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Love potions are a regular part of the HP world. They're openly sold in shops and students are shown how to make these potions as part of their education at Hogwarts. Although their use is often portrayed whimsically, the reality is that there's a very dark side to giving someone a drug so that you can have sex with them against their will.

In fact, very existence of love potions is so akin to rape that it is almost entirely undebatable. Just like in rape, the victim's autonomy is taken from them. They are forced into a sexual or romantic act without their consent. When presented this obviously, the idea of it is horrifying — but more horrifying still is the fact that despite Harry Potter being the most popular book series in history, this issue is barely ever discussed.

The Unexpected Way 'Harry Potter' Perpetuates Rape Culture

Out-of-universe, has JKR ever addressed this unnerving element of her creation?

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    The wizarding attitude surrounding love potions in Harry Potter is really weird. On the one hand, love potions are (probably) banned at Hogwarts, and Dumbledore doesn't seem to consider Merope's use of a love potion to be much different from the Imperius Curse. On the other hand, characters from Molly Weasley to Horace Slughorn seem to think they are not a big deal, and Fred and George sell love potions openly in their shop! – Adamant Sep 1 '16 at 10:30
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    Ron also gifts Albus a love potion in Cursed Child. Then again, that last phrase may be sufficient explanation. – Adamant Sep 1 '16 at 10:53
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    The only possible, remotely acceptable, use for love potions I can imagine would be existing wizarding couples using it the way some muggle couples use ecstasy together...not that there's any cannon evidence for them doing this, it's just the only non-rape scenario I can imagine a love potion being used in... – VapedCrusader Sep 1 '16 at 12:01
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    These books are for kids, so even the hormonally-charged later years only have rather chaste "snogging," not sex, so it's not much of an issue, I think. Realistically? Sure, but it would be like asking about Snow White or Sleeping Beauty being kissed while passed out and unable to give consent being along the date-rape continuum. Kids's stories don't naturally go there. – PoloHoleSet Sep 1 '16 at 16:28
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    @AndrewMattson "Sleeping Beauty being kissed". In the original story, Sleeping Beauty was directly raped and became pregnant. She gave birth to twins, which attempted to reach her nipples to drink milk. But one accidentally reached her finger instead, and sucked the out the poison. That's how she awake. – Oriol Sep 1 '16 at 22:54
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From the Leaky Cauldron:

Ravleen: How much does the fact that voldemort was conceived under a love potion have to do with his nonability to understand love is it more symbolic

J.K. Rowling: It was a symbolic way of showing that he came from a loveless union – but of course, everything would have changed if Merope had survived and raised him herself and loved him.

J.K. Rowling: The enchantment under which Tom Riddle fathered Voldemort is important because it shows coercion, and there can’t be many more prejudicial ways to enter the world than as the result of such a union.

She uses the word coercion, so it seems pretty clear to me the implications are not lost on her. Why she uses one as a gift in The Cursed Child is beyond my understanding.

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    This is precisely the sort of inconsistency I was hoping to resolve. +1 for finding a reference to it, though. – Valorum Sep 1 '16 at 20:42
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    @Valorum Maybe that part is just Thorne's writting. It doesn't make sense seeing how the later Harry Potter books treat this matter more seriously with Merope's story. – Ram Sep 1 '16 at 22:53
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I don't have any quotes from the author herself, but may be able to offer an explanation as to why something with such obviously dire implications was included in a children's book.


Magical potions have been known of and coveted by us muggles for hundreds of years, featured even in Shakespeare's plays.

During the 19th century it was commonplace to see alchemists and wandering charlatans peddling 'potions', a staple among them being love potions so that customers could attempt to win (read: force) the affections of those for whom they yearn.

I can't really find any sources on specific occurrences or recipes of love potions in the real world, other than this painting that proves it was at least a known concept as far back as 1903.

As J.K. Rowling liked to incorporate the existence of the wizarding world into our own, such as including the witch burnings from the 16th century into HP canon, it would have been quite unusual to not include something so crucial to the myth of magic into the HP universe.

Therefore, rather than not addressing the possibility of such a thing existing, it is likely she attempted to incorporate the potion into the story and attempt to use it in a more light-hearted way, by insinuating it was used for school-kid crushes as opposed to date-rape.


Note: this is in a universe where sex was never even discussed in a boarding school that included children of both genders who, for the latter years, were of legal age to have sex. If we thought harder about the 'adult' implications of the HP universe, my first question would be how by Merlin's beard could Hagrid possibly exist, and why he ever bothered to ask Madame Maxine which of her parents was a giant.

In addition, the Imperius curse existed, which could be used for equally if not much more diabolical sexual crimes, so including the possibility of the 'love-potion' would never have added any extra layers of depravity to the equation.

As for why it was included in the school curriculum and made available as an everyday purchase in children's shops, Professor Snape says to the students that he is going to teach them to make poisons that will potentially kill their enemies, so clearly it is assumed that they will act morally responsibly in their dealings with potions.

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    Yes. Witches brew love potions, everyone knows that. It's an archtype that exists in many cultures. Ppl go to the hedge wizard/witch for love potions if they desperate and unscurpulous enough. Not mention LP's would be strange, so JKR describes it. That's why we have a 'cauldron of hot strong love' in popular wiz culture, WWW's pink potions and potions lessons about amorentia. But JKR still demonstrates that using LPs is morally wrong and dangerous, so we have Romilda Vane's vain attempt that almost led to disaster, Merope's tragedy&Tom Riddle, who after her death ended up in an orphanage – user68762 Sep 1 '16 at 16:56
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    I can understand why they teach the kids to make dangerous potions: For Science! Even Muggle chemistry classes have kids handling and producing unsafe products in a controlled environment. But why would Fred and George market them? Sure, Muggles sell dangerous items too. But this isn't even like guns, which can be be used for sport, hunting, etc. There is literally no purpose for love potions besides brainwashing people. The Imperius Curse was made illegal for less. – Adamant Sep 1 '16 at 17:18
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    Couldn't Fred and George's potions be something more casual? I mean the one used on Ron was said to be extra strong I believe - couldn't there's be a 'make yourself look better' sort of love potion? Or a 'buy her a love potion - show her you're interested!' sort of thing? I'm sure Ginny or someone says they don't even work. Maybe they were never supposed to? – ThruGog Sep 1 '16 at 19:04
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    @ThruGog - in addition, it's not really supported by the books at all. It's a nice thought, one I like, and it eases the skeeze factor on this, and it'd be easily accepted by those who love the books... if the books had even hinted anything like it, and they don't. – Radhil Sep 1 '16 at 20:25
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    @valorum Actually it does answer it. The twins thought it was mostly harmless, remember their comment about it's effectiveness depends on the witchs' attractiveness? It's on the itemlist of every magic shop that's worth something. (even the magic box has indigrents and recipes) so why not earn some galleons? CG Forge pushed that slytherin guy into the vanishing cabinet - he almost died, and experimented on first years. Do you really think they were concerned about their moral responsibility and it kept them awake at night? As long as the MoM and mom allowed it, they were good. – user68762 Sep 1 '16 at 20:32

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