Tilda Swinton Criticises Harry Potter For Romanticising Boarding Schools

Tilda Swinton Criticises Harry Potter For Romanticising Boarding Schools

The boarding school is a staple of young adult literature, mainly because adventures are much easier to find when parents are nowhere to be found. Plus, all the emotion of being away from home and having to negotiate a while new environment is baked into the set-up. And you can have your protagonists together 24/7. Well, Tilda Swinton isn’t having it.

Image: Marvel

Talking to Scots Magazine, Swinton mentioned that her time in a boarding school was less than positive. Actually, she called it “hell” and “a very lonely and isolating environment”. And apparently she does not like Harry Potter for seeing it differently. She told the magazine:

That’s why I dislike films like Harry Potter which tend to romanticize such places. I think they are a very cruel setting in which to grow up and I don’t feel children benefit from that type of education. Children need their parents and the love parents can provide.

You know, I’m not sure Harry Potter does romanticise boarding schools, what with Dumbledore being a shockingly lax headmaster when it comes to students nearly dying. And the school’s tendency to suffer massive calamities. And the evil teachers. Really, Hogwarts comes off as much scarier than being home with your parents.

This story originally appeared on Gizmodo


  • apparently she does not like Harry Potter for seeing it differently.
    This is the problem with a lot of people. They don’t like things because it doesn’t agree with their view of the world. Get over it. It’s a magical wizard school. It’s not real.

    • No offence man but your reply is also a big part of the problem. If someone has a different view from you, saying things like “this is a problem with a lot of people, get over it” does nothing to change their views. If anything it just puts you both on the wrong foot.

      • I’m just saying that people shouldn’t criticise things because they’re different.If you’re going to criticise Harry Potter, do it on it’s own merits. Don’t criticise it because it doesn’t replicate your experiences at a boarding school.

        • That’s cool man. But you started your post with “This is the problem with a lot of people.” That’s a very divisive term that immediately starts an ‘us and them’ situation.

          Once you go down the road of ‘people are the problem’ you kinda paint yourself into the corner. Of course other people are the problem. They’re also the solution. Lots of people are arseholes. But lots of people are great too. It’s very unfair to call out entire groups of people. Everyone’s an individual with their own experiences.

          But anyway. I’ve made my point. It’s all good man.

        • I say people should be better informed before commenting.

          There is substantial evidence supporting the idea that boarding schools may be harmful to children, part of it directly related to Tilda’s comments about the absence of parents. The presence of primary caregivers has a causal relationship to healthier emotional, physical and psychological development.

          You disagreed with her because you didn’t like what she said. All you demonstrated was hypocrisy. You didn’t even read the article, or pay attention to the quote.

          And frankly the author of this completely missed the point as well. She made it about Harry Potter, when the comment was not about it at all.

          It’s called grammar, it seems boring, but it’s important to actually understand what a person’s intent is.

          “Like Harry Potter” is an example, but the primary subject is the romanticisation of Boarding Schools. Harry Potter is an incidental example that people will recognise for its prominence. It’s not talked about, discussed, or otherwise labelled as the specific culprit.

          The headline is “Tilda Swinton criticises romanticising boarding schools”, but accurately representing her comments are boring, amirite?

  • I totally emphatize with her statement. Those were my exact sentiments when I was in boarding school in my teens. That said, I have to admit it was partly my fault for letting myself slip into that situation. I could see other classmates enjoying boarding school like Harry Potter did.

  • Is it worth pointing out that Harry’s home life with his “guardians” was wholly based on mental abuse?
    There are many children facing this kind of life so it might appear to them that a boarding school is little short of paradise. It’s about perspective, and I feel Tilda is welcome to her opinion but it ignores others and bases a whole truth on personal anecdote.

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