Harry Potter and the Prisoners of Collectivism

Mallory Ortberg has taken upon herself the task of imagining what the Harry Potter series of books might have turned out to be like if the idea had first occurred to Ayn Rand. She is taking each of the seven books in turn. Here is an excerpt of what Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban could have been at the hands of the famous proponent of the virtues of the free market, individualism, and selfishness.

“What was there to be gained by fighting the most evil wizard who has ever existed?” said Black, with a terrible fury in his face. “Only innocent lives, Peter!”

“You don’t understand!” whined Pettigrew. “He would have killed me, Sirius!”


“Actually,” said Harry, pocketing his e-cigarette, “Peter’s pursuit of rational self-interest is of a higher moral order than your determination to kill yourself on another person’s behalf, Sirius. Self-sacrifice is never the answer; it ends only in pain and death.”

Sirius blanched. “But Voldemort — we could have stopped Voldemort.”

“It’s a free market,” Harry said, shrugging.

Lupin turned into a wolf.

“Control yourself,” Harry said. “Good lord, man, you’re a being of pure will and drive. Exercise it.”

Lupin turned back into a man with flashing, clear eyes and a jaw that could level a mid-sized office building.

“In the marketplace of ideas,” Harry went on, “Voldemort has the same right to disseminate his philosophy as you do. If his philosophy is sound, it will flourish. If his philosophy is unsound, you have nothing to fear.”

The whole thing is pretty funny and there are links to parodies of the other books too.


  1. richardrobinson says

    But in Rand’s novels, only the heroes are allowed to be determined and decisive. If Lupin disagrees with Potter, he should be sniveling like a bureaucrat or shifty like a crook.

  2. lorn says

    richardrobinson @ #3:

    Exactly, Rand’s protagonist are always the pillar of ‘will and drive’ while everyone else is either a sniveling idiot or, if they exhibit any will and agency, they are depicted as evil simply because they have failed to align themselves with the hero. It is all based upon a child’s view of others as both non-human and either purely for or against them.

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