Harry Potter and Osama-Obama: Myth and Reality in the War on Terror

I wasn’t going to blog about Osama bin Laden’s death. Not only because I’m not very political, and I don’t actually care much if Osama is alive or dead, but also because (due to an innate distrust of the American government) I can’t help feeling that this is a new media scam to drum up Obama support (you killed him but then dumped his body in the sea? Really?). Even if pictures of dead Obama with a bullet hole above his eye do turn up, they’ll be just as prone to disbelief as the Birth Certificate Obama finally released.


I don’t care if Obama is an American citizen or an Obama-killing hero; the point is how can we trust what the government says is happening after years of deliberate misdirection, manipulation and man-handling. But I digress.

Like I said, I’m not very political. What does interest me, is the recent post in The Hollywood Reporter titled “Eerie links between Harry Potter and Osama Bin Laden.” While shocking, the title is also misleading. The article goes on to explain that the Hunt for Osama and the War on Terror are a little like Harry Potter’s quest for, battle with and final triumph over Voldemort, which happens in the 7th book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

The article further reflects that Harry Potter fans, who have been living with both the progress of the Harry Potter series and the War on Terror (the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was released in November 2001, just months after 9/11) are bound to draw comparisons between them.

And since the last movie is coming out this summer, in which Voldemort is defeated, Osama could hardly have been killed at a better time, commercially speaking. Will movie-goers celebrate Harry Potter/Obama’s victory over evil as literary/historical achievements of good over evil?

The Hollywood Reporter references a 2004 post on mugglenet.com linking Al Qaeda with the Death Eaters – and there certainly are similarities. There’s also the astounding coincidence that Osama and Voldemort both died on the same day, May 1 (although true Potter fans will point out that in the books’ chronology the date is really May 2).

osama obama harry potter

One thing the parallel ignores is that Osama bin Laden was not “evil” or even “atheistic” – he was a profoundly spiritual believer who thought he was acting in accordance with God’s will, and his loyal followers likewise believed in, killed and died for, their passionate religious beliefs. Voldemort worships no other deity other than himself. (Note: I mean “evil” in the sense of absolutely, categorically evil. If you’re on the other side of the fence, i.e. Iraq or any country that the USA has harshly raped with violence and abuse, then the “evil” shoe will be on the other foot).

Further, the mugglenet post ends by admitting that there is NO correlation to Harry Potter himself in this reading of political events:

Harry = … ??
I had to throw this in because I knew it would be the one comparison everyone would want to see: who is Harry Potter in Our World? The fact is, I don’t think there is one. Harry will be the true savior of all humanity at the end of Book 7, and I hope and pray we do not need one too. I hope things never get that bad.

The author then makes the rather lame attempt to link Harry with Jo Rowling. Since this Osama-Harry connection has been reforged with the death of Bin Laden, and since such a reading is basically invalidated by not being able to situate the main character, let’s press forward.

Is Obama Harry Potter?

Where is the hero who single handedly has the power to defeat darkness? Who was prophesied, has magical powers, and a crucial weapon that he alone can wield? There isn’t one – unless we take Obama, as the media is making him out to be, as a leader with a private mission to take down Osama down at all costs. Obama has even, like Harry, been referred to as “The Chosen One”. Obama and Osama even sound alike, which makes a yin-yang reading of these two polarities annoyingly simple.

But then, if we focus on the religious associations in line with Bush’s original War on Evil, which pinned terrorists as demons and Osama as Satan himself, shouldn’t we argue that Jesus or God is the real hero? Is there a theological reading of Osama’s death?

To put it bluntly, no. God was busy destroying the south with tornadoes while Obama’s special forces were breaking into Osama’s HQ – which means that God doesn’t take sides in our political garbage, and will continue unleashing his arbitrarily wrath wherever he pleases.

Here are some resources if you want to know whether God is happy about Osama’s death:

Something else that caught my eye recently was one article that said, “For too long the face of Bin Laden has been the face associated with the Middle East. It isn’t any longer; now it’s the young revolutionaries in Egypt and Libya.” Which is awesome – except that the image I have right now of those Egyptian revolutionaries is that they are the guys who have been busy sexually abusing reporter Lara Logan and stealing all the Egyptian treasures they can carry from the now unprotected museums.

Conclusion: Reading too much into the long overdue death of bin Laden, “celebrating the victory of Good over Evil” etc. is nonsense. What really matters is whether people of the world are better off, develop into kinder individuals, or learn to get along.

I think they won’t. But I also predict that everybody, regardless of their opinions and beliefs, will spend an excited couple of hours in the movie theater this summer enjoying Deathly Hallows Part II.