Harry ‘Lame-Duck’ Potter

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes;
Directed by David Yates

The cinematic world of Harry Potter is sadly coming to an end.

But it is not yet RIP. We can sense that there is some big crescendo coming before all these colorful characters go into that good night. Frustratingly, we have to wait until next summer to witness that climax. That’s because the powers-that-be have split this coda into two installments. It feels like it has been placed on life support before it even got into the emergency room.


Or, more to the point, it’s like what we are witnessing in Congress’s lame-duck session following the November 2 elections — not much is happening, and it seems that the hard work is being pushed off until next year when the real battles can begin.

And it is this very sort of allegory that shows that the magical world of Harry Potter has not been so far removed from the world of our own. It will just be sad to lose all of the comparisons and metaphors. So, we had better take advantage of them now while we can. In that spirit, and in the tradition of many Politi-Flix columns of previous Harry Potter films, here is how Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 mirrors our own reality (Warning! The following contains spoilers):

Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
The Ministry of Magic is in lock-down given all the mischief of Lord Voldemort and his cohorts and Death Eaters
The Real World
See, e.g., the Transportation Security Administration’s body scans and “touching junk” to enhance security from evildoers on airplanes

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
The Muggle family members of wizards and witches are at risk given the ascension of Lord Voldemort and his ilk
The Real World
See, e.g., Democrats post-November 2 elections

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Hermione erases any evidence of her existence so as to protect her Muggle family
The Real World
See, e.g., Congress’s efforts to erase earmarks from all funding bills; see also Delaware Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell’s ad where she asserted that she’s not a witch

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Lord Voldemort gathers his minions around a large table to plot their takeover of the magical world
The Real World
See, e.g., Tea Party gatherings

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Lord Voldemort learns of Harry’s whereabouts from some secret source
The Real World
See, e.g., the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Lord Voldemort needs to borrow another wizard’s wand as his cannot defeat Harry with his own
The Real World
See, e.g., the creation of the Debt Commission to come up with spending cuts and tax increases since Congress cannot do this on its own

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Other wizards and witches impersonate Harry so that they can get Harry to safety
The Real World
See, e.g., people who have been claiming to be war veterans

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry and the other wizards and witches try and break through a blockade of enemy wizards and witches, and Death Eaters, as they race to safety
The Real World
See, e.g., the attempts of activists to break through the Gaza blockade

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry and his cohorts gather at the Weasley house—a secluded homestead surrounded by fields of tall grass and swamps
The Real World
See, e.g., the Palin’s installation of a tall fence so as to avoid the prying eyes of a journalist living next door who is writing a book about them

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
In spite of the danger swirling all around them, the wizards and witches decide to hold a wedding at the Weasley house
The Real World
See, e.g., the wedding of Prince William in England despite serious economic and climatological dangers occurring in that country

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
The Ministry of Magic has been taken over by Lord Voldemort’s cohorts
The Real World
See, e.g., the takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives by the GOP

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
A former member of the Ministry of Magic gives Harry, Ron and Hermione each a magical object to help them in their efforts per Professor Dumbledore’s will
The Real World
See, e.g., iPad, iPhone, and MacBook Air

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry, Ron and Hermione make their way to the London flat that housed members of the Order of the Phoenix where they reconnect with Harry’s servant Dobby and “torture” someone to learn of the location of one of Lord Voldemort’s horcruxes (where parts of his “soul” are housed)
The Real World
See, e.g., former President Bush’s memoirs where he again asserts that he did not consider the methods to extract information as torture

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry, Ron and Hermione impersonate other wizards and witches so as to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic
The Real World
See, e.g., the Russian spies who impersonated suburban middle class families

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry, Ron and Hermione learn that Lord Voldemort’s minions are ejecting wizards and witches who are not “pure” wizards and witches, but have Muggle blood (called “mudbloods”)
The Real World
See, e.g., Arizona’s immigration law

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry, Ron and Hermione flee the Ministry of Magic in a flash using a “teleporter” in a fireplace-like portal
The Real World
See, e.g., a transportation method that people wish they could use so as to avoid the TSA

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry captures one of the many Lord Voldemort horcruxes
The Real World
See, e.g., the expensive art taken from a museum in Paris

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry, Ron and Hermione travel to many diverse landscapes to stay hidden from Lord Voldemort and his minions
The Real World
See, e.g., Colton Harris-Moore, the Barefoot bandit (the young man who was able to elude police by hiding in forests of the Pacific Northwest and the Bahamas)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
The captured horcrux and its evil essence produces a bad mood in anyone who wears it
The Real World
See, e.g., the Wisconsin man who shot at his TV when Bristol Palin received enough viewer votes to advanced on “Dancing With the Stars”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Ron wears the horcrux and gets jealous of Harry and Hermione and leaves splitting up their group
The Real World
See, e.g., the dissolution of Levi Johnston’s engagement to Bristol Palin

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry and Hermione decipher one of Professor Dumbledore’s posthumous gifts to help suggest a location for another horcrux
The Real World
See, e.g., Kryptos, the sculpture/artwork at the CIA that contains codes to decipher, all but one of which has been cracked

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry and Hermione seek out the horcrux, but are surprised and thwarted by a giant snake
The Real World
See, e.g., the surprise opposition to the ratification of the START nuclear arms treaty with Russia

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Ron returns to rescue Harry who has fallen through the ice of a frozen lake and cannot resurface through the hole when trying to retrieve a sword that can help destroy the horcrux
The Real World
See, e.g., the efforts to rescue the Chilean miners through a narrow borehole

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry, Ron and Hermione travel to wizard Lovegood’s house and learn the story of the Deathly Hallows—which explains the power of three items that if possessed can make one invincible (items that Lord Voldemort is seeking)
The Real World
See, e.g., the three things that the GOP is seeking (majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, and the White House in 2012)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
The story of the Deathly Hallows is about how some people escaped death, but also found that impossible
The Real World
See, e.g., former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens post-Court confessional about why he thinks capital punishment is unconstitutional; see also the difficulties administering the death penalty due to the lack of the lethal drugs

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry, Ron and Hermione are eventually captured by Lord Voldemort’s henchmen; and Hermione hides Harry’s true identity by casting a spell that distorts his facial features
The Real World
See, e.g., the Barefoot Bandit’s eventual capture in the Bahamas; see also Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Bellatrix taunts Hermione for being a “mudblood” (not a pureblood witch)
The Real World
See, e.g., Delaware Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell’s taunts of candidate Chris Coons for not knowing the true language of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Lord Voldemort breaks open Professor Dumbledore’s tomb and takes his wand (one of the three items that are alluded to in the Deathly Hallows story that can make one invincible)
The Real World
See, e.g., WikiLeaks; see also stolen art

Doug Young is the magical film reviewer for The Colorado Statesman.