so idk.

  2. A member of a fanworks group that I’m in linked this article in our Facebook group in October 2012, but as a theory it has a lot of holes and doesn’t really stand up to logical scrutiny. Here’s what I wrote back then:

    ‘Notice how they conveniently overlook the time when all of the bones in Harry’s arm were removed… “non-magical”?

    I actually expected the article to be much more in-depth and convincing. But either way, as a theory it doesn’t hold water. Maybe if all the magical stuff was always strictly confined to Hogwarts, they might have something of a case. But if we’re assuming that the Dursleys and the abuse they subjected Harry to were real at least, then what about all the magical events that involved them? The abuse that they subjected Harry to because he was a wizard? Where do we draw the line between real-Dursley-events and magical-Dursley-events? Like, “Today we got home from the zoo and the Dursleys locked me in the cupboard under the stairs with no food, and I’m going to pretend it’s because I magically set a snake free at the zoo and not because…” Insert alternative explanation here?’

    I think a good conspiracy theory is one that involves very little effort in order to construct, just another way of looking at the series and events that are already there. But it takes a LOT of effort to actively construct a narrative in which this is the case, because you have to come up with exactly what was going on at the time, if none of the magic and Hogwarts stuff was real. What happened in the third book, when Harry ran away from home? If we assume that he really was abused, then running away is a logical response to that, but what about everything which happened afterwards with the Knight Bus and the Leaky Cauldron? Again, where do we draw the line between what we will accept as “real” in the series and what we are going to deem “Harry’s fantasy”? And what on earth do we think was happening to Harry for the extensive periods of time that he was apparently lost in this fantasy world? Also, if he’s going to imagine a magical boarding school as an escape from the Dursleys, why would he also imagine a situation in which he has to return to their house for the summer? Can’t he invent a Hogwarts that allows him to stay during that time? His escapist fantasy has no need to conform to logic of any kind.

    Anyway, at the end of the day I think the theory is pointless because we know that it wasn’t Rowling’s intent. For all the “inconsistencies” that people think the books had, this alternative reading has far, far more so it doesn’t really “solve” anything. I know conspiracy theories are meant to just be for fun and maybe I shouldn’t be expending so much effort in deconstructing this one… but I like a conspiracy theory that really does make me think, not just one where all I have to do is cherry-pick examples from the series that easily disprove it xD

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