“”Harry's world says that drinking dead animal blood gives power, a satanic human sacrifice and Harry's powerful blood brings new life, demon possession is not spiritually dangerous, and that passing through fire, contacting the dead, and conversing with ghosts, others in the spirit world, and more, is normal and acceptable
|—Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged, a DVD incapable of making a distinction between fantasy novels and the occult.|
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels by British author J.K. Rowling. The series relates the adventures of a teenage boy and his two best friends who attend a school of 'witchcraft and wizardry,' learning a whole range of magical skills and fighting Dark Magic and evil.
Despite being a story of good triumphing over evil and a literary and critical success, the series has been condemned by fundamentalist religious groups as an evil work which will seduce children into the occult and witchcraft. In the United States, the books have become the most challenged of the 21st century. Fortunately for Harry Potter fans, magic and witchcraft are only a concern if you're living in the 17th century. The response to the books represents an excellent example of modern day fundamentalism and authoritarianism, with numerous attempts to ban the books.
 Fundamentalist response
There have been dozens of legal cases concerning copyright infringement, libel and breach of contract, and droves of fundamentalist religious groups and religious leaders (plus Jack Chick) speaking out against the series.
It is worth noting that many moderate and some fundamentalist Christians have spoken out in favour of the books. While the Catholic Church has no official position, and many Cardinals are against the books, Cardinal George Pell has described the book as "deeply compatible with Christianity" and says it contains a "good dose of moral truth." It seems that once people make the distinction between fiction and real belief in magic, they can see past their objections to demons and witchcraft to see what the book is actually about.
Furthermore, the drinking of dead animal blood, Satanic human sacrifice, demonic possession etc. described in the quote at the top of the page, are actions practiced by the book's Wilhelm screaming antagonist, Lord Voldemort, the murderer of Harry's parents who is not exactly presented by the books as a morally praiseworthy figure.
Satirical news source The Onion, in its inimitable style, once ran a spoof of the fundamentalists' claims, saying that children really were converting to Satanism because of the books. As if to prove their own idiocy to anyone yet unconvinced, the fundies took the article as proof that they were right.
 And pull out your irony
Rowling is a Christian herself - the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, contains an epigraph from the Gospels (Matthew 6:21) and also has a scene where Harry sacrifices his own life and is resurrected. That's some evil shit right there.
Despite being children's books, the Harry Potter novels have also been subject to serious social scrutiny, with studies of the series' political intricacies performed by columnists, professors and doctoral students alike. As of 2007, Inside Higher Ed reports that the catalog of the Library of Congress records 21 volumes of criticism and interpretation, and at least seven master’s dissertations and seventeen doctoral theses have been devoted to the Harry Potter books. Seriously.
From the concepts of hierarchy and purity found in the relations between pure-blooded and muggle-born wizards to the struggle for House Elf freedom, equality is a central theme of the books. It portrays dishonest and incompetent government and media and paints war as a great evil in which innocent people die. The school which Harry attends, Hogwarts, is multicultural, multiracial and (seemingly) secular. Some critics have, however, called the books patronising and conservative, or alternatively sexist and neo-conservative (which is weird since Rowling herself is a staunch Labour supporter).
Rowling also outed Dumbledore, one of the stories' most important characters, saying "I like to think of him as gay," not in the text of the books but during a PR event after the release of the final novel. This must rank as one of the greatest achievements in having one's cake and eating it, since Rowling gets credit for standing up for LGBT recognition, without damaging her book sales or outraging her readership, in a world where gay central characters are still a rarity in mainstream literature and taboo in children's fiction.
- ↑ http://www.ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pressreleases2006/september2006/harrypottermostchallenge.cfm
- ↑ http://web.archive.org/web/20000815214418/http://www.theonion.com/onion3625/harry_potter.html
- ↑ http://www.snopes.com/humor/iftrue/potter.asp
- ↑ http://www.insidehighered.com/views/mclemee/mclemee133
- ↑ http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2000/jun/25/booksforchildrenandteenagers.guardianchildrensfictionprize2000
- ↑ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/rod_liddle/article2116237.ece
- ↑ "J. K. Rowling at Carnegie Hall Reveals Dumbledore is Gay", The Leaky Cauldron, October 20, 2007.