What Harry Potter Didn’t Study

June 28th, 2009

Does it bother anyone else that essentially all of Harry Potter’s education at Hogwarts was about rote memorization of spell casting and totally divorced from “muggle” education?

I mean, the wizarding world need not worry about all the same things that the muggle world worries about, but come on.   You’ve still got money, so math, economics, business, etc., are all still important topics.   And we have evidence that even with the textbooks being about recipes, experimentation with potions and such leads to better results, so science and the scientific method should be taught, too.   Astronomy in the Harry Potter books didn’t seem to be anything scientific.

And how about reading, writing, and all the other things that get taught in middle school and high school?   If we let history be replaced with magical history, okay, that still leaves the human condition as a topic that Hogwart’s students skip.

Now, if I were writing the Harry Potter books, I’m not sure I’d do anything different from J. K. Rowling, but their enormous popularity among YA readers disturbs me a little when I think about this topic.   How much of their popularity is about changing the subjects of high school into something different and easier?   I mean, I think this stuff is going to seem easier to readers.   I think I could cast spells better than I could figure out what it means to be human in the face of great tragedy (e.g., what you’re ideally confronted with in English class from time to time), or what is the meaning of art.

So I submit that all the wizards and witches coming out of schools like Hogwarts are miserably educated people without much to their background or experience than the ability to use a wand.   Unfortunately that sounds like muggles who just use technology without understanding it, and use Cliff Notes to pass exams.

It’s not good.

If Harry Potter couldn’t cast spells, who would hire him except for McDonald’s?   And who would find him an educated, interesting person?


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.