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Harry Potter's Epic Battle Isn't War Between Classes

June 24, 2003

Re "Harry Flips His Whig," Commentary, June 20: Richard Adams gives us yet another deep criticism of the Harry Potter novels, focusing this time on issues of class and status.

He should be reassured that millions have enjoyed these stories without being seduced by their subject matter and environment.

Earlier, some critics warned that the books were teaching diabolical practices, particularly to our tender young. Nothing has appeared in the press about such a scourge.

Now, according to Adams, we have to worry about the implications of class warfare, and particularly to take account of Rowling's view of the English middle class. Given that Adams writes for the Guardian newspaper, which has a reputation for left-wing social views, perhaps we should not be surprised.

If only the world could be freed from overzealous and narrow-minded diggers into supposed sinister messages in our literature!

Brian Taylor

Newport Beach

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With all of the culprits in the world to criticize, I find Adams' piece about the Harry Potter books off the mark. To find fault with an author who has inspired thousands of children to read books -- who previously resisted that pleasure -- is a bit "humbuggy." Do I spy an envious unpublished novelist?

Ellie Schiff Bernard

Los Angeles

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It's hard to tell whether Adams is disappointed or pleased that J.K. Rowling doesn't try to break out of every social stereotype in her Harry Potter books. He seems only to have read part of the story.

He doesn't seem to recognize that the most severe disdain in the books is reserved not for the middle-class muggles like the Dursleys but for the upper-crust wizards like the Malfoys.

He also doesn't remember the occasions when, far from cautioning Harry against risk, Hermione encourages him to take serious risks.

Throughout the books, it's clear that people, in general, are good and bad -- whether rich or poor, magic or muggle, male or female -- and that the characters nearest to the action are frequently asked to stretch themselves.

Dennis Lundblad

Asheville, N.C.

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