The Reality of Harry Potter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

April 26, 2010
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When I was little, I had a trunk filled with black cloaks and witches' robes, a book called The Book of Wizard Craft, and various cool things I had found around the house. My goal? To go to Hogwarts.

Of course, as I grew older, I became aware of the differences between fiction and nonfiction books (possibly because I didn't receive an owl on my eleventh birthday). But I hadn't realized how controversial a small thing like, say, me fantasizing about going to Hogwarts was until I read Melissa Anelli's Harry, A History.

The book describes how Laura Mallory, a mother who no doubt meant well, wanted Harry Potter books banned on the grounds that they contained “evil themes, witchcraft, demonic activity, murder, evil blood sacrifice, spells, and [were] teaching children all of this.”

As a child, I never would have dreamed of practicing witchcraft. However much I longed to go to Hogwarts, I understood at an early age what was and was not possible. Mallory's argument was based on a video she had seen claiming that Harry's mother's death symbolized pagan blood sacrifices, and Hogwarts was a school that practiced the Wicca religion, among various other things.

Have none of Harry Potter's critics researched their claims? For starters, Satanic ritual murders are more of an urban myth than fact. Second, the claim that Harry Potter promotes the devil is preposterous. Harry's moral journey throughout the books highlights the difference between right and wrong. Harry's choice to join Gryffindor rather than Slytherin shows us that it is the choices we make, rather than our background, that define us. And when book five came out, it showed readers that teenage angst is totally normal and one should never give in to peer pressure.

The Harry Potter series is not famous because it teaches children about the occult, or because it promotes violence and murder. It's popular because at some point we have all been that small, nervous child looking up at the “castle” looming over us and wondering what our future holds. We have all been that teenager, angry at the world for what we refuse to see. And we all hope to be the one who stands up for what is right, a hero to the people in our lives.

Most opponents claim that Harry Potter's magical themes conflict with religion. These books don't promote anything contrary to any religion. Every religious text says that love is one of the most important, if not the most important, human emotion. Love is what Harry Potter promotes – love for family, friends, and eventually enough love to do the right thing.

As children, perhaps, we are able to see both the complicated and the simple themes in books, but it seems that adults see only the complicated. Instead of looking for “hidden” themes of blood sacrifice and demonic activities, readers should simply enjoy these books and absorb their message of love and bravery.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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absolutelyawesume said...
Jun. 12, 2010 at 9:21 pm
well, they don't convict with my religion. im wiccan :P these critics need to grow up a second time and get an imagination, and they need to understand that wiccan's and neopagan's beliefs are opposite of the christian and abrahamic manifesto, there is no "devil" so how could it be involved in our religion? great article :)
Alexandra Swan replied...
Sept. 25, 2011 at 7:47 am
oh, i see. yeah absolutelyawesome its kinda contradictory when you say the devil doesnt exist when your relationship in fact worships the devil.
bookthief This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 11, 2011 at 5:58 pm
Wicca actually is not devil-worship, although there may be some (read: several) who claim to be Wiccan when they are actually just worshipping the devil. Let's not doubt absolutelyawesome on this point, since it seems that while none of us are Wiccan, absolutelyawesome is, so I'll defer to her/his expertise here :)
SandyC said...
May 1, 2010 at 4:12 pm
i LOVE  this...and i can defineetely relate...when i was a kid i imagined myself as a female version of Harry, doing everything he did:)...and i agree completely..more times than not,, critics seem to see the problems that in actuality don't exist...wuld yu mind reading my article (William's Dream part 1) and giving me feedback...i'd luv yur opinion on it 
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