The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling Podcast

Podcast LINK.

This was a really interesting look at JK Rowling’s life. I wasn’t aware of what kind of background she came from, other than that she wasn’t well off financially before publishing the Potter series.

When I first started listening to this, I was under the impression that it was just going to address the recent issues that Rowling has had with trans activists, but it also addresses the initial reception to her books in the United States in the 1990s, which was the tail end of a decade-long Christian religious revival.

I remember that period. Everything was the Devil. Everything was Satan trying to lure you away from the right path. Harry Potter books were a gateway into witchcraft and selling your soul to Satan. Once you’d read about the Sorcerer’s Stone, you were only one step away from sacrificing children. Or so the reasoning went. Well, not really. I think older religious people at the time had this fear that if kids found something they loved then they wouldn’t love the Bible and they would replace the Bible as the guiding influence in their life. I can see how that would be a valid concern, but trying to get your kids to love a book that’s 2000ish years old that doesn’t speak directly to modern day issues is a hard sell.

I never read the Harry Potter books because of the stigma that was associated with it. It wasn’t socially acceptable. Later, when the movies came out, I didn’t watch them because I thought they were just for kids. I was in my early 40s when I watched all of the movies and read all of the books, and realized just how much I’d missed out on. It’s an incredibly fun story with amazing characters and the stories would have been very meaningful to me as a kid.

Coming back to the podcast, there is a fair amount of discussion about how J.K. Rowling anticipated the reaction to her books because of the reaction from Christian conservatives. There is a fair amount of discussion about the abusive relationship she was in that was very inspiring. There is also a discussion about her stand regarding trans people, where she elaborates her thoughts more clearly than is possible on Twitter.

It was interesting and enlightening and I recommend it. Along with the Harry Potter books. But not the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies. Those are terrible. Hopefully the new Potter series coming to HBO Max will be worthwhile.