Which Witch? The Controversy Surrounding Bewitched and Harry Potter
Turbiville, Natalie F.
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Beginning in 1999, J.K. Rowling began to receive criticism about her Harry Potter series, which was first published in 1997. Christian Fundamentalists in opposition to the books argued that occult themes present in the series were harmful to the spiritual development of children. Those in opposition cited the negative response to the popular TV series Bewitched during its initial airing in the 1960s as grounds for rejecting Harry Potter. This connection was made because the popular television series and the successful book series both contained witchcraft elements; however, this connection is false. Primary sources show that Bewitched was not challenged based on the issue of witchcraft during its initial airing in the 1960s and 1970s. Despite modern Christian fundamentalistsâ claims, the modern negative response to Bewitched is built on contemporary reflection. When Christian fundamentalists seek to prove that their outcry against the witchcraft used in Harry Potter is not unique it is suggested that America had rejected a form of media based on witchcraft when the public spoke out against Bewitched in the 1960s. In fact, the claim that Bewitched received criticism during its initial airing is incorrect. My research shows a direct contemporary correlation between the protest to Harry Potter beginning in 1999 and the rejection of Bewitched by Christian fundamentalists based on the issue of witchcraft.