Explain plz. In detail and at length.
As you wish!
So two kind of starting points for my musings:
1) The idea of the “mediatization of religion” is pretty much what it sounds like - that religion adapts itself to media techniques. This can be seen with televangelists in the 1980s and with the rise of social media use by churches now. But it also relates to the way religion - shaped by the media - has become more personal, individualized and commercial. You pick and choose what you want to be your religion - from traditional sources like church, from new agey/self helpy type stuff, and I would argue also from popular culture.
2) This theory (the mediatization of religion one) recognizes something called “banal religion,” which is basically superstitions, practices, emotions, etc. that reference the spiritual/supernatural but aren’t formal or institutional in the same way as typical religion. An example might be knocking on wood to avoid jinxing something.
OK SO that was a long starting point sorry. The gist is that religious content gets into and is shaped by the media, that we pick and choose from it because it’s highly individualizable, and that these things can be expressed in sort of day-to-day beliefs, practices, etc. and are still worth calling religious.
So Harry Potter is full of religious themes, right? Resurrection, the redeeming power of love, life after death.
The houses aren’t so religious in that sense, but they’re definitely about morality, and I think it’s FASCINATING that they’ve given us (people who grew up with the books) a whole new language in which to talk about morality. Those endless meta debates about whether slytherins are evil or just misunderstood are debates about the morality of ambition, pride and self-preservation, which is some pretty deep stuff. Same with the debates about Hufflepuff, or scoffing at Gryffindor for being reckless.
But obviously for people who are attached to the books, these debates aren’t purely intellectual - they have to do with our own house affiliations, the set of moral values we’ve taken from this book and sort of claimed as our own. When I say I’m a Hufflepuff, that instantly says quite a lot about me to anyone who knows the books, and it also reflects quite a bit of thought on my part about my identity and morality. This isn’t religious in the same way as the more soul-and-afterlife parts of the series, but I would argue that it could also be seen as a kind of “banal religion” - this random thing out of a book has been absorbed into my own understanding of morality, and can be used to signal that to other people and have conversations about it, even alongside other sources of morality like those from my church.
In the religious content of Harry Potter, the houses are more like the proverbs than the gospels - less miracles, more talk about what is morality and how to do it. It’d be fair to argue that there’s nothing spiritual about the Hogwarts houses, so they don’t count as “banal religion.” I think they do though, for how strongly and sometimes emotionally people identify with them as a way of making sense of their moral universes alongside other sources.