History BrokenAesop / Literature

21st Mar '17 12:16:59 PM JJHIL325
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*** The idea that Slytherin prizes a wicked lust for power is further put to rest by the character of its former Head of House, Horace Slughorn. He's ambitious, yes, but both for himself and his prized students, the idea being that he will recognize and nurture talent, and they will in turn remember him when they become successful. Furthermore Slughorn, despite being a Slytherin, wants nothing to do with their bigotry (he considers Hermione and Lily Evans among his prized students despite their impure blood) and is [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone absolutely horrified]] [[MyGreatestFailure by his part in Voldemort's rise to power]] [[spoiler: by telling another promising young student, Tom Riddle, about Horcruxes.]]

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*** The idea that Slytherin prizes a wicked lust for power is further put to rest by the character of its former Head of House, Horace Slughorn. He's ambitious, yes, but both for himself and his prized students, the idea being that he will recognize and nurture talent, and they will in turn remember him when they become successful. Furthermore Slughorn, despite being a Slytherin, wants nothing to do with their bigotry (he considers Hermione and Lily Evans among his prized students despite their impure blood) being Muggle-borns) and is [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone absolutely horrified]] [[MyGreatestFailure by his part in Voldemort's rise to power]] [[spoiler: by telling another promising young student, Tom Riddle, about Horcruxes.]]
21st Mar '17 12:14:36 PM JJHIL325
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** In general the novel's overall AmbitionIsEvil aesop suffers from InformedAttribute:
*** The point about AmbitionIsEvil leading to bad fates for Dumbledore, Snape, Voldemort and others, and happy fates for the HumbleHero Harry Potter falls flat since TheHero's success comes down to having a lot of convenient PlotCoupon handed down to him, alongside huge doses of luck and PlotArmor. In addition, Harry Potter is the inheritor of wealth and fame thanks to the actions of his parents and ancestors, so he doesn't really have a lot to be ambitious about unlike Dumbledore, Riddle and Snape (products of troubled low-income homes).
*** Slytherin's house is meant to show the bad side of ambition, except Slytherin is the house of tradition and wizarding elites, who want to preserve order and prevent genuinely ambitious people such as Hermione (driven by committment to excellence, and social and institutional reform) from rising further. Only Voldemort and Snape qualify as ambitious Slytherins and neither of them are part of the traditional wizarding elite. A better aesop would be to say that Slytherin is the house of tradition and opposes innovation since those are the attributes its members and house have far more frequently displayed in the books and backstory.
*** The idea that Slytherin prizes a wicked lust for power is further put to rest by the character of its former Head of House, Horace Slughorn. He's ambitious, yes, but both for himself and his prized students, the idea being that he will recognize and nurture talent, and they will in turn remember him when they become successful. Furthermore Slughorn, despite being a Slytherin, wants nothing to do with their bigotry (he considers Hermione and Lily Evans among his prized students despite their impure blood) and is [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone absolutely horrified]] [[MyGreatestFailure by his part in Voldemort's rise to power]] [[spoiler: by telling another promising young student, Tom Riddle, about Horcruxes.]]
19th Mar '17 7:52:48 AM DrOO7
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* The ''Series/RizzoliAndIsles'' series runs on this. One of it's protagonists, Jane Rizzoli, relentlessly complains about how she's dismissed or ignored because of her plain looks, especially in favor of an attractive woman--but she takes an instant dislike to every beautiful woman that she meets, automatically assumes that she's a bitch or an idiot, and treats her as such. She also has nothing but contempt for the men who fall in love with these women, believing them to be shallow, but she spends all of the first book lusting after her handsome partner and in the next book, falls for (and eventually marries) an equally handsome FBI agent.

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* The ''Series/RizzoliAndIsles'' series runs on this. One of it's protagonists, Jane Rizzoli, relentlessly complains about how she's dismissed or ignored because of her plain looks, especially in favor of an attractive woman--but woman. Fair enough. . .except she takes does ''the exact same thing'' by taking an instant dislike to every beautiful woman that she meets, automatically assumes assuming that she's a bitch or an idiot, and treats treating her as such. She also has nothing but contempt for the men who fall in love with these women, believing them to be shallow, but shallow. Aside from being a grossly unfair and stereotypical assumption, she herself spends all of the first book lusting after her handsome partner and in the next book, falls for (and eventually marries) an equally handsome FBI agent. Apparently it's only shallow when beautiful people fall in love with beautiful people. When unattractive people do, it's just fine.
18th Mar '17 1:55:29 PM Ferot_Dreadnaught
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* Several times in the ''Literature/NancyDrew Files'' series, Nancy is blasted for her snooping not just by the people she's investigating, but by her friends and her father. Problem is, Nancy always turns out to be right about the people she was suspicious of (while not guilty, they were involved somehow). Especially glaring in one book when boyfriend Ned gets so angry at her about her suspicions of his best friend that he breaks up with her, but in the next book, he asks her to help his new girlfriend. Apparently, Nancy's meddling is only bad when it affects him. When he needs her help, it's perfectly fine--she herself points out his hypocrisy.
18th Mar '17 1:48:27 PM DrOO7
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* Several times in the ''Literature/NancyDrew Files'' series, Nancy is blasted for her snooping not just by the people she's investigating, but by her friends and her father. Problem is, not only does Nancy turn out to be right about the people she was suspicious of (while not guilty, they were involved somehow), in one book, boyfriend Ned gets so angry at her that he breaks up with her, but in the next book, he asks her to help his new girlfriend. Apparently, Nancy's meddling is only bad when it affects him. When he needs her help, it's perfectly fine--she herself points out his hypocrisy.

to:

* Several times in the ''Literature/NancyDrew Files'' series, Nancy is blasted for her snooping not just by the people she's investigating, but by her friends and her father. Problem is, not only does is, Nancy turn always turns out to be right about the people she was suspicious of (while not guilty, they were involved somehow), somehow). Especially glaring in one book, book when boyfriend Ned gets so angry at her about her suspicions of his best friend that he breaks up with her, but in the next book, he asks her to help his new girlfriend. Apparently, Nancy's meddling is only bad when it affects him. When he needs her help, it's perfectly fine--she herself points out his hypocrisy.


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* The ''Series/RizzoliAndIsles'' series runs on this. One of it's protagonists, Jane Rizzoli, relentlessly complains about how she's dismissed or ignored because of her plain looks, especially in favor of an attractive woman--but she takes an instant dislike to every beautiful woman that she meets, automatically assumes that she's a bitch or an idiot, and treats her as such. She also has nothing but contempt for the men who fall in love with these women, believing them to be shallow, but she spends all of the first book lusting after her handsome partner and in the next book, falls for (and eventually marries) an equally handsome FBI agent.
26th Feb '17 2:05:10 PM MagBas
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* The old children's story ''Littlest Rabbit''. The titular character is teased and abused by bullies due to being small. But then he grows into a big, strong rabbit and beats the stuffing out of the bullies. [[SarcasmMode Yeah, great moral there]].

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* The old children's story ''Littlest Rabbit''. The titular character is teased and abused by bullies due to being small. But then he grows into a big, strong rabbit and beats the stuffing out of the bullies. [[SarcasmMode Yeah, great moral there]].
26th Feb '17 2:00:19 PM BattleMaster
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Added DiffLines:

* The old children's story ''Littlest Rabbit''. The titular character is teased and abused by bullies due to being small. But then he grows into a big, strong rabbit and beats the stuffing out of the bullies. [[SarcasmMode Yeah, great moral there]].
23rd Feb '17 3:28:38 PM PrincessGwen
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** Never mind when Elizabeth was in an motorcycle accident at the end of one book, then in the next wakes out of her coma. She proceeds to act almost exactly like Jessica does--until she gets [[TapOnTheHead bonked on the head]] again, in a minor fall. She pops back to her normal self, gets forgiven by her boyfriend, and by everyone else. Jessica, who has spent the whole book picking up after Elizabeth's behavior, not only doesn't get any sort of apology or thanks, but is back to ''her'' normal self, no lesson learned or maturity earned, in the next book.

to:

** Never mind when Elizabeth was in an a motorcycle accident at the end of one book, then in the next wakes out of her coma. She proceeds to act almost exactly like Jessica does--until she gets [[TapOnTheHead bonked on the head]] again, in a minor fall. She pops back to her normal self, gets forgiven by her boyfriend, and by everyone else. Jessica, who has spent the whole book picking up after Elizabeth's behavior, not only doesn't get any sort of apology or thanks, but is back to ''her'' normal self, no lesson learned or maturity earned, in the next book.
13th Jan '17 12:37:36 PM lexicon
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* Somewhat Subverted in ''Literature/EmilyTheStrangeStrangerAndStranger''. Despite all the trouble caused by her duplication device, Emily still wants to get it working again, though this time with better safeguards.
12th Jan '17 8:19:05 PM wootzits
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* In ''Literature/BloodPromise'', [[spoiler:Dimitri]] is turned into a [[AlwaysChaoticEvil Strigoi]], a FateWorseThanDeath. Rose is deeply hurt by this and abandons her education to trek through Russia [[spoiler:so she can stake him]], and thereby find closure. It's a long and dangerous journey that ends with Rose learning that she has to let go of [[spoiler:Dimitri]]'s memory and return to her friends and family, because mourning him in such a obsessive way sabotages her own life. It's a good lesson that is ''shot to hell'' by the book's closing chapter, which reveals that Spirit wielders have a completely [[DeusExMachina unforeshadowed]] ability that allows them to resurrect [[spoiler:Strigoi as the people they were]], despite ''nothing'' else in the books even hinting that was possible. And after she learns this, Rose turns right back around and vows to get [[spoiler:Dimitri]] resurrected this way, even planning to break a serial killer out of prison so it can happen!



* Somewhat Subverted in ''Literature/EmilyTheStrangeStrangerAndStranger''. Despite all the trouble caused by her duplication device, Emily still wants to get it working again, though this time with better safeguards.



* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': The series is largely centered around the message of unity and tolerance. Specifically, unity and tolerance between pure-blood and half-blood wizards. Discrimination and segregation between them are always depicted as wrong. It also has the bad guys seeking to kill or enslave non-wizard people (aka Muggles) as an analogue to Nazism. This would all be fine and dandy, if it weren't for the fact that wizards ―even the good ones― are highly guilty of separatism and segregation by hiding themselves and their society from Muggles and rejecting their culture (the reason wizards are still stuck with medieval technology is that they're largely ignorant of modern technology and science due to their rejection of anything "Muggle"), and the books never portray this behavior as being wrong. Okay, being fair, many wizards believe in Muggles' rights, and some have an interest in Muggle culture, and they have a study called Muggle Studies dedicated to it. But in those cases, this is done in an incredibly condescending manner, almost as if dealing with an animal species, and it's never done with the objective of integration. In other words, being a promoter of Muggle rights practically makes you the wizard of equivalent a PETA activist. Consider how Ron's father's job is specifically to study Muggle culture but still has to ask Harry what the point of a rubber duck is and that the existence of wizards with fully Muggle parents means that they don't even need to leave their veil to get most of the info they could ever need to see how seriously they honestly take it.
** [[WordOfGod Rowling]] tried to justify this by stating that wizards are afraid of Muggles, and if Muggles found out about magic it probably would cause more trouble. So segregation is unavoidable in the Potterverse. Which... only enforces the broken nature of the Aesop.
** If anything, the actions of the characters clearly show why Muggles and Wizards can't live happily. To wizards, things like Confounding driving test instructors and magicking exploding toilets and [[LaserGuidedAmnesia memory wipes]] are harmless little pranks or day-to-day minutiae -- things that Muggles can't foresee or defend themselves from. And almost all of the Muggles that encounter magic in the series react to it with violence and hostility -- the Dursleys fear of magic makes them abuse Harry, Tom Riddle's father abandoned his pregnant wife when he found out she was a witch [[spoiler: that had been drugging him with love potions and raping him until she believed that he really loved her back, at which point she stopped drugging him and he got the Hell away from his rapist]], [[spoiler: three Muggle boys abused Ariana Dumbledore so viciously that her brain was permanently affected.]] By this track record, the two races are dangerous to one another and shouldn't mix.
*** The reluctance of wizards to reveal themselves may be understandable in the backstory and the first books, but by the end of the saga said bad guys, a cabal of evil wizards intent on not simply segregating non-wizards, but to torment and terrorize them, does become a legitimate threat and then take over. That is ''still'' not treated as a reason enough for the good guys to at least warn the non-wiz population of danger and give them a fighting chance. Hell, the ''giants'', a race explicitly called AlwaysChaoticEvil, is found worthy of an invitation to the alliance. But non-wizards? Not even once suggested.
*** It's also worth noting that at the beginning of the sixth book, the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is sitting in his office when Rufus Scrimgeour, the current Minister of Magic, appears from the fireplace and starts telling him all about the wizarding world. It's apparently tradition that the Prime Minister is the only human (beyond Muggle parents with magical children, like the Grangers) who's allowed to know about the magical world--the barrier is protected by the idea that [[YouHaveToBelieveMe no human would believe it if the Minister tried to share the information]], which is already a problem--which would imply some kind of cooperation between the two realms...except for the fact that the Minister of Magic's advice essentially amounts to "Hey, some crazy stuff is probably about to happen in your world, and it's the fault of wizards, so you'd better start cooking up some convincing lies about it while we take care of it for you." It's implied that wizards are ''so'' superior to Muggles that there's no way any of their paltry inventions could possibly help fight off Dark wizard attacks. Apparently being a wizard or witch grants you complete immunity to things like, oh, ''bullets.'' Granted, wizards can heal most injuries instantaneously, but they also need to use their wands to perform spells--if you aimed a few Uzis at a wizard army's hands, you could at least incapacitate them for a while. Even more egregious is the fact that while there are enchantments designed to preserve TheMasquerade, such as Muggle-Repelling or Memory Charms, the evil wizards in question ''want'' Muggles to live in terror, so they probably wouldn't be using them in the first place.
** As if that wasn't [[{{Egregious}} egregious]] enough, the series has House Elves, a race that is treated as slave servants of wizards. Their enslavement is never depicted as wrong, and the one person who is against it, Hermione, is treated as an annoying tree-hugging hippy. The closest the series goes to decrying the treatment of House Elves is saying that [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop it's wrong to enslave them if you're an abusive master, not that it's wrong to enslave them]]. It also makes an argument that Elves [[HappinessInSlavery enjoy serving wizards and abhor the attempts to free them]], ignoring the fact that they're also conditioned to severely and bodily punish themselves for failing a task, which clearly indicates that they are not in control of their own minds, and strongly implies that their "enjoyment" of servitude is just as forced.
** There's also the recurrent message that [[ScrewDestiny "It is our choices, far more than our abilities, that show who we really are."]] In other words, ''you'' are responsible for your destiny, and ''you'' determine the breadth of your achievements through your choices. Which would be a perfectly valid message, if not for the fact that, y'know...the entire series takes place in a prestigious School of Magic that you can '''only''' get into by being born with natural Magical abilities, and all of Wizarding society is built upon Magical abilities that can only be acquired by virtue of birth. From what we see in-series, they're an entirely random genetic mutation that the children of Muggles often develop at birth without regards to choice of any kind.
*** It is also diminished by the fact that the wizard society has a very tight and rigid social structure. Up until very recently if you were a mudblood you could ''forget'' reaching the top no matter how hard you tried.
*** Related to that is how the sacrificial protection magic works. Your choices in life do not matter. How good of a person or how good a friends of Lily you were also doesn't matter (Remus or those many friends that were so kind to send photos to Hagrid). Only if you were her blood relative does the protection extend to you. That explanation comes from the person who is the icon of the struggle against Pureblood supremacy.
*** The blood charm seems to be a cheap way for the author to explain away why Harry had to live with his abusive muggle relatives, even though a lot of wizard families would have loved to take him in and treat him like their son.
*** The idea that one's choices matter also falls flat when the ''entire series'' revolves around everybody involved intentionally or not fulfilling a prophecy. The one person who actually tries to make his choices matter and ScrewDestiny ''is the villain'' and [[YouCantFightFate which he fails miserably at]] and [[ProphecyTwist even unintentionally ends up bringing it about.]]
** Throughout the series, a few characters (especially the Sorting Hat) express an interest in reconciliation between the four Hogwarts houses, urging camaraderie and friendship, rather than preserving the status quo of Slytherin == Bad Guys and The Other Three Houses == Good Guys. But when Voldemort attacks Hogwarts, instead of the four houses putting aside their differences and defending the school together, we have the entire Slytherin house petulantly refusing to fight. It's even worse in the film, where the other three houses actually cheer as the Slytherins are led away. Yes, it's commendable that Slughorn stays and fights, but he was never a villain, anyway. The story tries to make up for it in the epilogue by having Harry name one of his sons after Snape, but that act would have been more meaningful if Slytherin house had chosen the right side when it mattered.
*** The camaraderie and friendship aesop is also broken with the house system in the first place. Houses are assigned based on aptitude and personality and then the point system encourages them to compete. This means for example, a Ravenclaw would likely tutor younger Ravenclaws for their own house as opposed to a Hufflepuff. The problem is that this means major student qualities are encouraged to stick to themselves which leads to overspecialization, Slytherin being the worst case. In normal schools, Houses are assigned randomly which means you can maintain house loyalty and competition while still getting a well rounded student body.
*** Throughout the books, the message of friendship and putting aside differences is hammered pretty hard; Malfoy is portrayed as a self-righteous {{Jerkass}} for warning Harry about befriending "the wrong sort," and the series' PowerTrio is made up of three students from radically different backgrounds. The aesop is shattered to pieces, however, by the way Slytherins are treated: Dumbledore reverses their victory, giving the House Cup to their bitter rivals in full view of the entire school; when Harry, disguised as a Slytherin student, asks another student for directions, she flat refuses, primly claiming "''I'm'' a Ravenclaw" before walking off with her nose in the air; Gryffindors "hate Slytherins on principle"; and so on. And all of this loathing is portrayed as 100 percent justified (and even commendable) in-universe, and every halfway decent Slytherin has a DarkAndTroubledPast that they never quite managed to rise above. So, a more accurate aesop might be: "Make friends with people who are different from you.... [[IronicEcho so long as they're not the wrong sort]]."
** Rowling hastily tried to remedy the issue of Slyterin's isolation in the last book by introducing (for the first time in the entire saga, and even then only in the backstory) an inter-house pair. The attempt promptly crashes and burns when you reailse that the relationship was concieved and developed before the couple was sorted, and it quickly deteriorated and broke up largely because of the poisonous influence of House Slytherin on the boy.
* ''Literature/{{Hobgoblin}}'' was written to cash in on the craze over ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' players ostensibly going crazy and believing they were their characters. Scott, the main character, is portrayed as clinging to childish things by valuing his RPG sessions over more traditional high school pursuits. When given a chance, he starts emulating his bloodthirsty Celtic warrior character. And... by doing so, he saves the lives of multiple people and goes on to be more well-adjusted than his peers.



* Kaala, protagonist of ''Literature/TheWolfChronicles'', spends the entire series being bullied and manipulated by its various [[TheChessmaster chessmasters]]. There is much talk about how she can't trust anybody--[[GreyAndGreyMorality even her allies]]--to tell her the whole truth, and must fight for her independence. Then in the finale she...[[EasilyForgiven suddenly]] trusts one of these chessmasters ([[spoiler:Gaanan]]) to safeguard the future of humanity? Even though he's lied to her before? Even though she has no reason to believe he's being honest now? ''Really?''



* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': The series is largely centered around the message of unity and tolerance. Specifically, unity and tolerance between pure-blood and half-blood wizards. Discrimination and segregation between them are always depicted as wrong. It also has the bad guys seeking to kill or enslave non-wizard people (aka Muggles) as an analogue to Nazism. This would all be fine and dandy, if it weren't for the fact that wizards ―even the good ones― are highly guilty of separatism and segregation by hiding themselves and their society from Muggles and rejecting their culture (the reason wizards are still stuck with medieval technology is that they're largely ignorant of modern technology and science due to their rejection of anything "Muggle"), and the books never portray this behavior as being wrong. Okay, being fair, many wizards believe in Muggles' rights, and some have an interest in Muggle culture, and they have a study called Muggle Studies dedicated to it. But in those cases, this is done in an incredibly condescending manner, almost as if dealing with an animal species, and it's never done with the objective of integration. In other words, being a promoter of Muggle rights practically makes you the wizard of equivalent a PETA activist. Consider how Ron's father's job is specifically to study Muggle culture but still has to ask Harry what the point of a rubber duck is and that the existence of wizards with fully Muggle parents means that they don't even need to leave their veil to get most of the info they could ever need to see how seriously they honestly take it.
** [[WordOfGod Rowling]] tried to justify this by stating that wizards are afraid of Muggles, and if Muggles found out about magic it probably would cause more trouble. So segregation is unavoidable in the Potterverse. Which... only enforces the broken nature of the Aesop.
** If anything, the actions of the characters clearly show why Muggles and Wizards can't live happily. To wizards, things like Confounding driving test instructors and magicking exploding toilets and [[LaserGuidedAmnesia memory wipes]] are harmless little pranks or day-to-day minutiae -- things that Muggles can't foresee or defend themselves from. And almost all of the Muggles that encounter magic in the series react to it with violence and hostility -- the Dursleys fear of magic makes them abuse Harry, Tom Riddle's father abandoned his pregnant wife when he found out she was a witch [[spoiler: that had been drugging him with love potions and raping him until she believed that he really loved her back, at which point she stopped drugging him and he got the Hell away from his rapist]], [[spoiler: three Muggle boys abused Ariana Dumbledore so viciously that her brain was permanently affected.]] By this track record, the two races are dangerous to one another and shouldn't mix.
*** The reluctance of wizards to reveal themselves may be understandable in the backstory and the first books, but by the end of the saga said bad guys, a cabal of evil wizards intent on not simply segregating non-wizards, but to torment and terrorize them, does become a legitimate threat and then take over. That is ''still'' not treated as a reason enough for the good guys to at least warn the non-wiz population of danger and give them a fighting chance. Hell, the ''giants'', a race explicitly called AlwaysChaoticEvil, is found worthy of an invitation to the alliance. But non-wizards? Not even once suggested.
*** It's also worth noting that at the beginning of the sixth book, the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is sitting in his office when Rufus Scrimgeour, the current Minister of Magic, appears from the fireplace and starts telling him all about the wizarding world. It's apparently tradition that the Prime Minister is the only human (beyond Muggle parents with magical children, like the Grangers) who's allowed to know about the magical world--the barrier is protected by the idea that [[YouHaveToBelieveMe no human would believe it if the Minister tried to share the information]], which is already a problem--which would imply some kind of cooperation between the two realms...except for the fact that the Minister of Magic's advice essentially amounts to "Hey, some crazy stuff is probably about to happen in your world, and it's the fault of wizards, so you'd better start cooking up some convincing lies about it while we take care of it for you." It's implied that wizards are ''so'' superior to Muggles that there's no way any of their paltry inventions could possibly help fight off Dark wizard attacks. Apparently being a wizard or witch grants you complete immunity to things like, oh, ''bullets.'' Granted, wizards can heal most injuries instantaneously, but they also need to use their wands to perform spells--if you aimed a few Uzis at a wizard army's hands, you could at least incapacitate them for a while. Even more egregious is the fact that while there are enchantments designed to preserve TheMasquerade, such as Muggle-Repelling or Memory Charms, the evil wizards in question ''want'' Muggles to live in terror, so they probably wouldn't be using them in the first place.
** As if that wasn't [[{{Egregious}} egregious]] enough, the series has House Elves, a race that is treated as slave servants of wizards. Their enslavement is never depicted as wrong, and the one person who is against it, Hermione, is treated as an annoying tree-hugging hippy. The closest the series goes to decrying the treatment of House Elves is saying that [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop it's wrong to enslave them if you're an abusive master, not that it's wrong to enslave them]]. It also makes an argument that Elves [[HappinessInSlavery enjoy serving wizards and abhor the attempts to free them]], ignoring the fact that they're also conditioned to severely and bodily punish themselves for failing a task, which clearly indicates that they are not in control of their own minds, and strongly implies that their "enjoyment" of servitude is just as forced.
** There's also the recurrent message that [[ScrewDestiny "It is our choices, far more than our abilities, that show who we really are."]] In other words, ''you'' are responsible for your destiny, and ''you'' determine the breadth of your achievements through your choices. Which would be a perfectly valid message, if not for the fact that, y'know...the entire series takes place in a prestigious School of Magic that you can '''only''' get into by being born with natural Magical abilities, and all of Wizarding society is built upon Magical abilities that can only be acquired by virtue of birth. From what we see in-series, they're an entirely random genetic mutation that the children of Muggles often develop at birth without regards to choice of any kind.
*** It is also diminished by the fact that the wizard society has a very tight and rigid social structure. Up until very recently if you were a mudblood you could ''forget'' reaching the top no matter how hard you tried.
*** Related to that is how the sacrificial protection magic works. Your choices in life do not matter. How good of a person or how good a friends of Lily you were also doesn't matter (Remus or those many friends that were so kind to send photos to Hagrid). Only if you were her blood relative does the protection extend to you. That explanation comes from the person who is the icon of the struggle against Pureblood supremacy.
*** The blood charm seems to be a cheap way for the author to explain away why Harry had to live with his abusive muggle relatives, even though a lot of wizard families would have loved to take him in and treat him like their son.
*** The idea that one's choices matter also falls flat when the ''entire series'' revolves around everybody involved intentionally or not fulfilling a prophecy. The one person who actually tries to make his choices matter and ScrewDestiny ''is the villain'' and [[YouCantFightFate which he fails miserably at]] and [[ProphecyTwist even unintentionally ends up bringing it about.]]
** Throughout the series, a few characters (especially the Sorting Hat) express an interest in reconciliation between the four Hogwarts houses, urging camaraderie and friendship, rather than preserving the status quo of Slytherin == Bad Guys and The Other Three Houses == Good Guys. But when Voldemort attacks Hogwarts, instead of the four houses putting aside their differences and defending the school together, we have the entire Slytherin house petulantly refusing to fight. It's even worse in the film, where the other three houses actually cheer as the Slytherins are led away. Yes, it's commendable that Slughorn stays and fights, but he was never a villain, anyway. The story tries to make up for it in the epilogue by having Harry name one of his sons after Snape, but that act would have been more meaningful if Slytherin house had chosen the right side when it mattered.
*** The camaraderie and friendship aesop is also broken with the house system in the first place. Houses are assigned based on aptitude and personality and then the point system encourages them to compete. This means for example, a Ravenclaw would likely tutor younger Ravenclaws for their own house as opposed to a Hufflepuff. The problem is that this means major student qualities are encouraged to stick to themselves which leads to overspecialization, Slytherin being the worst case. In normal schools, Houses are assigned randomly which means you can maintain house loyalty and competition while still getting a well rounded student body.
*** Throughout the books, the message of friendship and putting aside differences is hammered pretty hard; Malfoy is portrayed as a self-righteous {{Jerkass}} for warning Harry about befriending "the wrong sort," and the series' PowerTrio is made up of three students from radically different backgrounds. The aesop is shattered to pieces, however, by the way Slytherins are treated: Dumbledore reverses their victory, giving the House Cup to their bitter rivals in full view of the entire school; when Harry, disguised as a Slytherin student, asks another student for directions, she flat refuses, primly claiming "''I'm'' a Ravenclaw" before walking off with her nose in the air; Gryffindors "hate Slytherins on principle"; and so on. And all of this loathing is portrayed as 100 percent justified (and even commendable) in-universe, and every halfway decent Slytherin has a DarkAndTroubledPast that they never quite managed to rise above. So, a more accurate aesop might be: "Make friends with people who are different from you.... [[IronicEcho so long as they're not the wrong sort]]."
** Rowling hastily tried to remedy the issue of Slyterin's isolation in the last book by introducing (for the first time in the entire saga, and even then only in the backstory) an inter-house pair. The attempt promptly crashes and burns when you reailse that the relationship was concieved and developed before the couple was sorted, and it quickly deteriorated and broke up largely because of the poisonous influence of House Slytherin on the boy.
* ''Literature/{{Hobgoblin}}'' was written to cash in on the craze over ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' players ostensibly going crazy and believing they were their characters. Scott, the main character, is portrayed as clinging to childish things by valuing his RPG sessions over more traditional high school pursuits. When given a chance, he starts emulating his bloodthirsty Celtic warrior character. And... by doing so, he saves the lives of multiple people and goes on to be more well-adjusted than his peers.
* Somewhat Subverted in ''Literature/EmilyTheStrangeStrangerAndStranger''. Despite all the trouble caused by her duplication device, Emily still wants to get it working again, though this time with better safeguards.
* In ''Literature/BloodPromise'', [[spoiler:Dimitri]] is turned into a [[AlwaysChaoticEvil Strigoi]], a FateWorseThanDeath. Rose is deeply hurt by this and abandons her education to trek through Russia [[spoiler:so she can stake him]], and thereby find closure. It's a long and dangerous journey that ends with Rose learning that she has to let go of [[spoiler:Dimitri]]'s memory and return to her friends and family, because mourning him in such a obsessive way sabotages her own life. It's a good lesson that is ''shot to hell'' by the book's closing chapter, which reveals that Spirit wielders have a completely [[DeusExMachina unforeshadowed]] ability that allows them to resurrect [[spoiler:Strigoi as the people they were]], despite ''nothing'' else in the books even hinting that was possible. And after she learns this, Rose turns right back around and vows to get [[spoiler:Dimitri]] resurrected this way, even planning to break a serial killer out of prison so it can happen!
* Kaala, protagonist of ''Literature/TheWolfChronicles'', spends the entire series being bullied and manipulated by its various [[TheChessmaster chessmasters]]. There is much talk about how she can't trust anybody--[[GreyAndGreyMorality even her allies]]--to tell her the whole truth, and must fight for her independence. Then in the finale she...[[EasilyForgiven suddenly]] trusts one of these chessmasters ([[spoiler:Gaanan]]) to safeguard the future of humanity? Even though he's lied to her before? Even though she has no reason to believe he's being honest now? ''Really?''
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=BrokenAesop.Literature