Cracked Investigates: Has Vladimir Putin Even Read/Watched 'Harry Potter'?
Recently, eternal Russian president Vladimir Putin compared himself to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling because he feels both are being "canceled" over their views: in Rowling's case because of her brave stand against one of the most vulnerable and historically marginalized groups in society and in Putin's because he feels he should be able to drop cluster munitions on other country's hospitals without everyone getting on his case about it. We'll remind you that Rowling is still a millionaire author with an ongoing multimedia franchise, and Putin is still bombing hospitals to his heart's content.
Putin lamented that Rowling should have to face criticism for her opinions given that her books "were sold in the hundreds of millions around the world." But does Putin have the vaguest clue what those books are about? Has he personally read the Harry Potter series? Has he ever sat down to watch the movies at home? Or did he watch them on opening night after camping outside the cinema for 36 hours? Has Vladimir Putin ever logged into Pottermore to find out which Hogwarts House he belongs to? Was Vladimir Putin heartbroken because he wanted Hufflepuff but got Slytherin? How many conventions has he attended while cosplaying as Bulgarian wizard Viktor Krum?
We know that Putin is an avid reader and has no problem consuming Western books, including fantastic ones like The Little Prince or the works of Jules Verne. "The characters depicted in their books, who are brave and resourceful people embarking on exciting adventures, definitely shaped my inner self," he once wrote. Harry Potter was certainly a brave and resourceful boy whose adventures were of the utmost excitement, so in that sense, the books seem right up Putin's alley. It's not that far-fetched to imagine Vladimir Putin keeping Rowling's books in his personal library in order to have easy access to them at all times, like Justin Trudeau. (If you can't immediately spot them in the photo below, you're a fake fan.)
It's not completely outside the realm of possibility that Putin might have a similar shelf with well-loved copies of every Harry Potter video game, including the early Game Boy ones, elsewhere in his home. There is no hard evidence to refute the notion of Putin having already pre-ordered the next one for the Xbox Series X at his local game store. We cannot conclusively rule out the chance that Vladimir Putin got angry, and even a little bit teary-eyed, after reading a "SNAPE KILLS DUMBLEDORE" spoiler while browsing ebaumsworld.com in 2005. The Deathly Hallows tattoo on Putin's lower back area exists in a state of quantum superposition, neither proved nor disproved.
On the other hand, it seems that when Putin likened himself to Rowling, he didn't foresee the fact that his possible favorite author doesn't like him back:
Even a quick glance at the Wikipedia page for the Harry Potter books, a series about wizards stopping a fascist uprising, would have revealed that Rowling's work doesn't quite line up with Putin's values. So we must conclude that Putin is not that familiar with the series and has probably never ridden a single Harry Potter-themed roller coaster at Universal Studios. Putin has, in all likelihood, never bought a mug of each House at the gift shop after the ride because gosh, they're all just so great. Vladimir Putin probably doesn't even know what his Patronus is (or what that word means).
Anyway, hopefully being endorsed by a world leader currently bombing civilians in another country will make Rowling rethink some of her positions regarding "cancel culture," but if Neo-Nazis, anti-democratic insurrectionists, climate change denialist conservative think tanks, and of course, thousands of violent bigots didn't do the trick, we're not holding our breath.
Top image: Warner Bros. Pictures, Wikimedia Commons