From the Harry Potter and the chamber of the secrets, the study will analyze the ethical dilemma in J. K. Rowling’s writing. In the book, the writer showed that how the Harry and Ron used the Ron’s father’s flying car illegally and unethically. Harry and Ron could wait for Ron’s parents to pick them up but instead, Ron used his father’s flying car to help Harry in his escape which could also bring Ron’s father in big trouble. This study will analyze this ethical dilemma of misuse of the flying car and will examine the situation by ethical theories.
K. Rowling, the writer of the book, started his writing by describing that how the Ron, Harry, and Ron’s two brothers helped Harry to escape by using Ron’s father flying car. Here the dilemma started because the flying car is, itself, an illegal object and then Ron and Harry used that flying car to escape out illegally. Ron and Harry wanted to leave for the Hogwarts on the train, but then they missed their train and decided to go to Hogwarts via flying car. Finally, Ron and Harry flew the car to Hogwarts. Ethically, Ron and Harry had done an illegal action which must be disliked by the people and in particular by the parents, but Ron’s parents did not give any strict response to Ron’s this action in the story (Walters, 2015).
Ethically the parents need to be very caring and responsible regarding their children’s actions. The books are always a learning source for the people and whoever read the book, gets any message from the reading. That is why the writers must keep in view that they must not support any unethical or illegal activity. Mr. Rowling has, no doubt, written a book which is liked by several people and is famous not only in children but also in adults. However, he has somewhere supported an unethical content. To maintain a fantasy as well as the fictional world, he somewhere emphasized the things so unethically. Ron and Harry are school students who must not be allowed to use the car and if they use it, then they must take permission from their parents and must not use it for any illegal or adventurous purpose. Mr. Rowling must have shown that Ron’s parents took strong action against Ron and Harry instead he showed that Ron’s mother reprimands him and Ron’s father showed a formal aggressive behavior. Instead of opposing such unethical activities, Rowling showed the adventure amusing for both, Harry and Ron.
What message has been conveyed with such readings? Should the children be allowed to do whatever they want to? Or should the children be allowed to use their parents’ stuff for their any adventurous purpose? However then at the Hogwarts, Harry, and Ron were slightly punished by their professor, McGonagall, who told them that they had illegally used Ron’s father car and this could cause expulsion. However, the punishment could not make them realize that they have done something wrong (Anony, 2016).
On the other hand, the flying car is not a normal car rather it has been designed by Ron’s father for some specific purpose. It is a magical car and is used for magical purposes. Ron’s father is in charge of the Ministry of Magic Department, and so he is supposed to monitor the witches who enchant the Muggle objects. Is it is a positive message to the society or a violation of rules? Will it give a positive impression on the readers to guide them the best way to violate the rule and then live normally? Simply, in this book, we have a person, Ron’s father, who must be responsible for enforcing a rule but instead, he violates it with great ease or with no compunction, and then he winks his son, Ron, for doing the same.
The story does not end here rather the Harry and Ron continued to violate the rules. Although the book is all about the fictional and adventurous world even then the writing must not contain any unethical content which can fantasize the children to attempt wrong things in reality. In the story, Harry and Ron also venture into the dark forest. The students of the schools were not allowed to go to the dark forest, but Harry and Ron not only violated the school rules but also the writer showed their this action as their adventure. Harry and Ron sneaked out of the Hogwarts by using their invisibility cloak and again violated the curfew. This content guides the children to violate their school rules and have shown this violation as entertaining adventure.
Moreover, Rowling should have shown that Harry and Ron violated the school rules and so they were caught in trouble and were punished so hard for it instead the story was different. Rowling showed that Harry and Ron not only violated the school rules but also violated the curfew and then entered into the chamber of secrets where they found the place full of dangers and got fame and rewards for being courageous and adventurous. None of Harry’s actions were punished. Does this mean that violating the school rules and facing the danger will lead the children towards success? So, why the school has made the rules? Why the children are being protected and cared and why not forced to go for an adventure in realities? The book is just based on imaginations, but somewhere it is developing disobedience in the children.
Moreover, Harry, Ron, and Hermione decided to break 50 school rules and got success in this, and finally, they were rewarded because of violating the school rules. Is this what we are guiding to our children? The evidence of their reward of breaking the rule is the statement of Professor Dumbledore in the book;
“Harry and Ron, the both, have broken the school rules and therefore they both receive rewards (Rowling, 2003).”
Also, according to the ethical theories, such as moral relativism, utilitarianism, and deontologist, the Harry and Ron have done unethical activities. According to the moral relativism, the children must take permission from their parents before doing anything or taking any decision. However, in this book, Ron and Harry along with Ron’s brothers used Ron’s father car without permission and also used that flying car for unethical purposes (Guy Axtell, 2016, p.209). This is totally against the moral relativist. According to the Utilitarianism, the power must be used in right way and must be for the benefits of the majority, but Ron and Harry changed their bodies into Crabbe and Goyle to find out if Malfoy knows anything about the Slytherin. Harry and Ron used this power for the wrong purpose because in this way they deceived the Slytherin who had a strong belief in his friend Crabbe and Goyle (Guy Axtell, 2016, p.206). Finally, according to deontologist, Harry and Ron also did wrong in flying Ron’s father car without permission. Harry and Ron were underage, and they should have waited for Ron’s parents, but they flew the car and broke the rules which were entirely wrong action (Guy Axtell, 2016, p.202).
From this study, it can be concluded that If the students are being rewarded for breaking the school rules then why do we guide them to be obedient and to follow the rule? The Rowling wants to convey the message that life is an adventure and the more the children will do adventures, the more they will be rewarded. However, the writers must keep in mind the ethics and moral values while writing any book. Harry and Ron were underage, and so they were not allowed to fly Ron’s father car. Moreover, school management always develops rules while keeping several things in sight and so the students must not be allowed to violate the rules.
Also according to the ethical theories, such as deontologist, the people must have a sense of right and wrong and so Harry and Ron should once think that either they are doing rights or wrong? The story was fictional, and so the adventures were interesting and the characters got the reward for their adventures, but the reality is quite different. In this world, the mistakes are never ignored, and children are innocent, so they have no idea how to protect themselves from the danger. Such books not only misguide the students but sometimes keep them into trouble too.
Anony. (2016). Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. HarryPotter Series Wiki.
Guy Axtell, A. B. (2016). ETHICAL REASONING AND ANALYSIS. RADFORD UNIVERSITY CORE HANDBOOK.
Rowling, J. K. (2003). Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. David Heyman.
Walters, T. L. (2015). Not So Magical: Issues with Racism, Classism, and Ideology in Harry Potter. NMU Master’s Theses