Potterwatch: How the Dank Lord Defeated the Dark Lord

potter memeee.JPG
images: 1 2 3 4  (glitcher)

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a magic radio station called ‘Potterwatch’ played a pivotal role in the defeat of Lord Voldemort. Hosted by Lee Jordan (that Gryffindor bloke with dreads who commentated Hogwarts quidditch matches), the program allowed users all over the wizarding world to tune in and contribute, to recognise and discuss issues which arose in the face of Voldemort’s supremacy. Speakers included students, ministry workers (let’s liken those to government officials for all you muggles reading this), professors and members of the Order of the Phoenix (a secret underground society fighting against Voldemort’s reign). This station built a strong following and movement against issues such as:

  • the plight for muggle-born equality, which equates to racism in this metaphor I still haven’t broken away from; and
  • the murders and torture of those discriminated against;

and it ultimately aided in the demise of Lord Voldemort. It gave confidence to followers and increased their numbers and power. It disseminated information and allowed nodes to connect. Potterwatch reported information which was censored by the Ministry of Magic and allowed communication between wizards on the run (nodes).

If we step out of J.K. Rowling’s pages we can apply this sick metaphor to the real world. Real-world revolutions have been sparked by social media. These movements are sparked by people who want to be heard. The internet is dialogic by design, as is Potterwatch to an extent. A radio is mostly monologic in design, but Potterwatch is a station which still presents characteristics of social media revolutions today. The dialogic internet allows for communication to occur on a mass-scale between nodes, a ‘many to many’ model as opposed to a ‘one to many’ model. It allows for such feats as speedy mobilisation, mass-involvement and reach and scalable openness. Everyone has access and everyone can be accessed. Everyone can join a movement. Let’s look at the case of Khaled Saeed in Egypt. In 2010 he was beaten to death by government officials. Images of his dead, tortured corpse were leaked online, which incited the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. Much of this incitement was born from a Facebook group, We are All Khaled Saeed.

Outside of the Hogwarts microcosm we can see that social media has become a weapon of unprecedented power in protesting. The key to this feat is connectivity; the ability for people (nodes) all over the planet to reach one another via social media. One resistance tweet is powerless; it is the force of many that sparks a revolution. It effectively transforms and coordinates restless people into active nodes with one collectively powerful voice; we are all peripheries, we are a human re-enactment of the network society paradigm.






11 thoughts on “Potterwatch: How the Dank Lord Defeated the Dark Lord

  1. This is an amazing post!! You really caught my attention with the use of Harry Potter and the metaphor that came along with it, really creative!
    It is crazy how the platforms we use to let people know how are day is going can in fact be our way in to make a change and provide support to those in need. To think if social media wasn’t around would these revolutions ever have come about or would they have not reach the same extent to what they have today. This forbes article puts into perspective the magnitude of social media on these revolutions and how they have changed since social media was introduced http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2014/01/18/if-you-doubt-that-social-media-has-changed-the-world-take-a-look-at-ukraine/#17f54ace699d

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing that source. It’s interesting to think about pre-social media revolutions; I think the key lies in the whistleblowing, for example if the image of Saeed’s head had not been shared online, fewer people would’ve been outraged and the 2011 Egyptian Revolution may not have been as successful as it was.
      – Claire xD


  2. Hi Claire

    You made an outstanding metaphor linking the use of social media in the real world to Potterwatch. Although these two hugely differs in term of one is in the real world and one is an imaginative product, they are both informal communication channel which empowered people who are restrained by mainstream media. The essential thing that enables these informal channels to be successful is they are available to everyone with no entry fees, which empower ones that are not empowered and then form connectivity, which equals power.
    My only recommendation is that in the Harry Potter example, you mentioned the engagement of various types of social class from students to professors so maybe you should include such detail of a real life example to justify the fact that social media are able to gather people with different backgrounds.
    This source provides the example of Hong Kong’s Umbrella revolution which fits in the context and also says how different social classes of Hong Kong have gathered together in the protest, which I think you might take a look: https://storify.com/aperot2/the-umbrella-revolution-how-social-media-fueled-th.

    Great work. Keep it up !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, thanks for your feedback, that source was really interesting and I’ll be sure to explore the social class aspects of examples, thanks for the suggestion!
      – Claire 🙂


  3. Love the use of Harry potter in conveying the idea of the topic. The example of how Potterwatch contributed to the demise of Voldemort is perfect in expressing how platforms can influence movements, which in real life have evidently been ongoing for years with many protests and movements. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I agree great parallel – it got me thinking. I would love to see if governments or corporations that can profit through the overthrow of regimes, use this idea of using civil unrest to create fire where there is smoke. Given that people online are essentially faceless, it would be just as easy to misinform, as to inform… So much to unpack here.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. With the use of Potter in your title, you do not only capture the attention of your fellows but also Potterheads. It is great to link virtual activism in virtual world with that in real life. I have never thought of Harry Potter Alliance as digital activism, but your post got me thinking. The more I dig into, the more I find how activism in Rowling’s world and our world are related. What is more interesting, “Harry Potter” doesn’t describe it exactly but also become an inspiration for real social activism

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the fact that you linked this to Harry Potter, which got my attention. Great, well written blog post and awesome meme. You could discuss the real world, social media activism a bit more to improve the post.

    Liked by 1 person

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