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From Poppolitics.com

In Defense of Harry Potter (buffy mention)

Saturday 23 July 2005, by Webmaster

OK, sure. It’s easy to critique the Potter craze. Handsome white male hero. For that matter, a totally Friends-like cast that we’re supposed to see as racially diverse while ignoring that all the main characters are white. Add an elite, segregated society and a good-versus-evil plotline, and you’ve got yourself a good solid lefty whipping post. Go ahead. Take a crack. I won’t stop you. Heck, I’ll probably agree.

But I also bought the latest installation in hard cover before its release, and read the whole thing (that’s 652 pages, for you Muggles out there) in one. single. day. Complete with sobbing like a baby at the end.

Why do I love Harry Potter so? Isn’t enough that Half Blood Prince grossed more this weekend than the top two summer box-office releases combined? That’s right - we as a country spent more money this weekend on a book for children than we did on tickets to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Wedding Crashers combined. These weren’t even small openings - they’re credited in large part with breaking Hollywood’s recent slump.

Any time books beat movies, especially among the under-twenty set, who are still forming their media and entertainment habits, you can count me a fan. But this is not just any book.

Rowling, Potter’s creator, has made her enormous fortune by meticulously creating a world through which children (and adults) can explore the complexities of racism (through pervasive discrimination against “mudbloods,” or wizards born of non-magical parents), class dynamics (through Harry’s best friend Ron, and through the challenging plot line about house-elves, who are servant slaves who resist being freed), the evils that can be done by a self-interested government bureaucracy, and so much more.

It’s a world where, refreshingly, the people who seem evil are most often not really the evil people. Where misfit kids discover they are more powerful than they could have imagined. Where ability and determination are more important than parentage, where wise, well-meaning adults are sometimes wrong, and our teenage heroes act like actual teenagers, complete with hormonal tantrums and rash, self-important decisions. In fact, except for the ways all of Rowilings’ smart, brave, skilled women are frustratingly forced to play second fiddle in the plot, I could be describing Buffy. And for me, that’s the highest praise of all.

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