Over the past few months, the world has been seized with anxiety and panic over the coronavirus pandemic. Despite all efforts, it is still far from defeated in every country in the world. In particular, the situation in America has recently worsened as people sacrificed their security for justice. It is quite possible to understand them: the more terrible and incomprehensible the situation is, the more unusual or unreasonable things they tend to do. Also, as King remarks, people turn to cope with their fears by watching horror films and “daring a nightmare” (1). In my opinion, dementors – characters of J.K. Rowling’s books about Harry Potter – represent a fitting image for the current situation. It is so because a dementor can appear at any moment and harm people without a rational cause, as well as the virus. In addition, these monsters remind one of his or her strongest fears: the loss of loved ones, death, and obscurity of the future. Thus, a dementor would be a good symbol of today’s coronavirus anxiety due to its ability to suck the happiness out of a person without any reason or warning.
It is important to discuss why monsters, including dementors, play a critical role in human culture. Firstly, books and films with them are necessary “to show that we can, that we are not afraid, that we can ride this roller coaster” (King 1). People want to prove their courage to others and, most importantly, to themselves. Nevertheless, they are still “ultimately vulnerable” to their “fates and our nightmares” (del Toro & Hogan). Thus, interaction with monsters only proves the inevitability of disasters. At the same time, such fatality has never prevented heroes from fighting monsters and attempting to eradicate them. It has always been like positive book and movie characters to oppose terrible monsters to protect family, friends, or even unfamiliar weak individuals who have found themselves in a dangerous situation. Literature and cinematography are the genres of entertainment where monsters are most frequently depicted. Every culture has its typical villains reflected in films, books, comic books, and toys. However, the coronavirus pandemic has united all nations of the world, making it necessary to come up with a unanimous representation of this monstrous virus.
At present, humanity is facing a hazardous coronavirus monster, which is incomprehensible and, hence, terrifying. People do not know where and how they can become infected and how hard it will be to endure this interaction. Everyone tries to stay in familiar places (at home) so as not to meet the monster and become the next victim. People avoid going out, meeting with their friends, or even taking walks in open spaces because no one is sure how the disease can reach them and trap them in its filthy and menacing hands. In this respect, one can say that people’s behaviors have altered, as well as their attitudes toward monsters. One cannot be quite sure that a hero will come at the last minute: precaution has become the best solution.
Due to the severity of the current situation in the world, dementors seem to be the most suitable monsters to metaphorize the virus. These creatures appear unnoticed and take on a particular shape for each individual (Rowling n.p.). Dementors are “among the foulest creatures that walk this earth,” they “infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them” (“Dementor”). These monsters suck out every single moment of joy from one’s body and soul. What is the scariest is that dementors can “reduce” their victims to something like themselves – “soulless and evil” (“Dementors”). This description can be easily transferred to those affected by the coronavirus. There have been cases reported when a person became infected despite all the precautions and without leaving one’s home – which reminds of dementors’ ability to get into any place, even the most distant and protected. People who become infected lose the taste for life and are utterly unhappy since they are literally between life and death, not knowing what is to become of them or their loved ones.
Finally, when one has coronavirus, he or she becomes scary for others – just like those affected by dementors are. When someone is at a hospital, his or her relatives become the objects of discussion and sometimes even experience antipathy from familiar people. Even upon returning from hospitals, individuals who have been treated for COVID may face an unpleasant attitude from neighbors. As well as dementors, coronavirus makes individuals feel unprotected, which leads to unnecessary and unjustified splashes of anger, hatred, and misery.
Due to the ubiquity of the monster, people around the world are scared and confused. Hardly anyone can deal with dementors, which only exacerbates anxieties and fears. Individuals should keep learning how to avoid this danger and cope with the monster. There are some ‘good wizards,’ such as doctors, nurses, and volunteers, who do their best to fight the monster. However, unfortunately, the powers are uneven, and these noble heroes too often become defeated by the monster themselves.
The comparison of coronavirus to a dementor is a rather suitable metaphor since these negative creatures have much in common. The virus, as well as dementors, sucks out happiness and damages an individual for the rest of his or her life even if they are lucky not to die upon meeting the monster. However, just like in the case with dementors, humanity has the hope for a better future, where good wizards represented by medical workers and volunteers will eventually defeat the monstrous creature and allow it to remain only in book pages and movie scenes.
Del Toro, Guillermo, and Chuck Hogan. “Why Vampires Never Die.” The New York Times, 2009, Web.
“Dementor.”Harry Potter Wiki, n.d., 2020. Web.
King, Stephen. Why We Crave Horror Movies. N.d., 2020. Web.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.