Harry Potter and Evil Incarnate
Donald Trump vs. Lord Voldemort
Like everyone else, I have always been a fan of the Harry Potter books. I read every one of them when they came out, and although I don’t remember all of Harry Potter’s adventures with his classmates and that cute little elf, I do remember some of the awful things that Lord Voldemort did. He turned people into animals, as I remember, and cast spells on everyone, even killing some of them—schoolkids. He was truly very bad. It was obvious to me that J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, intended that Lord Voldemort should represent the very worst of humanity, a horrible counterbalance to everything good and noble—like respect for others, including inferior persons, like the Muggles. (Muggles are young Mugs.) He was so evil that I found myself growling whenever anyone called him by his real name (“he who must not be named.”) I would have said that Lord Voldemort was probably worse than anyone in literature, including “The Joker” who used to fight Batman with every underhand trick you could imagine.
It came as a shock to me, then, when J.K. Rowling said recently that Donald Trump was worse! “Voldemort was nowhere near as bad,” she said in a Twitter message to somebody.
I thought about that. If Donald Trump is worse that Voldemort, whose fault is that? It’s her fault! She made up Voldemort, and she could have made him even worse than he was, so that he would not have to take a back seat to Donald Trump. He could truly have been “Evil Incarnate.” I have a number of thoughts about how J.K. Rowling could have made Voldemort worse:
- Voldemort could have made a giant wall keeping all the Muggles and the other inferior persons out of Hogwarts and the surrounding grounds. As an excuse he could have called them bad names like “rapists.” (No one likes rapists.) (As I remember Voldemort does not stoop to calling people names.) He could have offered to protect everyone by keeping track of everyone on long lists and keeping them in quarantine when they got uppity.
- Voldemort could have made fun of some cripples. Everyone thinks that making fun of helpless people is reprehensible. He could have found someone who was paralyzed from the waist down and make fun of his not being able to buy pants. Or he could waggle his arms all around and make fun of someone with a movement disorder. Since there are a growing number of people with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders, this would have made him seem very nasty to a lot of people.
- He could have ridiculed some war hero for his bravery as a prisoner of war. “Loser, loser,” he could have called him. If he weren’t a loser he wouldn’t have been captured in the first place.
- He could have caused his followers (inexplicably, he had followers) to beat up anyone who criticized him. “They deserve it,” he could announce.
- He could make up lies—and more lies—and more lies. He couldn’t be the “Father of All Lies,” since that title is already taken; but he could be “Lier in Chief,” making up stories about seeing other people do bad things, or denying that are born properly or in the right place. “I don’t know what’s going on with that guy, but something is going on. Maybe something secret.”
- He could make fun of people for not being physically attractive, or for being poor.
- And if he boasted all day about how smart he was and good looking and successful and rich, he would have been every bit as repugnant as Donald Trump.
J.K. Rowling could have turned Voldemort into Evil Incarnate by taking a few leaves out of Trump’s book.
(However, I don’t think she should then make him say “Everybody loves me,” because that would not be believable.) (c) Fredric Neuman Author of “Caring.”