Study finds kids who read Harry Potter are more LGBT friendly
As the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play officially opens, PinkNews looks back at a study which found that young people who have read the books show greater acceptance of LGBT people.
Researchers from four universities joined forces to examine the attitudes of primary school, secondary school and college students, in correlation with their knowledge of J.K. Rowling’s wildly popular fiction series.
‘The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice’, published in the Journal Of Applied Social Psychology, shows that the secondary school students who had read more of the novels and identified with the eponymous hero Harry displayed more tolerance towards gay people.
The other studies showed that Harry Potter had a positive impact on attitudes towards immigrants and refugees, which were categorised as groups that are similarly discriminated against.
Rowling has never been coy about the fact that Harry Potter is a thinly-veiled analogy for the civil rights struggle, and in particular the rise of Nazism, with a lot of the plot centred on conflict between ‘pure-blood’ and ‘muggle-born’ or ‘half-blood’ witches and wizards.
The protagonist Harry Potter battles the evil Lord Voldemort and his Death Eater followers to ensure that all the magical world can live in peace.
The series even includes a werewolf character to represent how HIV-positive people experience discrimination based on fear and misconceptions surrounding their disease.
The famed author revealed last year that she would be writing a stage show about the story after Harry Potter left Hogwarts.
Some followers of Rowling were disappointed to hear that it would only be a stage production.
However they have since been appeased, as publisher Little, Brown, announced that the script will be published in a new book.
The famed author also took to Twitter to warn followers to read or see the play, that they would be driven to tears.
Written by Jack Thorne and directed by John Tiffany, the show has had input by JK Rowling.
It shows Potter as an “over-worked” employee at the MInistry of Magic, and also includes an artefact from his childhood.
The play also follows his youngest son Albus, who deals with the “heavy burden” of his family’s history.
175,000 tickets for the play sold within 24 hours of it going on sale in October and the play officially opens this weekend.
The cast was unveiled last December for the highly anticipated stage play – which will act as a sequel to the series.
Jamie Parker and Paul Thornley will play the roles of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley respectively – while the casting of Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger has divided reaction online.
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But Rowling revealed she deliberately never mentioned the ethnicity of Hermione – after the black actress was cast in the role.
She tweeted: “Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione [kiss emoji]”.
Little, Brown CEO David Shelley said: “We are so thrilled to be publishing the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Rowling and her team have received a huge number of appeals from fans who can’t be in London to see the play and who would like to read the play in book format – and so we are absolutely delighted to be able to make it available for them.”
Rowling earlier this year unveiled some of her rejection letters to help inspire fans not to give up on their dreams – and it was super inspiring.
The author was also named this year as one of the most philanthropic celebrities, alongside Elton John.