I consider that, in years to come, this particular phrase will be discussed and dissected by people more educated than I, and will (if Potterfiction stays as popular) be considered to be one of the greatest literary lies ever. For me it ranks along with "All animals are created equal" and will – just as that phrase was shown to be a nonsense –lose any credibility it has.
For this discussion, I'm using the book only. Not chats or filler information about things that Jo knows.
There's so much wrong with the assertion that all is well I hardly know where to start. But start we must.
What has changed here? Anything? It sure doesn't look like it.
So I'm assuming that House Elves are still enslaved by wizards, Goblins are still uneasy about wizard ownership of Goblin-made treasures, the Centaurs are still being ignored and shoved into reservations. Werewolves are dangerous three days a month, there is a potion available to remove their threat, but instead they are still being treated as animals. Look how relieved everyone is that Teddy isn't a werewolf. Giants have been fighting with Voldemort, so THEY aren't likely to be forgiven for that.
Wizards then, have learned nothing about treating the other sentient races with any more respect - or, yanno, as EQUALS. This is more wrong when you look at the fact that it's quite likely that most of these races are older than humans, so to the sentient races, Britain is no better than America or Australia when it comes to infiltration and assimilation. I'm not completely surprised about this, though - although I'm disgusted - because the Last Stand was so...insular. I wrote a drabble a few years back concerning the Last Battle, and I completely over-estimated its size and grandeur. I imagined that every wizard and witch who had ever loved Hogwarts would come rushing to aid - imagine one curse screamed by a thousand throats? But it was literally - what? twenty or so adults and perhaps a hundred kids. Yeah. Right. Oh - and some desks.
So, keeping the whole thing so very secret like this (I would imagine that no-one even knew about it outside Hogsmeade until it was all over) there was no reason to change anything. Why should they? There's nothing wrong with the society is there? Carry on as normal. Lets just ignore people like Umbridge who didn't have to be evil to start ethnic cleansing, or Runcorn who will probably only say he was "obeying orders." Somehow it seems more important to introduce Harry Potter: The Next Generation, than to reassure us that all is, actually, well.
There will still be the Wizengamot. There will still be the right of imprisonment without trial. There will still be the right of execution without trial. There will be no "right to remain silent" as it's so easy to force the "accused" to speak against their will.
The place is still a self-obsessed, blinkered "oligarchy" where cleverness might be the traits that they once sought in their leaders, but the leaders have been weaker and weaker until Fudge. Kingsley is a hopeful force, but I still think he's too tied to The Order of the Phoenix (and consequently DD's apron strings and portraits to be making any of his own decisions. What's the betting that there's a portrait of D in the Minister of Magic's office?
So no. No change there it seems.
Surely there will be changes here? I looked towards the much advertised Epilogue with hopeful eyes. Lessons must have been learned, I thought. But … What do I see? The Sorting continues. It was inconceivable! I think this shocked me more than a lot of other things I read. The Sorting Hat CLEARLY says more than once, as we are told, that he considers the Sorting to be wrong, and for an artifact to advocate its own redundance means it really must have meant it. So why is no-one taking any notice?
I blame Minerva more a little in this instance. She was never a pro-active deputy head, never believed much of anything Harry said, didn't like to act without Dumbledore's presence or authorisation. I can see that she would never be the type of headmistress who would be brave enough to overturn 1000 years of tradition. But frankly it NEEDS it.
How can Slytherin ever regain their face? Not only were there many children (now all grown ups and presumably sending children of their own to the school) of Death Eaters in the House, but the misconception that they refused to fight against Voldemort will remain in the consciousness of the Wizarding World. When the lists of the dead and the fighters were named in the newspapers after fight - or when a memorial was raised at Hogwarts for the dead - there will be no Slytherins, and that will be a daily slap in the face for the House. Enough perhaps to lead to further dissent. Minerva did completely the wrong thing by throwing the entire House out without 1. Asking if anyone would like to stay (where's the redemption, Jo?) or 2) even checking with Slughorn - who did stay himself.
So, everything's still the same. There's pre-conceptions of house traits, there's bullying and there's "Gryffindor is best" still in the minds of our older and newer generation.
Not only is the Sorting still in place but the prejudice that goes hand in fist with the Sorting is still clear and present - even in so-called "liberal" families like the Weasleys. "If you're not in Gryffindor, we'll disinherit you, but no pressure" says Ron to his child. JKR shows clearly with this one sentence that she remembers nothing about being a child - or that she was never actually bullied at school. I tend to think this because of all the so-called "japes" of the Weasleys which are never described as bullying, but which clearly are. Apparently for JKR, bullying is only "bad" when done by the Slytherins. Whereas I (as a bullied child) recognise it very clearly in ALL of the other houses, particularly the ostricisation of Harry whenever they suspected him of foul play.
A New Dark Lord – or worse?
It's 19 years later and OMG are the conditions ripe for new trouble. Young Scorpius doesn't really stand a chance of being a good guy, does he? There'll be so much resentment in the Malfoy house. We never hear what happens to Lucius but I can't see how he stayed out of prison, money or no money. Draco probably had to take over the reins of his family too young, and his own sense of self-worth will be forever coloured by a boy who failed to do anything but offer himself as a sacrifice and then fail to die. I hardly see him telling Scorpius that it doesn't matter what House HE'S in, can you?
I found it interesting that Harry's kids didn't know the family history. Won't that be interesting for James or Albus or Lily to find out? You know what kids are like: WHY didn't he tell us? WHY does he like James/Albus more than me? WHY can't I go to Hogwarts when the BOYS can? What's all this about a wand, anyway?
But I see more trouble than a New Dark Lord. With their spectacular blinkered behaviour, failure to address any of the rottenness at the core of their own society, wizards are fated to continue to reap the rewards of their own idiocy, over and over again until someone with the balls to take charge, rips aside the faux-Victorian hypocrisy, and drives a fresh liberal wind through their world. Unless they do I can see major problems with the Sentient creatures, and I think that the next revolution that comes will drive from that direction, because there are - as far as I can see - far more creatures out there than there are wizards and I would imagine they are very very sick of being treated as third class citizens, kept down, CONTROLLED.
"All was well" - Fairly obviously not. But let's be honest, who is thinking this? Yes, Harry. Harry who has shown that empathy begins with an M and that nothing matters in the world, if it's not directly affecting him. He has the nuclear family, and a recreation of everything that he's lost or thinks he's lost. He can stay in the cocoon of his own making, and he doesn't have to think about the bigger issues. Of course - All Is Well for one selfish little toad. It always will be.
So - what do you think? There's a great many more reasons why I think All Isn't Well, but I'd like to hear some of yours.