1

I have always been interested in the law. I was reading an essay by Knneth Schneyer about the parity of the laws and punishment in Potterverse, titled No Place to Stand:The Incoherent Legal World of J. K. Rowling and I came across an interesting excerpt that talks about, among other things, law and how it pertains to the characters in Harry Potter. Read:

"Ethnography" looks for representations of law in literature. The assertion here is that lawyers and judges do not understand how laypersons think or feel about law, or what law means to those people. The "majestic equality"of the law, in Anatole France's famous phrase, can mean objectivity and evenhandedness for some, while it means perpetuation of inequality and abuse for others. What law means in the trenches, what it means to the litigants, what it means to bystanders and witnesses, is typically far removed from what it means to lawyers. [Emphasis mine] Literature, by showing us how writers of fiction see legal institutions, can tell us what they mean to "real people.>"

No Place to Stand: The Incoherent Legal World of J. K. Rowling - Kenneth Schneyer, Professor of Legal Studies - Johnson & Wales University - Presented to Terminus 2008, Chicago, August 9, 2008

Is there parity in Potterverse? Do the higher levels of government make laws without considering the needs and wants of those in the wizarding community with the thought that the lower class(es) won't care. When I say lower class, I'm thinking of, say, the Weasleys, although they are only lower class due to economic reasons. When I think of an upper class family, I think of the Malfoys, who have enough money that neither Lucius or Draco need to work.

Anyhow, are there examples in canon that demonstrate the Ministry, the Minister for Magic, or the Wizengamot unilaterally passed a law without regard to how it would affect the wizarding community? Are there laws that specifically benefit the upper class in Potterverse to the detriment of the lower class? If so, do they fit the dichotomy taken from No Place to Stand: The Incoherent Legal World of J. K. Rowling? What's fair and what's not in Potterverse?

  • 3
    Arthur Weasley is a government employee with staff under him, who lives in a five storey detached house with eight bedrooms and its own garden large enough to play Quidditch in. He's hardly lower class. – Valorum Aug 4 '18 at 12:39
  • 1
    Do educational decrees count? – Skooba Aug 4 '18 at 14:37
  • 2
    are you talking only about humans? The case is made very clearly over the course of the later books that non-wizard classes / races are treated much differently and have different rights and status – NKCampbell Aug 4 '18 at 15:54
  • 1
    @Valorum - I don't know much about British class definitions, but the books seem to draw a stark contrast between somebody like Malfoy and even Harry and Hermione vs Ron. Over and over again, the reader is shown that the Weasley's have enough to get by, but very little beyond that. They only vacation when they win a prize, Ron doesn't even have any pocket money for his first Hogwart's train ride, they often buy school items second hand or pass them down. Maybe they would be considered lower middle class, but they are definitely intended to be shown as comparatively poor. – NKCampbell Aug 4 '18 at 15:57
  • 4
    @NKCampbell - Sure. But the Weasley's (relative) poverty seems to relate more to their large number of children rather than Arthur's lack of income. He certainly doesn't fit the standard definition; "a social group that consists of people who earn little money, often being paid only for the hours or days that they work, and who usually do physical work". If anything he seems to be "upper middle-class" given his role as a supervisor with a government job, housing situation, the fact that he's able to function as sole income earner, etc – Valorum Aug 4 '18 at 16:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.