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Harry Potter is the OG nepotism baby

Nepotism babies have been part of Hollywood from the very beginning — but the character of Harry Potter shows that they're just as present in fiction

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter

As a fantasy movie franchise, the Harry Potter series isn’t afraid to take some liberties when it comes to realism and slice-of-life. After all, if you’re talking about a school full of witches and wizards, why would you need to worry about looking realistic?

But there’s one way the Harry Potter universe is more like the Muggle universe than it may care to admit, and that’s because Harry Potter is a big fat nepotism baby who has never had to work a day in his rotten life.

Yeah, yeah, he’s the ‘Chosen One,’ but if we put the silly little prophecy and the fact he lived in a cupboard for most of his childhood life aside, I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to say that throughout his time at Hogwarts, he rode his parents’ coattails more than he did that Nimbus 2000. Did you ever actually see him study once? There’s no way they didn’t fiddle his grades. Now, before you go to cancel me online, hear me out.

First of all, let’s define “nepotism babies.” Elle Australia defined nepotism as referring to “people who have gained power or influence from having relatives or friends who can offer them a leg up.” The privilege of nepotism comes in different forms and different intensities, but having hugely influential parents is nepotism at its most potent.

As Elle writer Diandra Alivini explained, the parents of nepotism babies have already done all the work of “establishing a name for themselves in the world,” which means that “connections and networking opportunities are at their children’s disposal, even if their offspring want to make it on their own.”

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Of course, you can’t necessarily help it if you’re born into nepotism. But if you lap up every droplet of opportunity from your upbringing like a parched hamster, it’s not exactly admirable. Looking back through the Harry Potter movies in order, the titular character does just that. Hence my beef with Harry Potter.

Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Let’s start with the Philosopher’s Stone. So, his parents end up leaving a nice little inheritance for him which he didn’t have access to in the Muggle world. Pretty scummy of the Dursleys to deny him of that, right? But then we get to the Hogwarts Express, where hundreds of nervous and probably starving children are travelling to a whole new school for the first time.

You might think that with all his money, Harry would offer out his peers a sandwich or two, but nah, he tells the trolley lady he’ll “take the lot,” because fuck the nutrition and low blood sugar of the rest of the school, right? At that point, he’d only been rich for five minutes, but privilege was already changing him — and it gets worse when he arrives at the school.

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The Sorting Hat put him in Slytherin because as an empath, he rightfully identified that Harry Potter has bad vibes, but the kid, emboldened by a school’s worth of sugar, decided that he’s too good to listen to them and that he can go into Gryffindor if he wants to because he said so. And since the Sorting Hat knows about his parents he’s like “okay, fine.”

Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

So, Potter skips along to Gryffindor, while the rest of the Slytherin kids are stuck with their house and the social alienation that comes with it. Without a legendary family, they’re in no position to negotiate and bargain in the same way Harry does.

And then we have Quidditch. First years are not allowed to play Quidditch, at Hogwarts, and given its an established sport with a lot of danger involved, you’d think that there would be a lot of trials and try-outs involved if you wanted to be a member of the team. Not for Harry ‘my dad played Quidditch too’ Potter. The problem is, we see here that professors are part of the problem and coddle/nurture Harry’s ever-expanding head rather than doing the responsible thing and treating him like everyone else.

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Not only does McGonagall have a “special word” and allow a first year onto the Quidditch team despite the rules, but she also decided it on the basis of him catching a Remember all during class because he can’t stand not being the centre of attention for five minutes and just had to make a scene.

Again, this kid was raised by Muggles, so has never even seen a Quidditch game in his life, let alone played one, so you can’t tell me that Daddy James being so good at Quidditch didn’t factor into McGonagall’s decision. And on top of that, should it even be her decision? Should he not try out like every other member of the team? Nope, because the true magic here is nepotism.

Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The icing on the cake is the fact that he even gets a Nimbus 2000 paid for by the school despite the fact that he can clearly afford one himself. And what makes it worse is that they don’t even get one for the whole team — just for him. 

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Imagine being a third or fourth year painstakingly training to be a Seeker, year in year out, and you think to yourself that this is finally the year you’ll make the team, only for some eleven-year-old who has never even played it before to get the position instead. Personally, I wouldn’t let that slide.

He’s also a consistent rule-breaker at the school, from lateness, to skipping classes, sneaking out, and beating up trolls in the bathroom. But does he ever get punished? Does he fuck. Instead, they all give points to Gryffindor for every time Harry Potter farts and rig the House Cup each year because Dumbledore doesn’t like Slytherin.

Most of Harry’s nepotism-based crimes are established in the first adventure movie, but they’re patterns that continue throughout the franchise and set him up for other moments of sheer arrogance. Why else would people assume that he was the kind of person to put his name in the Goblet of Fire? Why else would Slughorn invite him to his nepo baby soirees? The only one who saw through Harry’s shit and committed the crime of treating him like every other student was Snape, and we’re supposed to see him as the villain for that? I don’t think so.

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You might disagree, but I completely understand why Ron would be sick of Harry’s shit by the Goblet of Fire. The man treats attention as oxygen, and even his arch nemesis, Voldemort, fits his attempts to kill Harry round his study schedule because, God forbid, Harry misses out on any ego stroking through the academic year.

All the Harry Potter movies are available on Amazon Prime Video. You can sign up for Prime Video here.