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A history of Harry Potter books being burned — and J.K. Rowling’s perfect responses

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More like “Serious AF Rowling”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone cover
The U.S. cover for the first Harry Potter novel, known in the country as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Scholastic

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has earned the scorn of Donald Trump supporters over the past few months, but recently, readers who don’t align with Rowling’s political views have taken it one step further by burning her books.

After publicly condemning Trump’s immigration ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, Rowling was faced with angry tweets from few readers who were “disgusted” with her response. Rowling then blurred out the names, pictures and handles of a few readers and reposted the messages, offering her thoughts on each. They can be seen below.

Rowling’s responses are a little more straightforward than they usually are when people take issue with her political views, but the concept of burning Harry Potter books as retaliation isn’t new. In 2001, people held a bonfire in New Mexico to burn the books because they believed the novels perpetuated the idea of satanism. In response to the news of certain schools banning the novels for similar reasons, Rowling effectively said she didn’t care.

“I have met thousands of children now, and not even one time has a child come up to me and said, “Ms. Rowling, I’m so glad I’ve read these books because now I want to be a witch,” Rowling said to the BBC at the time.

Since the debut of the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, there have been ongoing arguments within various school boards to have the books banned. In one famous 2005 instance, a mother in Gwinnett, Georgia, took the case all the way to the state supreme court in 2007, alleging that Harry Potter promoted witchcraft and the occult to students.

Rowling also reportedly lost out on the Presidential Medal of Freedom under George W. Bush’s presidency because of accusations that the Harry Potter series promoted witchcraft and satanism. For the most part, Rowling has chosen not to respond. This time, however, Rowling has specifically called out the alt-right, a white nationalist movement that rose to mainstream prominence during the 2016 U.S. election rallying behind Donald Trump.

Since the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, there have been at least six book burnings for the series on record in the U.S. Rowling, a self-identified Christian, argued that the books encompass all religions and, like many aspects of Harry Potter, were inclusive to all.

“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home,” Rowling said after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

Rowling, who’s still tweeting her views on political issues, wrapped up her responses today by thanking readers and fans for the positive messages.

“I’d like to thank everyone sending me lovely messages, which greatly outnumber the bad ones,” Rowling tweeted. “I’m now off to produce more kindling... .”

Correction: Clarified language describing the alt-right.