Book Review

Harry Potter (the series) by J.K. Rowling


Title: Harry Potter (Books 1-7)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publication Info: Arthur A. Levine Books October 16, 2007
ISBN: 0545044251
Genre: Top 100 Banned Books

Submitted by Delia

Have you heard?  Reading Harry Potter turns you into a devil-worshipper!  JK Rowling’s young adult series Harry Potter is the most challenged book of the 21st century, and is one of the top ten most frequently banned books of all time.  Parents are concerned about the positive portrayal of the occult in the series and cry that the book is indoctrinating their children into Satan-worship.  But they are ignoring the real threat this series poses to our children!  If they searched for Harry Potter related websites on the internet, they would see that the series does not just glorify witchcraft, it also turns impressionable young women into pedophiles.  The Harry Potter series has inspired more fanfiction than any other book series—and since the release of movie adaptations, the amount of fanfiction increased significantly and the focus shifted from Will Harry Kill Voldemort? to Will Harry And Draco Stop Fighting And Just Have Buttsex Already?  Harry and Draco are still minors at the end of the series, which led some social networking sites to ban pornographic fan material, telling fans that they are child predators for posting such harmful and illegal material.  Don’t parents realise that their children can be kidnapped and abused because of Harry Potter readers?

Parents focus on the witchcraft aspect of the books rather than the naughty fanfiction, claiming that the portrayal of in a positive light is inherently evil.  Porn-inspiration aside, the series is no more evil or even complex than a typical Disney movie.  A boy is orphaned and forced to live with abusive relatives until he learns that he has a secret talent that makes him special and leads him to be mentored by a well-intentioned (if just a bit misguided) grandfatherly figure who dies before the strapping young man can learn everything he needs to know, at which point he is forced to think for himself and defeat the bad guy on his own.

But the beauty of the series isn’t the universal theme of good triumphing over evil, it’s that this is a wildly popular children’s book that has characters who blur the line between good and bad, and a villain who is well and truly evil.  Voldemort isn’t just a bully who steals your lunch money and later reforms to become a law-abiding citizen—he’s a bitter, manipulative, racist, power-hungry, murderous monster.  He is what Harry could have become, had his choices in life been different.  The series presents real-world problems that kids have to face sometime in their lives (racism and prejudices, injustice, bad first impressions, death, and even crushes and detentions) in a fantasy setting that makes for a quick and enjoyable read.  Kids can get wrapped up in a story that transports them to a magical make-believe place that really isn’t all that different from their own lives.  Despite its faults—plot holes, entire books made up of clichés, a terribly flat main character who is obsessed with his school nemesis and YELLS IN ALLCAPS FOR NO REASON—millions of kids are reading as a result of Harry Potter because, magic or not, they can relate to it.

The Harry Potter series would deserve an A rating if it was retitled Severus Snape and the Annoying Brat Who Refused To Die, since Snape is the most complex and developed character.  Plus, Snape is played by Alan Rickman in the films.  ‘nuff said.

Comments are Closed

  1. Zoe Archer says:

    I was always amazed that people took up arms against Harry Potter when, to my mind, Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series was both much better written as well as flat-out critical of Judeo-Christian cosmology.

  2. CM says:

    Well said!  Especially about Snape.

    Yay, Snape!

  3. Alan Rickman in Snape is double yum.

    I know, I need help. But hey, that rich baritone just makes me….*sigh*

  4. Ishie says:

    “The Harry Potter series would deserve an A rating if it was retitled Severus Snape and the Annoying Brat Who Refused To Die”

    Oh geeze, that one should have come with a laptop warning. Snort.

    Great review!

  5. Erastes says:

    He really should have died.  I stayed with her throughout the series and by the time I got to DH I wished *I* could die – as the last books were clearly unedited waffle with blatent misuse of the colon. And not in a kinky way, either.

    But they weren’t underage at the end of the book, btw. They were 17 which is of age in England.

    I couldn’t agree more about Severus, but he, like so MANY characters in the series were built up and up and in the end – went nowhere.

  6. Beth says:

    Oh my god! I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who wanted to scream at the use of colons in DH. They were everywhere. Sometimes 3 or 4 to a paragraph. What on earth was that?

  7. Cat Marsters says:

    I was going to point it out, but Erastes got there first: in the UK, 16 is the age of consent.

    I loved the first three or four HP books for being so much fun—something that, aside from the odd one-liner, was missing from the later books.  I can’t really be bothered to complain about what was wrong with them all because we’ve done it all before—except that for me, making Dumbledore fallible was wrong.  It’s a children’s series.  Yes, children need to learn that you can’t depend on adults your whole life; but on the other hand, they’re children, and they need to believe in something, they need some heroes who won’t let them down.

    But at the end of the day: yes, the books got kids reading.  Now, if only they’d put these in classrooms instead of Dickens, maybe there would be more kids who grow up thinking reading is fun, not a chore.

  8. sara says:

    Yes, Delia, it’s true. I’m a Satan worshipper and a pedophile, and it’s all J.K. Rowling’s fault.

  9. babydraco says:

    I have a whole long post on the fact that Harry Potter is actually, ironically, all about the Jesus.

    Harry and Draco are still minors at the end of the series,

    Actually, they aren’t. As someone pointed out,  they were of age in muggle Britain at 16, and they are both 17 during the last book, which makes them of age for wizards.  And then, of course,  Draco’s birthday is in June so he might have turned 18 before, or just after, the book ended. And Harry turns 18 in July, so he’s pretty much only a couple months off anyway.

  10. Marianne McA says:

    Oddly enough, as a church-going presbyterian, I found the ‘Harry as saviour’in HP book 7 more disquieting than all Pullman’s wandering through heaven and hell. I suppose I had felt Pullman was quite explicitly tackling religious themes – which is fine – but I hadn’t read Rowling as writing about Christianity, so it tripped me up when those ideas seemed to sneak into the book.

    O/T slightly, age of consent in N.Ireland is still 17, though you can still get married with parental consent at 16, same as in the rest of the UK.
    And then, I suppose, you play a lot of Scrabble for a year…

    (I do think B- is a harsh grade.)

  11. Laurel says:

    Hey Zoe! I was going to say the exact same thing! I still can’t get over that either, that a little (mostly) harmless magical fun generates so much more strang und durm than books about some witches getting together to teach a young lady and dude about the pleasures of the flesh so that they can all destroy God and death together.

  12. Delia says:

    Retroactive disclaimer:  I heartily approve of raunchy Harry Potter fanfiction.

  13. Shannon says:

    I love Harry/Draco action. I actively tracked it down in the time between the 6th and 7th books, to the point that when Draco actually appeared in book 7 I couldnt figure out why he wasnt acting right…where was all the yummy manlove tension?

    And this is kind of random, but am I the only one that thinks that Voldemort should have been completely more badass? I mean, in all honesty, after getting thwarted by an 11 year old and proceeding to get thwarted annually by said kid, I would hold more of a grudge. And if I’m really the badass wizard that has the world trembling in terror, how is some shield charm stopping my flight of doom?

    Oh. And what was up with the wand lore? That seemed real random to me. As did the epilogue. And pretty much the deathly hollows in general. Basically the seventh book just came across as random.

    Yeah. Disappointed fan here.

  14. Kerry says:

    My hot button issue about the HP books is the way people get all up in arms about the wizardry and want to ban the books but totally ignore the way the Dursleys treat Harry, which is out and out child abuse.  Get a sense of perspective people, please.

  15. Sexy Sadie says:

    The Harry Potter books are the best books ever, hands down, I don’t care what the conservatives or the literature snobs say! All hail Harry!

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