So I’ve been rereading the Harry Potter books lately (most of the way through Order of the Phoenix right now).
The fourth one, Goblet of Fire, is interesting in several spots.
Earlier on, there’s the Quidditch World Cup, with Ireland against Bulgaria. Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge is trying to communicate with the Bulgarian Minister of Magic, who doesn’t seem to be able to speak English, through silly pantomiming and whatnot. When the match is over, the Bulgarian Minister makes a comment, and Fudge is like “what? you do speak English?” and it turns out the Bulgarian Minister was just fucking with him the whole time for teh lulz.
Every time I read this part I find myself wondering, “So there’s the Bulgarian Minister of Magic. Where’s the Irish Minister of Magic? He or she would surely be there, too.”
Then I realize that Cornelius Fudge is probably Ireland’s Minister. In reality, Ireland is a separate country from the UK. But it seems in the Wizarding world, Ireland’s magical society is under the same jurisdiction as the UK’s.
Of course, when you think about it, it isn’t that weird that international borders in the Wizarding world might be drawn a bit differently. But interesting that the way it’s demonstrated is implying Ireland is not its own country.
A little later, delegations from two other magical schools arrive at Hogwarts. One is Durmstrang, which Dumbledore says is “to the north”, and if Hogwarts is in Scotland, I guess that school might be in Norway. Though the name of the school is a play off the German expression “sturm und drang” (storm and stress). Though the headmaster, Igor Karkaroff, is Russian. And one of the students, Viktor Krum, is Bulgarian.
The other is Beauxbatons, pretty clearly French. They moment they arrive at Hogwarts, they’re full of nothing but snooty complaints. When Fleur Delacour is chosen Triwizard Champion, the others literally fall into crying and tantrums.
And in the tournament itself, while Cedric, Harry, and Viktor are all doing well, Fleur is just terrible. Got attacked by grindylows. Though her failure in the maze was of course not her fault. At first, it feels sexist, that the only female champion is doing so badly. Then I remember that, no, her doing badly is not because she’s female. It’s because she’s French.
Between this and the Ireland thing…
Yes, yes, Rowling. We get it. You’re British. 😆