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Privilege and discrimination in the wizarding world

  • Some of the decor from Harry Potter Night, including the legendary 'Sorting Hat', some Potter-esque glasses, the Golden Snitch, and a flag. (Supplied Photo)
    Some of the decor from Harry Potter Night, including the legendary 'Sorting Hat', some Potter-esque glasses, the Golden Snitch, and a flag. (Supplied Photo)
  • These Potter fans have their wands at the ready, as they prepare for a night of enchantment. (Supplied Photo)
    These Potter fans have their wands at the ready, as they prepare for a night of enchantment. (Supplied Photo)
  • 'Dumbledore' and a few 'Hogwarts' students hold up the four Harry Potter house crests. (Supplied Photo)
    'Dumbledore' and a few 'Hogwarts' students hold up the four Harry Potter house crests. (Supplied Photo)
  • Dr. Hugh Horton, Executive Director of the BISC, introduces himself to 'Harry Potter' and a few prospective wizards. (Supplied Photo)
    Dr. Hugh Horton, Executive Director of the BISC, introduces himself to 'Harry Potter' and a few prospective wizards. (Supplied Photo)

What better place to explore the magical world created by J.K. Rowling than an actual 15th-century castle? That’s exactly what the Student Services team at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) thought when they started their “Harry Potter Night” tradition a few years ago.

But this year, the night was about more than magic spells, Quidditch, and fantastic beasts. While the Harry Potter books are widely enjoyed by many kids, teenagers, and even some adults, the ‘wizarding world’ it portrays is not without its faults. It’s a hierarchical world which values ‘pure blood’ wizards over ‘muggles’ – non-wizards – and some of the other mystical races which inhabit the fictional world. That’s why the Student Services team used this year’s Harry Potter Night as an opportunity to spark a conversation about privilege and discrimination.

“Building on this annual tradition at the castle, this year we wanted to tie in an educational component and give the students an opportunity to think critically about the underlying themes of the popular book series, as well as make ties to current events happening around the world,” says Paul Lee, Student Life Coordinator at the BISC. “By engaging students in a creative and fun way, we can further develop them into global citizens.”

The evening’s primary activity was an amazing race around the castle. Students solved clues and explored a storyline while learning about the concepts of power and privilege in the Potterverse. After the amazing race activity, the students ended up in the castle pub where they played a number of Harry Potter-themed games, including a sorting hat ceremony.