J. K. Rowling and her saga ‘Harry Potter’ -the best-selling in all history-, conquered the literary world from 1997, but not everywhere was received with the same enthusiasm. In North Korea, a country with tight literary control, hermetic with respect to culture from abroad, impenetrable if the work contradicts the dictates of the North Korean Workers’ Party, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone remained banned for twenty-three years. In the year 2020, taking a perhaps unpredictable turn, the official book censorship body considered that those of J. K. Rowling “… show the idea that children can mark their path with their own strength and ability.” Since then the readers of this country can enjoy the magical world of Hogwarts.
In the US, although it was a great sales success, its publication and distribution were not exempt from controversy and difficulties. The books of J.K. Rowling were accused of promoting witchcraft. In various libraries and educational institutes his books were censored. At the Catholic school St. Edward, of Nashville, as reported by the local newspaper The TennesseePastor Dan Reehil would write in one of his reports: “These books present magic as good and evil, which is not true, but is in fact a clever hoax. The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; that when a human being reads them, he risks conjuring up evil spirits in the presence of the person reading the text.”
Así que, y según este señor, cuando los niños leen Harry Potter, están expuestos a ser poseídos por las fuerzas oscuras del endemoniado Príncipe de las Tinieblas. In December 2001, in Otero County, also in the southern United States, a large group of fanatics led by pastor Jack Brod condemned the novel to the flames. “To the stake with Harry Potter!”, he declared on January 1, 2002 on the BBC News Mundonews portal.
Of course, the obsession with witchcraft did not end there. It was 2003 when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -later Pope Benedict XVI-, perhaps excessively concerned about the education of adolescents and the influence on them of Harry Potter commented: “…they are subtle seductions that go unnoticed and deeply distort Christianity in the soul before it can grow properly.”
More recently, the Canadian writer Margaret Atwood also had to overcome the intolerant excesses of religious sectors in the US. The publication of his novel The Handmaid’s Tale -brought to TV in 2017 through a series with the same title- narrating a fictitious dystopian society that is rejectable in itself, it exposes us to a dictatorship where, after a military coup d’état and the assassination of the nation’s president, it reaches power undesirable people. In an interview conducted by BBC-Mundo at the Hay Festival Cartagena, he said: «… I wroteThe Handmaid’s Taleto pose several questions, for example: if the US had totalitarianism or a dictatorship, what kind would it be? would it be communist? would it be called fascist? No, it would be religious.