Well, it seems my survival instinct has finally yielded to my urge to nitpick something people love. With that in mind, I’d like to discuss an issue I have with Harry Potter. Not just the movies, but the books as well.
Dave: Man, do I have a good theory for you today!
Wait, Dave. We’re not doing fan theories today.
Dave: But… it’s Harry Potter. That usually means we’re covering theories.
I know, but in this instance, I’m discussing an issue with the story, nothing else.
Dave: Oh… but I found a really good theory!
I don’t care! I’ve got more important things to talk about right now.
Dave: Come on! Look, the theory is that Dumbledore made a Horcrux, and-
A Horcrux is made specifically to prevent you from dying. Dumbledore died, in an attempt to let the elder wands power die with him, since it’d mean he was not defeated, but euthanized by Snape. If Dumbledore had a Horcrux, that plan would have been a complete waste of time from the start since Snape would be unable to kill him.
So no, Dumbledore did not have a Horcrux. Happy now?
Dave: Well, I-
Good! Now fuck off!
Anyway, as I was about to say, today’s article concerns love potions. They are mentioned from time to time in the books, most prominently in the sixth book, where Ron Weasley accidentally falls under the influence of one intended for Harry.
You read it, you chuckle a bit at how silly Ron acts, and then get on with the story.
I glossed over this in my first article about Harry Potter fan theories, but this time, let’s go into more detail on the subject. Now, my issue is quite simple:
HOW THE FLYING FUCK ARE LOVE POTIONS LEGAL?!
Now, at the face of it, this may seem like a strange question. But let’s look at it a bit closer.
What’s the purpose of a love potion? To answer that, let’s look at what a love potion actually does.
A love potion induces a state of euphoric adoration and obsession with a particular individual in whoever drinks it, bordering on monomaniacal and fanatical worship.
With that in mind, what is then the practical use of a love potion? Because remember, you don’t just give someone a love potion, and that’s it. It’s not an end in itself. It’s a means of reaching some other goal. Now ask yourself, what might that goal be?
What situation would prompt someone to use a love potion?
Well, let’s say you find someone you like quite a lot, but they’re not interested in you. So you sneak a love potion into their food or drink, and suddenly they warm up to you, becoming very friendly. Actually, they’re not just friendly. They are suddenly worshipping the air your breathe and the ground you walk.
They’re not just compliant. As far as they’re concerned, making you happy is now the purpose of their existence.
Anything you want to do, they will allow, as long as you make it clear that doing it would make you happy.
It allows you to take advantage of someone, by making them incapable of objecting to any request you make, effectively eliminating their ability to give informed and concious consent. This is literally what a love potion does. It is the only thing it can be used for.
Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it?
That might be because what I’ve just described is also the text book definition of drug facilitated sexual assault.
Still think Ron being subjected to one is funny? If so, think about this: What if it was Hermione instead?
Let’s not be naïve here. Using a love potion is not so much part of a slippery slope, so much as it’s a sheer drop off the moral cliff into the abyss of fucking depravity.
But despite this, love potions are not illegal. They are mentioned as “Dangerous” and being forbidden at Hogwarts. That’s it.
They are banned at a school. Not illegal. Banned. In other words, on par with broomsticks for first year students.
Now, remember Romilda Vane, the girl who gave the spiked chocolates to Harry?
As far as the books are concerned, she faced no consequenses or punishment for this. If she did, it wasn’t very severe. Detention, maybe? Losing house points?
You know, instead of what SHOULD happen. As in expulsion, arrest, trial and possibly even a sentence to a small cell in Azkaban!
Of course, you may think this sounds a bit extreme. Sending someone to Azkaban for using a love potion is surely overreacting?
To which I say: No, it does NOT sound extreme. She SHOULD be running the risk of being sent to Azkaban. You wanna know why?
Because, even if we suppose that using a love potion does not mean the next step is automatically rape (Even though it’s clear to anyone that there is no other practial use for them) using a love potion is an inherently immoral and horrible thing to do to someone.
Don’t believe me? Let’s recap what love potions do.
Magically impairing someones ability to make rational decisions, instead adoring you to the point where they want nothing but to obey your commands.
Again, sound familiar? There’s something else in the Wizarding World that has that ability. Remember what it is?
The fucking Imperius Curse! You know, the curse that turns anyone you use it on into your slavish puppet!
A curse that is grouped together with two other curses, the Cruciatus Curse and Avada Kedavra, curses that torture and KILL, respectively. Collectively, they are known as the UNFORGIVABLE CURSES!
And what was the punishment for those, again?
The use of any one of them on a fellow human being is enough to earn a life sentence in Azkaban.
Tell me, what exactly is the difference between the Imperius curse and a love potion?!
The main, and as far as I can tell ONLY difference: love potions are openly for sale.
Going back to Romilda, you know where she got her love potion? She bought it from Fred and George. Fred and George owned a joke shop.
Not a dark, dimly lit cellar in Knockturn Alley. A fucking JOKE SHOP! Not only that, but they had a wide range of them!
Let’s be clear here. Using a love potion does not fall under “practical joke”. It’s the act of someone lacking a fundamental understanding of empathy or respect for other people and their basic human rights.
And when the potion wears off, their victims are not going to be “embarrassed over what they did“. They’re going to be fucking traumatized, and rightly so!
But hey, I suppose it’s different when it’s a potion and not a spell, right?
And in case you think that maybe there are limits to what you can force someone to do with love potions, let me remind you that Merope Gaunt used a love potion to (and there is not other word for it) enslave Tom Riddle Sr. and during that time, she became pregnant.
In other words, Voldemort was created by rape. In fact, J.K Rowling has even suggested part of the reason Voldemort lacks any kind of empathy, love or remorse is because he was conceived by coercion, not love.
And while Merope did stop drugging Tom Riddle, it wasn’t out of guilt or remorse, but hope that now having knocked her up, he would stick around out of obligation and duty.
Unsurprisingly, the moment the love potion wore off, he fucking ran away!
Because of course he did! What she did was about as fucking wrong as is humanly possible!
All of this brings me back to my original question.
How the fuck are love potions legal?!
There’s no sane reason for that! It’s not like them being illegal would change anything in the story, apart from Romilda being expelled and possibly sent to Azkaban. And if you don’t want Romilda to be expelled, here’s an idea.
Don’t make her an attemptive rapist, and maybe I’ll have some sympathy!
Love potions shouldn’t be something you buy from a shop, for a practical joke! They shouldn’t be considered on par with a fucking broomstick. They should be among the most illegal and controlled substances known to man, on account of them having the singular purpose to HELP YOU RAPE SOMEONE!
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for the time being.
Now, some people are complaining about how Hermione and Harry should have ended up together, and how the books might be rewritten to accommodate that.
Personally, if Rowling does the unlikely thing and rewrites the books, I don’t care if Ron, Hermione and Harry enter a three way civil union, as long as love potions are made illegal at the same time!