Yes, I admit I am one of the dorks and kids of all ages and races who bought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on Sat afternoon and spent a good chunk of the following 24 hours reading all 700+ pages.

What can I say? It’s good.

Being called a “Mudblood” in the series is akin to a racial slur. There are also bonded servants in the form of house-elves. People are tortured or enslaved for not having enough or any of the right genetic makeup. Sound familiar?

After the moral themes of the book on meritocracy, freedom and equality, I was a bit disappointed by the ending. I won’t give anything away. All I am saying is that this last book offered an opportunity to be as clear as possible about the evils of hypocrisy, self-hatred and of racism — for both individuals and society at large. After a title like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the previous book), I was expecting a bit more. Perhaps J.K. Rowling thought it might be overkill to state things clearly. I for one am not so sure.

For example, the Wikipedia entry on “Blood Purity (Harry Potter)” fails to discuss any of the morality or philosophy detailed in the series at all. Instead it contains a lengthy genealogical listing that pants over the pure-bloods with half-bloods next and of course Muggles (or Mudbloods) last. Yet as in real life, there is no word fraught with such weight as “Mudblood” that is ever tossed at the pure-blood wizards.

Hmph. You seldom hear in the hype about Harry Potter any discussion of these themes either. It’s only the sensational stuff about fundamentalist Christians banning the book or some Jewish parents protesting the book’s release on the Sabbath.

J.K. — a lot of the kids probably get it, many of their parents, your editors, you and I — we all get it. But are you so sure that everyone will hear the message you are sending? Will they all hear the racism in the voices of the evil characters? Will see the references to the Holocaust, genocide and even the roots of societal wrongs like homelessness (the wandless)?

I wonder. Speaking as a “half-breed” kid who got called as bad or worse than “Mudblood” at times in school, I would have preferred you bring the message home as clear as possible…

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