Magic, Muggles, and Moral
The vastly different attitudes toward a particular young wizard are truly remarkable. While shattering one publication record after another, the Potter series also elicits angry protests, hitting number one in the American Library Association’s list of the books most commonly challenged in school districts and public libraries in the United States. Some literary critics are among the series’ detractors, panning it as insignificant fluff, while others hail it as a minor classic. More than one critic has written that the books leave no room for the transcendent and numinous, while countless others level the charge that the books desensitize children to occult influences. Some view the books as contrary to Christian thought, while others see a deep congruence. Still others think of the Potter series as deeply moral, while certain vocal critics accuse it of advancing a highly subjectivist moral relativism. Just as Harry is amazed to discover his fame in the wizard world, he would be amazed to discover himself in a swirl of controversy among Muggles.
The astounding success of the Potter series, particularly among children, has without question had the salutary effect of drawing huge numbers of young people into reading. This widespread influence, however, is part of the reason why many adults have such grave qualms about it. The stories are about