It’s been over 20 years since the world was spellbound by the first book about The Boy Who Lived. People from all corners of the globe breathlessly read about magic, fantastic creatures, dangerous potions, and fights against evil forces. And, according to a new paper, the boy wizard’s victory is not limited to the pages of the book series only. In fact, it makes people be better in real life.
We know that there is an ocean of reasons to have this story in your family library. And we are overjoyed to add one more argument.
Specialists claim that people who are true fans of Harry Potter and are warmly attached to his friends are less likely to be intolerant toward stigmatized groups. They really tend to develop higher empathy toward minorities. And this isn’t magic, this is science!
There were 3 parts of the study that confirmed the initial hypothesis. During the first test, elementary school children participated in 2 surveys. They were conducted before and after kids read the scenes that contained paragraphs related to prejudice (where Draco Malfoy insulted Hermione because she was a muggle) and neutral fragments (when Harry bought his wand).
High school and university students participated in experiments 2 and 3 of the study. And they were asked about their feelings toward alienated people after reading about Harry’s adventures.
This happens because we have an opportunity to see the world through Harry’s eyes. And sometimes what we observe doesn’t make us happy. For example, the key topic of the book is Voldemort’s obsession with pure-blooded wizards and witches. In fact, almost all characters have to cope with difficulties arising from their differences.
While Hermione is a “filthy little Mudblood,” Ron lives in a poor family, and Neville Longbottom is extremely klutzy and clumsy. Hagrid is a giant, who works as a Hogwarts teacher, but who is not allowed to use magic. And despite all these quirks, they are still good friends and they are always ready to support each other.
Moreover, Harry himself knows how hard it is to be different. He lost his parents, and was forced to grow up with his “reactionary, prejudiced, narrow-minded, ignorant, and bigoted” relatives in a cupboard under the stairs. He didn’t have any friends and was often tormented by his cousin. So, Harry gets it, he knows what it’s like.
So, this fantasy story helps people see the unfairness in the wizarding world and subsequently notice examples of prejudice in the real world.
Harry’s character gets us involved and helps us understand that the main thing is to be kind to others without paying attention to how different they can be. And the words of Albus Dumbledore confirm it: “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”
Do you think that books can have a big impact on our minds? Tell us about changes that you noticed in yourself after reading a meaningful book.