Without neglecting the valid point that good fiction need not be overtly Christian, need not be religious at all, we might ponder a little the fact that the central metaphor and plot engines of the series are activities (witchcraft and sorcery) absolutely prohibited by God. We might also consider for a moment the fact that no sane parents would give their children books which portrayed a set of “good” pimps and prostitutes valiantly fighting a set of “bad” pimps and prostitutes, and using the sexual acts of prostitution as the thrilling dynamic of the story. By the same token we should ask ourselves why we continue to imbibe large doses of poison in our cultural consumption, as if this were reasonable and normal living, as if the presence of a few vegetables floating in a bowl of arsenic soup justifies the long-range negative effects of our diet.
Indeed, even by loving our enemies—at least by trying to learn to love them, and by believing that it is right to do so. With grace this is possible. But selective love (coupled with selective hatred) does not lead to freedom. It is the feelings of love without the substance of love, the feelings of freedom without the foundations of freedom. If God is the absent father—or the father who perhaps never existed—the hero and his readers are left only with such emotions, their hooked loyalties, their love of the self’s insatiable appetites, which they feel cannot be denied without a killing curse of self-annihilation. That is why so many people cling fiercely to the “values” in the Potter books while ignoring the interwoven undermining of those very values. That is why the defenders of Potterworld exhibit such adamancy, frequently outrage, against critics. According to their perceptions, the critics of Potterworld are the enemies of freedom and identity.