Digging Up the Dead in Harry Potter

18 April 2011
Graphic by Katy Parker

By Leo Portugal

[Note: I hate spoilers, and you shouldn’t read this if you do too.]


Everyone knows that the tale of Harry Potter begins with death, as Voldemort slays Lily and James Potter. But not everyone knows that the tale ends with death as well, as I killed myself after being overwhelmed by the extreme self-loathing I felt after reading the Harry Potter books. Just kidding! I liked Harry Potter alright, and I also have generally high self-esteem. The death that ends the series is the death of Voldemort, who accidentally kills himself with the old Avada Kevadra killing curse (rookie mistake), and that pretty much brings the story full circle. But in the middle of it all, Harry lives a life where he is constantly surrounded by death, as he witnesses the deaths of his godfather, Sirius Black, and even his owl, Hedwig. The most astonishing and intriguing fatality in the series, however, is the death of the noble and kind Albus Dumbledore.


I’m not going to go too in depth into Harry Potter, because I can’t. I’ve only had a passing relationship with the series, and I actually only read the last two books, but as a huge pop culture phenomenon it has creeped its way into my life in a few different ways. You could say I’ve had a pretty weird relationship with Harry Potter… a pretty weird sexual relationship! Haha, not really, just another silly joke to ease you into what is sure to be a serious article about a serious subject, from this point forward.


I acted out a scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in a Theatre 113 class here at CSULB. We reenacted the scene where Harry met Hermione and Ron for the first time during their train ride to Hogwarts. Harry and Ron were played by two girls (in our version, not the film version), and I took the role of Hermione, because our group was radical like that.


We had wands. Just props, not real wands. Geez, I feel like you should understand this already, and having to clarify simple things to you dummies is getting pretty annoying. I got to cast an “occulus repairo” spell on Harry’s face. I had a dual role and also acted as the lady who pushes the candy trolley around and asks Harry and Ron, “Anything off the trolley, dears?” in a sweet and caring British nanny-like voice. But I digress. No one even dies in that train scene. And please don’t ask me to do my sweet British-lady voice.


In high school, I remember jerks trying to upset Harry Potter fans by spoiling the death of Dumbledore. “Snape kills Dumbledore!” was a common Myspace post, and a general source of internet douche-baggery. This upset me, not even because I cared about Harry Potter at the time, but because I hate spoilers. I mean, I was kind of upset when I read the Union Weekly’s review of Rango and it revealed that Rango lives at the end of the movie. Still, even after hearing about the death of Dumbledore, I decided to start reading the books. It turns out that Dumbledore wanted Snape to kill him! Now, if one of the Union editors casts an Avada Kedavra curse on Editor-in-Chief Kevin O’Brien, I’m going to believe that it’s exactly what Kevin wanted, and just a part of one of his grand schemes.

Now that you’ve come to the end of my article, I’m sure you have learned a lot. But important questions remain: Is all this death in a series of novels made for children healthy for the children who read it? Doesn’t all this godforsaken witchcraft and wizardry go against God? The answers are, yes, it is perfectly healthy, and no, God actually loves magic.


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