I saw Eclipse this past weekend, and no, this is not a review about the lukewarm Twilight series. Prior to the movie, I saw a trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Parts 1 and 2. I was so excited, I almost started crying. I have been obsessed with the Harry Potter books and movies since I was a sophomore in college, and with each passing film, the addiction increases—because I know that soon, there will be no additional movies. The series will be over, and then, what will I do with myself?
This got me thinking: why do I love Harry Potter so much? Is it because of the magic wands and broomsticks? Is it because I have a nerdy crush on Daniel Radcliffe? Is it because the writing is so good in the books? No! Heck no! None of these things matter as much as one, simple thing about the Harry Potter series—
WE RECOGNIZE THE BAD GUY.
Voldemort is BAD. Harry Potter and his friends are GOOD. We want Voldemort to FAIL. We want Harry Potter to WIN. It’s so simple!
See, I had a moral crisis recently. Since my presentation at Ignite Phoenix, I’ve been inspired to look out at the world and try to make a positive difference. I started watching the news a bit more often. I started reading “serious” blogs. I started discussing politics and religion in public, and I realized something: we can’t recognize the bad guy anymore. As a society, we can’t agree on anything, including good and evil. In a group of six friends, you’ll have two people with completely differing opinions on one topic. It could be anything, from Christianity to Michelle Obama’s new outfit. They will both have good arguments. They will both be informed and enlightened. And at the end of the conversation, nothing will have changed.
I’m not saying differing opinions are bad. In fact, differing opinions keep things interesting. Instead, I’m just asking … how do we know what’s worth fighting for anymore? The world has gone all to hell. There are a million and one causes I could fight for, but how do I know what’s real and what’s propaganda? Because let’s face it: we’re on such information overload, half of what we hear could be fabricated. We don’t recognize the bad guys. They don’t come with a built-in evil music soundtrack, like in old Westerns. They’re not the ones smoking cigarettes. They’re not the ones wearing all black. They’re among us with no recognizable factors, and they’ve even shaved off their Hitler mustaches.
Movies like Harry Potter, V for Vendetta, and Fahrenheit 451 make it all so simple. We recognize the bad guys. Everything is black and white—no gray area. We love these movies because they aren’t like real life, where everything is gray. The characters have a defined purpose: Fight the Bad Guys. They don’t worry about unemployment. There aren’t oil spills or natural disasters, and they don’t worry about social anxiety or depression. They fulfill their purpose singularly and make it look easy without all of life’s messy complications.
This is why I love Harry Potter. The bad guy has a snake face and yellow eyes, and his name is Voldemort. He’s not wearing a suit, standing behind a podium. He’s not the mild-mannered guy down the street who beats his wife. He’s not the eleven-year-old who brings a gun to school.
What do we fight for anymore? Hogwarts is worth fighting for. The Weasley family is worth fighting for. For me, Jake is worth fighting for. My family is worth fighting for. Books are worth fighting for, and God is worth fighting for. The rest of it? I guess I’m still deciding.