Harry Potter

Slate’s take on the wondrous wizard.

Illustration by Charlie Powell.
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On Saturday, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will be released as the sixth installment of J.K. Rowling’s immensely popular fantasy series. In 2004, Steven Waldman exposed the similarities between Harry Potter and the Left Behind books. David Edelstein reviewed the movie versions of Harry’s first, second, and third years at Hogwarts. Slate devoted two Book Clubs to the wizard; in 1999, A.O. Scott and Polly Shulman discussed Harry’s love life and the series’homosexual undertones, and in 2003, David Edelstein proposed that J.K. Rowling “has many chips on her shoulder.” Mimi Swartz lamented the endless toys and tie-ins of “Potterfenalia,” while Chris Suellentrop, who was equally tired of Harry, labeled the supposed hero a “glory hog” and a “trust-fund kid.” Tim Wu explained why Harry Potter’s Slavic counterparts Tanya Grotter and Porri Gatter are in trouble, and Jesse Cohen made the case that the Potter series is a veiled critique of Thatcherism. Before the 2000 elections, Timothy Noah employed the Sorting Hat to place vice-presidential candidates into their appropriate Hogwarts houses; at the Iowa caucuses, he assigned future president George Bush to Slytherin.