Harry Potter and the Banned Book
It’s that time of the year again as libraries, booksellers, and schools are celebrating Banned Books Week. While J.K. Rowling’s work has yet to make the top of the list in six years, Potter did its time from 2000 to 2009. The entire series was considered one of the most challenged or banned books across the globe for the past decade. This year’s listings feature favorites such as John Green’s Looking for Alaska, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in the No. 1 slot.
What does it mean for Potter now that it is no longer perched at the top of this bizarre honor? Is there a chance that the world is becoming more accepting of the boy wizard?
Time is on Potter‘s side; as the series continues to age, so does its audience. While the first generation of fans are passing the story on to relatives, friends, and offspring, there is a smaller chance Harry’s tale will be picked up on now that there are no more movies to accompany them (excluding Fantastic Beasts, but there is minimal direct connection between the two). With the story now complete, and much of the mystery concluded, there is not as much reason to fear or be wary of the series.
Most of the arguments behind banning Potter rely on the evidence of sorcery and magic being considered evil by religion. People claim the story of the trio reflects an unholy way to live based lying, stealing, and cheating rather than one of friendship and integrity.
Despite all of these claims, book sales remain unchanged as reported in 2014 that the series is one of the best-selling products of all time. I believe to this day that Potter being a challenged or banned book was one of the best things that happened to the series. For many, knowing that there is something in the world they should not have, their interest is piqued in that very thing.
I spoke with MuggleNet staff members and learned that for two, Cheyenne and Caitlin, Potter was banned from their life for a period of time. Cheyenne’s mother wanted to ensure that the series would not turn her into a witch, keeping her from reading or watching Potter until right before Prisoner of Azkaban was released in theaters. On the other hand, due to religion, Caitlin felt a tinge of fear toward the series since it was kept out of her house. Now, Caitlin has become passionate about learning how banned books affect relationships and getting Potter into other children’s hands.
Copies of the series may be burned around the world still in 2015, but the chance that a child or adult will be intrigued by the very thing that society is telling them to eliminate may bring another fan into our magical world.
No matter the novel or picture book, every piece of writing has a story to share. The fact that it’s banned may be more reason to pay attention to it since it usually has a message that is new and daring to society. Who knows, you might learn something from it.
What are some of your favorite banned novels? Share below!