The Power of Fear in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" by J. K. Rowling

Essay by birdoCollege, UndergraduateC, December 2006

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Fear controls many lives. Sometimes people in power can use it to manipulate and control us. In a sense, it limits our freedom and keeps us from living life to the fullest. James VanHise a writer for a website with various articles on social opinions, writes, "Fear makes us the instruments of Power. When we are afraid, we obey" (1). In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Lord Voldemort represents fear itself. Harry, however, is able to confront his fears and deal with them face to face.

Fear gains more power over us when it is not actively acknowledged. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Lord Voldemort is thought to be dead however, he still holds great deal of power. An example of this is when the witches and wizards let this power affect them by not acknowledging it. Professor McGonagall, like most witches and wizards, has a hard time saying Voldemort's name:

"As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone -"

"My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name? All this "You-Know-Who" nonsense - for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort," Professor McGonagall flinched.


This shows that even after some belief that Voldemort is dead, the Wizarding community is still afraid to mention his name. This in some way can relate to the 9/11 attacks. It took a long time before the airline industry returned to normal and people were flying regularly again. By fearing more attacks people were not flying, and this had huge effects on the American economy. By making the American people afraid, the terrorists accomplished exactly what they set out to do. Fear can have a very controlling effect...