Harry Potter's History of Controversy

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What in the world are are we going to argue about without Harry Potter?


In the 14 years since the first J.K. Rowling tome about kid wizards debuted—and in the 10 years since the first film adaptation of those tomes—the series has become a flashpoint for chatter about decidedly non-fantastical issues: Questions about religion, sexuality, adolescence, stardom, and entertainment have all arisen. And why wouldn't they, given the enormous cultural presence the series has held? When the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 opens at midnight tonight, the franchise's story will officially be over—but it's a good bet that the arguing about it won't be.

Oh: There's a spoiler about the 6th book and movie ahead—but in all likelihood, you've already been exposed to it.

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Spencer Kornhaber is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he edits the Entertainment channel. More

Before coming to The Atlantic, he worked as an editor for AOL's Patch.com and as a staff writer at Village Voice Media's OC Weekly. He has also written for Spin, The AV Club, RollingStone.com, Field & Stream, and The Orange County Register.

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