At Hogwarts, one is not only in a Benthamian-like Panopticon; he or she finds themselves rather uncomfortable, as the students are in constant surveillance. While in the Benthamian concept one always knows the source of the look (he just doesn’t acknowledge the time, when he’s being watched),at Hogwarts nobody knows exactly, not only when – but who is watching. Of course, this results a paranoiac state in which the students are deluded, thanks to the ghosts, poltegreists and dead souls from numerous paintings. The question is whether these multiplied sources of surveillance (looks) can serve as the Gaze of the Other?
In the Benthamian case, one always knows the source of the authoritarian look, even if he is not being seen, he will construct one. In the world of Hogwarts you never know who/when/why you are being watched, which is the perfect, almost ideal example of a dystopian totalitarianism, for instance.
This magical power is what makes the institution of the school a wizard school. But there is an even more problematic dimension of Harry Potter. It seems that Harry cannot enter the Symbolic Order properly, as his parents were murdered by Voldemort. There are two approaches we should consider here:
1, Harry does NOT enter the Symbolicin the classical sense , as he couldn’t have a resolution of Oedipal conflicts preoperly. The resolution of the Oedipal complex, being a passage that marks the way of the subject’s from the Imaginary to the Symbolic, clearly lacks here;but it does not mean that it is not present, and here we go: a Lacanian paradox. It is present (in the form of Harry’s father’s ghost-Hamlet? ) because Harry can revive the ghost of his father to save himself from the evil forces (or whatever)which enables him to perceive the power relations that are there to resolve somehow the Oedipal conflict.
2, On the other hand Harry’s symbolic identification was there even before his birth. The story of the legendary Potters’ lingers in Hogwarts, everybody talks about the Potters’ with excitement; thus inscribing Harry to the phase, which Lacan described as the identification with the Ideal . Ideal, not literally, is the speech which a child hears about himself and thus incorporates, creating an unconscious kernel of insignia, a nucleus of his ego-Ideal. He identifies himself through this speech. This insignia of the Other is what constitutes Harry Potter, as the greatest wizard of all-time, blah-blah.., possibly overwriting his Ideal-ego. (what he thinks about himself in the beginning: a lousy kid, always being bullied, etc.)
to be continued….