POTTER IS NOT A GATEWAY DRUG: Very cool letter in the Feb. 3-9 National Catholic Register from a 14-year-old defender of the bespectacled wizardling. Anne Marie Sohler writes, after quoting a Register op-ed slamming Rowling’s “pseudo-morality”: “I do not deny that modern culture is chock-full of pseudo morality, dipped in a nice sugar coating–to please parents, of course. I have found the Harry Potter series to be filled with evil. Real, terrifying, unwholesome evil. However.

“J.K. Rowling does not glorify it. …She shows, equally, the forces of good. The joy and power of innocence, the holiness of human life, and the absolute love in self-sacrifice.”

Sohler quotes one of the Potter books: “‘Harry Potter, do you know what unicorn blood is used for?’ ‘No,’ said Harry, startled by the odd question. ‘We have only used horn and tail in potions.’

“‘That is because it is a monstrous thing to slay a unicorn,’ said Firenze. ‘Only one that has nothing to lose and everything to gain would commit such a crime. The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself, and you will have nothing but a half life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.’ Harry stared at the back of Firenze’s head, dappled silver in the moonlight. ‘But who’d be that desperate?’”

Sohler: “Some may look at that and think, ‘Hey, do I see some pro-life undertones there?’ Others: ‘Did Harry say potions? Lord help us!’”

About Eve Tushnet