Harry Potter Series Tops ALA List of the Decade’s Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books

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Apr 19, 2010

Posted by John Admin

The American Library Association have issued a press release listing the 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009 and announcing an updated list of the top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of the Decade (2000-2009). The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling have come at the top of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of the Decade list, followed by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Alice series and Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War. The press release comments that the Harry Potter series is “frequently challenged for various issues including occult/Satanism and anti-family themes.” You can find the full list of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of the Decade on the ALA website at this link.

Thanks to MuggleNet for the heads up!





71 Responses to Harry Potter Series Tops ALA List of the Decade’s Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books

Avatar Imagekatherine102678 says: You know I think this is ridiculous and people are too sensitive. Okay, so someone doesn't like the Harry Potter books for the anti-family themes. So don't let your family/kids read the books, but why should my kids be punished and not be able to check out the books from the library because someone else is offended by the books? But yet my children are being punished because someone else doesn't want to be offended. Where is the fairness in that? People need to grow up and get a life! Seriously people.Avatar ImageMary11_hplvr4l says: I think this is Awesome! haha enough people care enough about the books to go through the trouble of wanting to ban them :p they even beat out Dan BrownAvatar Imagetjerriam says: oh.,.this is good harry potter came at the top of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of the Decade list..,.its.,.,awesome.,but at the same time its ridiculous..The press release comments that the Harry Potter series is "frequently challenged for various issues including occult/Satanism and anti-family themes." ...this is not true!!!!!Avatar ImageWickedLoz says: Anti-family themes? Well yeah, most serial killers are anti-family... But what do they think the Weasleys are, a religious cult??? I find it all very funny. I would like to say "Only in America" as only the craziest uproars happen there, but unfortunately (or fortunately?) HP is too popular to cause a stir just in America.Avatar Imagepotterforpresident says: Ah, the result of people's lack of imagination. It's like they think we're stupid enough to actually believe that magic is real. Harry Potter is fiction, though apparently they don't see that. If they would just open their minds a bit more and look deeper into the books, beyond all the spells and enchantments, they would actually see that there are morals to this series, morals that, I believe, are being taught in the Bible. Other than that, am I the only one who thinks this is hilarious?Avatar ImageScarStruck says: I mean it's fanulous that we've topped another list but this time its a stupid list!! Why are people so senstitive!?!?!! If people don't like the books, the they don't haft to read them or let their kids read them! It's a book!!! Why can't they see that the books is about love and loyalty and bravery and it's amazing and beautiful and teachs readers about friendship! I totally think this is hilarious but at the same time it makes me really angry, but if people spend they're time trieing to ban a book that millions of people love then they need some help.Being against HP is one thing (as stupid thing) but it's fine if someone doesn't like HP (even though I can't understadn it) but to try and ban that book because of it's "anti-family" themes and "Satanism" is soooooooooo stupid!!! No is stupid enough to read the books and be like "oh joy I cna do magic now" of course we'd all like to but we know it's nto real!! Ok well my rant is over, and whatever I left out all you guys understand =)Avatar ImageZhiyal says: What I really don't understand is, how on earth have people figured out that the Potter novels are anti-family?????? Harry "most desperate desire" is to have a family, his mother's sacrifice keeps him alive, substitute father and mother figures help him all along (the Weasleys, Dumbledore, Sirius, Lupin), he stresses explicitly that "parents shouldn't leave their kids" when Lupin considers abandoning his pregant wife a.s.o. Please, I really would like to know that: What in Potter is believed to be anti-family? I just don't get it ...Avatar Imagekiwimci says: Better to top the list than not be on the list at all in my opinion. I'm proud Harry Potter's in there who wants Beatrix Bloxam's 'Toadstool Tales' when you can have 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard.' Love it!Avatar ImageDawna says: I always laugh when I see these types of things. I personally feel the books teach good vs evil. And that even flawed people are good people! Perhaps these people should actually try reading the books!Avatar Imagehrhgnl says: One sure way to have more people read the series is to ban or challenge a book in a library. I have a friend that says the series promotes "Satanism"; I challenged him to actually read the books and he refused. When I asked him how he could judge the series about good versus evil, the trials of a young man trying to do the right thing and most important love, he had no response. Now I just laugh at people who do not like HP.Avatar Imageentoptic says: Witchcraft is anti-family. Harry Potter is about witchcraft. Therefore, Harry Potter is anti-family. (Their logic). Avatar Imagejreineke3 says: I wrote an english paper last semester about why Harry Potter is not against the Catholic Church (where a lot of anti-potter comes from) and it was one of the best papers I have written! I am so proud of that paper because I am so passionate about the lessons within Harry Potter it hurts to hear people refusing to read it. It is the greatest love story!Avatar ImageLove is the greatest magic says: Judging by the fact that it says anti-family it seems clear to me that many of the people who campaign to have the books banned haven't actually read them. If they had they would see that the books basically revolve around the theme of family. They just see that the books are about magic and make up their opinion based on that. Anyone who wants to ban the books should be made to read them first. How can you campaign to ban a book without having read it?Avatar ImageZhiyal says: I guess that if one believes that witchcraft equals anti-family (although I am not quite sure that I understand how this connection is being made) you arrive at a conclusion that Potter is anti-family, even though the plot, the central motif and the characterizations are all pro-family .... Ethical-wise, I think the novels combine Christian and atheist thinking of Humanism and the Enlightenment. For example, the idea that we have the ability to make a choice and thus influence who and what we become challenges the idea of a higher authority that you simply have to obey. Then again, the ideas of love and justice are linked to Christianity (even though they are not always respected by the Churches). I think the novels really offer a great synthesis of moral considerations derived from different traditions of thinking. Avatar ImageButterfly_Boy says: Oh! Are these people stupid, or simply didn't they read the books at all? The whole point of the books is the value of family, love, and doing what is right (not what is easy)!Avatar Imagebudb says: jreineke3, while applauding you for doing such fine work in your English class, just remember the issue isn't the Catholic Church per se (which actually had a wide range of semi-official responses to HP), but less well defined and informed reactions from those who adhere to what they perceive as true fundamentalist christianities (please note use of plural, I am tired of the argument that there is only one form of Christianity, there never has been. also of small "c" since i sincerely believe there is considerable divine head shaking going on over what is being shouted about and done in the name of religion) On the other hand, look at what the ALA bases its list on: the number of written complaints received. Last year the number of complaints was just over 400; the year before the number was over 500. The ALA assumes that for every written complaint that reaches their office, another 4 or 5 complaints do not. Therefore, the _estimated_ number of complaints a year is about 2500...and there is not publicly available data to indicate if these complaints came in clusters (ie, from a small suburb outside Atlanta, Georgia where we know a strong opponent of HP resides), or are more distributed. Even if we assumed that there were 10 complaints for every one received by the ALA, that would give a total of what, 5000 or so? We're talking an insignificant fringe minority, folks... Also, remember that literary classics such as Catcher in the Rye and some writings of Mark Twain regularly show up on the list....it's curious that there has not been a movement to ban the Percy Jackson series (as the characters in those books would say, "thank the gods!") Zhiyal and others are right to note that the themes in HP (and most other works of good fiction) necessarily include religious and ethical lessons...all the world's religions after all do offer similar guidelines for ethical living, and that explains why HP appeals beyond the nominally christian cultures to a more global audience. so, remember the complaints come from a small fringe minority, who (as two of you noted above) never read the books, AND at the same time the lists are actually used for marketing purposes: making the list of "challenged books" is a badge of honor and good publicity!Avatar ImageLittle Light says: These people are so up-tight about these types of things. Get your heads out of your arses. This is a book (but not just any ordinary book, it's just way too awesome to described). You're making a big deal out of nothing. IT'S FICTION (I wish it were real though). Get that into your skulls! Besides, the whole point of all of the books is about love and how to accept people for who they are, and about making all the right choices. Bollocks to those who think they're encouraging satanism and all such rot. You blokes just don't get it, and are too narrow-minded to really give it a chance. Anti-family? Pfft. Whatever. Stay in your little hole and be a dunderhead, for all I care. It's not me who's totally missing out on the greatest thing ever made on Earth. GO, HARRY POTTER!!! Avatar Imageharrypotterfreak101 says: Well it is true, Harry Potter has always been accused of witchcraft. I think that this is all ridiculious nonsense. I mean come on it's the 21st century, no one believes in stuff like that anymore.Avatar ImageWant to be a Weasley says: @ButterflyBoy, I totally agree with you!! I think these books show the true meaning of family and that a "family" is anyone you choose to include in your life and show true love for and care for them no matter who they were born to or what circumstances they have dealt with in life!!Avatar ImageMoose_Starr says: Whether anyone believes in witchcraft or not, HP is all about family values and, the importance of love and friendship. If these people, be they a minority or not, actually read the books rather than just ranting about them, they would see that HP is totally about doing the right thing, choosing the good side and, making the right choices. The importance of love, family and friendship is emphasized thru out the seven books. Avatar ImagePollytomat says: Anti-family? WHAAAAAAT? Avatar ImageHelenaHogwarts says: Since when does HP have anti-family themes? It is the complete oppositte. And satanism is just harsh, witchcraft maby but worship of the devil? I'll accuse them of obsessive christianityAvatar ImageIndia is land of the Phoenix says: Those who try to ban Harry Potter on the account of "Satanism" and "Witchcraft", I would tell them to remember not any church sermon or quote from Bible or any other holy book but a quote from a great man, Galileo Galilei, who as I know from history, was a devout christian himself (still persucated by the church, forgiven about 400 years later !) : "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intented us to forgo their use."Avatar Imagemadman1277 says: This shows how dumb the world is.Avatar Imagejreineke3 says: no no...I know it is not a Catholic issue...I am a Catholic so I wrote it based on some of the things that I have heard within my own church. I only focused on Catholic views because I know what I am talking about whereas with every other religion I do not know as much. There was no blame being placed it just worked best cause I could see both sides! I am Catholic and a Potter fan...thats all. Oh and a Republican... I love saying that. I can just see people all over the world cringe!Avatar Imagemadman1277 says: Also the magic in Harry Potter is treated like Math and science. The don't worship it, they learn it and apply it in everyday life. Just because it doesn't apply to our "world", doesn't mean it has to be evil. Those people that automatically awesume that Harry Potter is a bad influence are ruining our society. Harry Potter teaches kids many things so well, it shouldn't even be considered to be on this list. But then again there are people that think any difference is bad. Avatar Image29puppy104 says: OMG! Why Harry Potter?! I mean really? If you can't read challenged books then don't read it. Common sense... I hate it because at my school they ban reading Harry Potter in reading groups. Why don't you just ask their parents and then read it? Who cares if it's magic, people watch magic tricks. In my opinion I think these series show what to do right and be brave for your friends. They are on of the most touching and action- packed books I've read in my life. I'm eleven and I don't think these books are challenged they're the best! It shows how a wizard who's brave, funny, and who has great friends throughout his years. Well, I don't think it should be number one. I think the Twilight series should.Avatar ImageNumeroUnoFan says: what a load. oh well. another accolade for JK. Steinbeck and Faulkner were challenged to and look where they sit amongst literature now.Avatar Imagemoglet says: Challenged for it's anti-family themes? well only someone who'd never read the books could come up with that one! I am so glad I live in the UK, we do not have this sort of nonsense over here.Avatar ImageAnatnof says: Well, it will only make kids want to read the books... banning it from libraries. Kids can borrow it from friends, or buy it~ anyway, to ban just will make the kids more curious about the books and will make them want to read it.Avatar ImageToNkS_rip says: people really piss me off with the whole HP being so evil thing. it really isnt...Avatar Imagesarahkaz says: anti-family themes? are you kidding me? i actually find that really humorous because harry potter is ALL about family and friends and love- those are THE main points of the entire story. this is so ridiculous...Avatar ImageNicci Weasley says: That's no surprise...Avatar Imagegryffindor1991 says: what a bunch of morons! satanism? really? in harry potter? i dont think so. you have got to be stupid to ban the harry potter series and challenge them for those stupid reasons. i mean, duh, it has witchcraft, but whats wrong with that? NOTHING! i mean its not real (in our hearts it is) but to do something like that because of witchcraft? as for anti-family values.. there are plenty of close families in the books... the weasleys, the malfoys (as bad as they were), and even the dursleys. and there is a family theme.. i mean the weasleys accept harry AND hermione in as there own children (even though hermione still has her parents)Avatar ImageLunaLuver says: Really? "Anti-family themes" that is the stupidest thing ever. Harry Potter is all for family and doing ''what is right, not was it easy.'' People who ban the book have never read them because if you have you'd know who good HP is for kids, and adults. Good over evil, love over hate. How is that anti-family?Avatar Imageinspired_by_you says: Well, whatever they say, Harry is still living on inside of us. Avatar ImageRoseann says: Yeah this is very aggrevating for alot of people. When I was planning at HP DH book release at my work I had co-workers writing awful things on the stuff I was building. I made a huge walk in Castle entrance with the actuall Hogwarts wall paper it was out of this world when it was done but of course people were writing nasty things on it,also I had a potions table which things keeped coming up missing it got to the point my managers had someone watching my stuff all the time. I had horrible anti-crist related things noted to me, how HP is unmoral it was all so stupid but it was an awesome party anyway and even made the local paper for the best release party in my county SO THERE!!!! Long live HP. ROARAvatar ImageTyqwando416 says: I think this is an awesome honor for HP and all the other books on the list. Libraries don't actually ban the books. Banned Books Week is actually a celebration of freedom of speech, press, etc. Libraries across the country celebrate these books and encourage people to read them. So, like someone else said, for HP to be on the top of the list for the most challenged book of the decade is truly a badge of honor. Avatar ImageTheMasterYoda says: Anti family themes? Seriously? If they had actually read the books they would have seen my favorite family in the whole world, the Weasleys, they are closer than any other family than I know of.Avatar Imageowanalilypotter says: "Anti-Family themes"? Have they even READ the HP books?? Most of the love and care in that series is BASED ON FAMILIES. They are very important and cherished to HP. But nooooooooo they can't see this. And may I add that there are thousands of books on magic and witchraft but do THEY get banned? NO. Why must they pick on HP...?Avatar ImageJessSnape says: It is completely absurd that people still think that HP is about witchcraft. Yes, it is a part of the book and it creates the magic of the world (that all of us want to be a part of:)... But the ultimate story is the basic fight between GOOD AND EVIL!! You would figure all people would want to see the battle between good and evil, light and dark, love and hate result as it does in the books!! It is so infuriating to hear that the closed-minded people of the world (yeah, those who have never even read the books) still think HP is about satanism and wiccanism!! UGH!! it gets me completely irate to hear about people who like to say bad things about these books when the majority of them have NEVER EVEN READ THEM!!!Avatar ImageGiant Squid says: Anti- family themes!!!!!????? Geez!Avatar Imagebudb says: jreineke3, no offense was intended, and i do hope none was taken...i was raised Catholic myself, tho my religious heritage and personal evolution is far more complicated than most. cheers, and keep writing good essays!Avatar ImageGiant Squid says: I am surprised that the Da Vinici Code is not on that list! It was a great book but also very controversial and challenged!Avatar Imagecheeserpleaser says: As unfortunate as it is that so many people have condemned these books, I believe that we will fail to convince them of the error in their judgment. So persuaded are they that the books will corrupt young minds that no argument we produce will assuage them. It is nothing but a pity, however, that they have denied themselves the opportunity to enjoy these quite fantastic novels.Avatar ImageEmmaline10248 says: i find this completly funny. its absord how people can be so narrow minded about a book. i mean its is just a book (i like many others may live and breath the book) but i know where to draw the line as do many other why it is such a problem is completly ludacrise in my mind. any way as some others have said if one looks past all the spells and what not there are indeed morals that have been not only been taught around the world but have been held in high asteam for centriesby many cultures. well i quess i have finished my ranting sorry for any spelling mistakes. Avatar Imagegirlatty1 says: Ridiculous.Avatar Imagetaoist1 says: There is a new 10 Dumbest List of Dumb Lists. This one came in at 1.Avatar ImageI love my Spectra Specs says: Anti-family themes...Dear people who think this, READ THE BOOKS before you judge them like this. Harry's heart's desire is to have his family back, and have you heard about the Weasleys? Just about as non anti-family as you can get, in my opinion...K thanks, bye.Avatar ImageDarkmarkman says: These lists irritate the crap out of me. The ones who want to ban the books claim to be Christians. This really bothers me, since I am a Christian and I love the Potter books. I have enough sense to realize that Potter is fantasy. I know lots of other Christians that like Potter(maybe not as much as me, I'm kinda nuts about it). The few nutballs that try to ban it in the name of Christianity give the faith a bad name. They need to worry about that other series about vampires thats been taking a bite out of the pre-teen generation. :) ( personally I think twilight sucks).Avatar Imagelunaisawesome says: im so proud of us. my lifelong dream is to whack laura mallroy on the head with a wok. like in the island of the aunts!!!Avatar Imagelunaisawesome says: yes darkmarkman. twi sucks. did they even MAKE the list?! but really. the most.. the themes are: be just. be loyal. no one is perfect. do whats right, not whats easy. the best kiss ever is in the middle of a battle. and wheather you like it or not, YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. and so is everyone else. fact of life. get over it.Avatar Imagejeannemcl says: I love these lists. It guarantees that a lot more people will now go out and buy the books and see the films. The only reason I went to see "The Da Vinci Code" was because of local picketing at the theater. After all, my reason for being is to p-ss off the conservative right.Avatar ImageShinyPineapple says: This is so ridiculous! the whole point of the books is the value of family and love! A ton of the stuff in there is Biblical based, if only these people had the brains to find it.Avatar ImageMadam Snape says: I guess there are several context in which these books can be read and many people (too many, actually) haven't got a clue on how to read them, so they take them and make them fit into this horrible plot against family values and all and label them as a threat to society. It's a shame... I wish we all could understand these books in a unified way. But people are different, and that's a good thing, but that also means that we'll come across those who can find satanism even in a harmless book series as Harry Potter very often. Again, it's a shame...Avatar ImageHermione Elizabeth says: The "anti-family theme" is kinda confusing me a bit?? Have these critics not read the entire series? Cause if they did they see the complete ooposite of what they seem to think. Oh wel though... Harry and Jo will always have us loyal fans!!Avatar Imagejacket says: Oh my gosh! All the people that want ot bann Harry Potter are completely insane. I mean it's their own problem if they don't like it, but they shouldn't keep other people from reading it! If the books bother someone they should just not read them. If I had never read Harry Potter I may never have enjoyed reading as much as I do! Harry Potter has been my favourite book since I was around 10! and if they want to bann it because they think it's too scary or it messes with their religion then maybe they should think of other people before themselves and give it a rest.Avatar Imagephoenixortheflame says: Haha, wow. And yet the books still have soo many fans. I wonder why that is? Maybe they're AMAZING!? I don't mind so much if people don't like them if they have at least *read* them. I mean, I feel bad for those protestors that believe that Harry Potter is incouraging witchcraft and evil, really people? Harry Potter stresses the importance of friendship and togetherness and coming together to fight a common enemy, how is that harmful? Well, I guess I just don't get why some people want to challenge some really wonderful writing that should eventually become a classic!Avatar ImageHBPFan says: For heaven's sakes, all this is absolutely ridiculous!! Just get a life, and get on with it.. Avatar ImageWeetzie says: Most of these people haven't read the books. They just assume that they're about wicca or something. Avatar ImageFresca says: People who try to get books banned do not deserve press. Harry Potter is definitely NOT anti-family, and its main theme is the triumph of good over evil. People think because its characters are witches and wizards, that it is a "dangerous" series of books. Thank God, most readers have thought that idea was, as Ron once said about his belongings, "Rubbish." I wonder if these same folks read "The Wizard of Oz"? HMMM?Avatar ImageSmitch says: What better way to squash ignorance and promote our beloved series! I think I wrote something similar when this article surfaced last year. Lol. Seriously though, would there be a magnificent light without the dark?Avatar ImageJordon steele-john says: Hi I would like to start by saying ONLY IN THE U.S.A. would this happen and I think it shows a side to some of the religious peoples of the U.S. that is truly worrying. The fact that they can take a book like Harry potter and say it's anit-family, occult and satanic portrays a level of misunderstanding that (I hope) shocks most people. Anyone who has actually READ! Harry Potter would surely, in my mined come to the conclusion the Harry Potter promotes bravery, family and most of all the unfathomable power of love. It's fine if you don't like Harry Potter (thought I don't know why you wouldn't ) it's a free world (or meant to be) but I don't think it's ok to try and stop people reading something just because you don't like it. Lastly I would like to offer my advice to anyone trying ban or sensor Harry Potter, you will quite simply NEVER succeed, they are to many people who love Harry Potter and see it for what it truly is, one of the best books ever write, by the one of the best authors to ever write. Also to those who think magic is evil I would ask 'what is turning water to wine or walking on water but magic?''Avatar ImageNot Slytherin says: I'm not going to post a rant because it's so obvious to everyone that these claims are unfounded. I think Zhiyal said it best!Avatar Imagerohit_albus severus says: that's really unfair...judging without reading...harry potter is "anti family", displays "santism"..!! common guys grow up!! they don't have any idea of what they are talking about...! STUPID people making STUPID list...Avatar ImageEvagirl says: Good job JKR, way to piss off religious morons... if only they didn't all have guns. I thought it would get better after Harry did a Jesus at the end though, seems I was wrong.Avatar ImageIndigoMisfit says: I think the people who consider Harry Potter "anti-family" only read the first couple chapters of PS/SS where the Dursleys are neglecting/abusing Harry. I think they would prefer to read books about perfect families where nothing bad ever happens, because that is soooo interesting. I agree with what a previous poster said. This shows a lack of imagination and understanding of what fiction is.Avatar Imagealicia00 says: what r thay talking aboutAvatar Imagebeallgood01 says: Please people, these are fantasy books after all. Yes they are in the mainstream and yes they are very entertaining but Occult? If anything, there are a ton of Christian themes mentioned. I say read anything you like. It's up to you to decide how to view the work and the world.Avatar Imagewheezesemployee says: lol whateverAvatar ImageWeenyOwl says: Here's a real witch (Wiccan) weighing in: The great irony of these protests by Christian fundamentalists is that if any group ought to find the HP books "offensive" on religious grounds, it's us neo-Pagans. After all, they purport to depict "witches" and "magic" without any reference whatsoever to even the most basic religious underpinnings of Wiccan practice. To give an obvious example, the kids at Hogwarts get school holidays at Christmas and Easter, not Beltane or Imbolc or Lammas, and their Halloween feast is a commercialized pop-culture version that bears no relation to the solemnities of Samhain as celebrated by real Pagans. At Hogwarts the suits of armor sing Christian carols at Christmas. People occasionally say things like "Thank God," but nobody ever once mentions the Goddess, even in the watered-down form of Mother Nature. The books' characters are the most Anglican gaggle of "witches" ever scribed down on paper. Another dead giveaway that these books lack any reference to real-world witchcraft is the fact that the whole storyline is based on a classic conflict of Good versus Evil, Light versus Dark. This view of the Cosmos is definitive of the patriarchal monotheistic tradition (Judeo/Christian/Islamic). I know it's hard to get one's brain around the idea that there might be ANOTHER way of looking at the Cosmos, if that's the way you've been brought up, but Pagans just don't view it that way. Ask what metaphor works better for us and we'd probably draw you a spiral. Granted, it's hard to market a young adult novel structured like a spiral - not very dramatic, is it? That's why it's so laughable that so many people equate Wicca with Satanism. Satanism is just a warped and twisted version of Christianity, starring the same cast of characters in role reversal. We Pagans not only don't worship Satan; we actually don't believe in him. There is no "personification of Evil" in Wicca because we don't think "Good versus Evil" is how the Universe works. And the reason we roll our eyes when you ask us, "Do you practice White Magic or Black Magic?" is that this is rather like asking, "Are you held to the Earth by White Gravity or Black Gravity?" Magick (as we spell it), in our worldview, is a basic force of Nature that people can train themselves to invoke and, to some degree (though not in the blatant ways that spells are cast in the HP books), manipulate. It's kind of the glue that holds the Universe together; nuclear physicists have other names for it. It's not good or evil (although it has cycles of creation and destruction, just as cells grow and die in our bodies); it just IS. We recognize many deities - or I should say many different aspects of the primal God and Goddess - and some of them are personifications of the "destructive" phase of the life cycle, but that doesn't make them "evil," any more than it is evil to shed dead skin. And we certainly don't believe in "devils" or "demons" whom we can invoke to wield "dark powers"; those stories are the fantasies of the Inquisition, made up to rationalize the persecution of people who were presenting too much competition to the business of Church university-trained doctors by practicing traditional arts of herbal medicine. (Many if not most Wiccans practice herbalism, but not all herbalists are Wiccans.) But I digress. There are places people can go to research Paganism and Wicca if they wish to know more. (And that is entirely up to them. Pagans vary widely in their beliefs and practices - there is very little dogma - but one thing we all have in common is that we don't proselytize.) What I did want to point out, though, is that although we have more reason than most to be annoyed by the Potter books, most Pagans I know actually find them fun and enjoyable. After all, if you're going to survive in a world where many people would like to go back to the Burning Times, it helps to have a sense of humor! And everybody needs a little fantasy escape sometimes. There's the bottom line: The HP novels are pure escapist fantasy. Any resemblance to actual witches, living or dead, is purely coincidental. (And hopefully, no actual witches were harmed in the production of these movies.)

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