Sea of Noise

Tue, 08 Jun 2004

Queering Harry Potter


I've been meaning to blog about Michael Bronski's excellent essay in the September 2003 Z Magazine since, well, September or so. With the release of the new Harry Potter movie right around the corner it seems a good time to mention "Queering Harry Potter":

. . . The Harry Potter books are a threat to normally accepted ideas about the social welfare and good mental health of American children. Not because they romanticize witchcraft and wizardry, but because they are subversive in their unremitting attacks on the received wisdom that being "normal" is good, reasonable, and even healthy.
The Harry Potter books are, in a word, queer. As used today, "queer" means "homosexual," but it has larger connotations too. The word also suggests a more generally deviant, nonconformist, renegade identity. . . .

It's well worth a read, and right on the money.

Julian Sanchez makes a similar point in his review for Reason:

While most parents celebrate anything that gets adolescents to put down the remote and pick up a book -- a powerful bit of magic in itself -- others are concerned that the series celebrates the "dark arts." Perhaps parents and teachers who relish unquestioned obedience are right to be concerned about the books, but their focus is misplaced. It is not the magic but the morality of Harry Potter that is subversive.

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