Subtler entertainers for children like Walt Disney and Mother Goose were known for creating magical universes, with the covert aim of introducing children to the concept of evil while disguising the fact that evil exists in the real world. Rowling, on the other hand, takes the Law & Order approach, lifting the most evil things she could find in history books and changing the names enough that she could still call it fiction.
For instance, what are children supposed to make of the series' antagonists, a group loosely organized around the ideal of "purity of blood?" What about their leader, Voldemort, who is the most rabid defender of blood purity despite that he himself is part Muggle? Cough, Hitler, cough. Oh, and how nice, she even made the word for those of impure blood close to "mongrel," the word that the KKK used to describe the racially impure.
Let's just hope that in the seventh and final installment, Rowling elects to forgo the Magi-caust, or the Muggle Rights Movement, and all of the innocence shattering violence that those events entail.
When asked in an interview to sum up the main theme of her novels, Rowling offers up a cheerful, "Death." And sure, why not? The countless 6-year-olds being read the Potter series as a bedtime story are going to have to face their mortality someday. What better way to tell them what we've all got waiting for us on the business end of 60 to 70 years than having likable classmates and parents murdered by an evil overlord who intends to use their husk of a corpse as a depository for his soul? We're all going to have to face it someday, right?
Well, at least the kids have the grandfatherly Dumbledore to explain away the pain, giving everything a rosy, paternal spin at the end of each book. The character is pretty much the closest thing to a fictional grandfather that a kid could want. So naturally, we might as well have ol' Dumbledore brutally murdered, too.
Yeesh, Rowling-these Potter plot summaries are starting to read like bad slashfic. We hate to side with conservative parents on anything, but for chrissake, we grew up playing Nintendo games where any person or mushroom we killed blinked a couple times and disappeared. Nobody was trying to prepare us for the realities of death. Why should the current generation of runny-nosed brats get to have all the gory fun?
Of all the cruel tricks an older brother or sister can play on their younger sibling, probably the most effective is to tell them that they were adopted. "Mom'll deny it, but on your 18th birthday they're going to sit you down and tell you that your real father is Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis."
Why? Because chances are, given all the fat morons we see lugging their kids around in supermarkets, you have awful parents. What underappreciated kid wouldn't want to find out they're really the the super-special Crown Prince of Wizard Land? Show us a 12-year-old who doesn't secretly believe this and we'll show you a child who has parents who are magical wizards who poop PlayStation 3s.
You might think this is harmless fantasy, until you realize that every young Harry Potter fan with a troubled home life spends his or her days waiting up for goblins to carry them off to a land where wizards don't come home drunk and yell at witches all night. Worse than this: For some reason, all of the people who love Harry and value his wizarding ability at the end of each book, against all reason and humanity, let him return to his abusive home each summer. Apparently, Harry's gotten adept at telling the Hogwarts nurses he "ran into a door again."