Dr Liz Gordon – Todd Muller and the chamber of secrets


We have learned a lot about Todd Muller (who, like you, I had never heard of a week ago) in the past few days. He is a quiet man and a high achiever in his own way.  Actually, he reminds me of David Shearer, who quietly headed the Labour Party a few years ago, before quietly slipping off back to war-torn Sudan, which he apparently found far preferable and much easier than the corridors of power.  Each to their own.

The boy Todd Muller had been at Hogwarts for a number of years but always sat quietly at the table and passed the salt when asked.  He was a pleasant boy, if slightly bland. The girls all liked him for his kindness.

But he had a breaking point.  It came when the head Slytherinian, Simon Bridges, did some things that were so yucky that even the Slytherins turned against him.

Muller put aside his rice pudding and had a bit of a think.

So he promised the members of Slytherin house that there would be no more nastiness.  That Slytherin would regain its popularity not by its trademark nasties but by being good and fair.  All nasties would be banished under the desk and kept hidden.

Hypnotised by this novel approach, the takeover of Slytherin occurred.  All the little Slythers clapped their hands like mad and made faces at the Gryffindors, where Hermione Ardern was the most popular girl in the school.  She gave them a little wave and then ignored them. She had more important things on her mind.

Meanwhile, back in the Great Hall, the Slytherin Ghost (known as the Bloody Baron Seymour) stepped up his haunting.  He estimated that Muller’s intervention would cause all the nasties to flee from the Slytherins and seek refuge with he-who-shall-not-be-named in the ACTic

All of this was grist to the mill for the Baron, who has long laboured to raise his own army on the right flank, but for whom the pickings have been sparse. All for one and one for all, he cried, thinking that he might get two others to fight in his corner come the day. 

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Meanwhile, Bridges and his loyal deputy, Bennett, planned revenge on the mild-mannered marauder from across the corridor. He is nice, they said, in damning terms, as if there is nothing worse in the whole of Hogwarts. But as they said it, they were very disappointed and began to think about leaving school at the end of term.

Muller has promised the slightly puzzled men (and a few women) of Slytherin that he can save their places at the table (at least some of them). They believe him because they do not know what else to do. Some unkind people started calling him ‘a loaf of stale white bread’, but he points out quite logically that it is Bridges who is toast.

Meanwhile Gryffindor House goes from strength to strength.  They are touted as the ones who had driven the Dark Lord from their doors by good and enlightened management. They were contrasted with the Bolsonaros who had let the forces of darkness roam free in the streets, causing death and misery.  They were contrasted with the Trumps and Borises who said things like “be alert” but no longer wanted to protect the people.  

And the people were scared and wary of venturing out, lest they be caught. And another week in the life of the lockdown at Hogwarts Schools has passed – a particularly eventful one.

Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society.  She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.


  1. Interesting body language and positioning from Collins. Anyone would think she’s just been made Deputy.

  2. She’s probably surveying the best angles and positions for the slinging of mud, muck, & filth,along with arrows, darts and knives before organizing a full frontal attack if business with the PRC doesn’t resume immediately!

  3. Harry Potter novels have been cast as basically about the great task of humans of discovering what is good and what is evil. Harry is influenced by evil which entered his life when he was very young. The confusing world and educational establishment he goes to, is balanced by good people in his background although his parents are dead, and he is under the control of valueless relatives. His friendships are with people who wish to be on the good side, but he must make his way through a tumultuous period that tries him to the utmost, as much as any resistance fighter that I read about from WW2.

    NZ can be likened to Hogwarts. We need to test our minds and thinking regularly with a Sorting Hat, to see if we are listening to the people who are in the best House to ensure that they and we, follow the best wisdom.

  4. What a wonderful photo for body language interpreters. Does the awkward diffidence come from the strangeness of physical distancing, which we all feel, or are they uncomfortable to be revealed as plotters?

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