In the wizarding world, spells like "Expelliarmus" and "Stupefy" hit the hardest. But on Twitter, author J. K. Rowling is finding that she doesn't need a wand to make a serious impact — 140 characters will do.
The best-selling children's book author took the time out of her busy post-Potter schedule yesterday to respond to a 2012 tweet from Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson. Pierson has been no stranger to controversy during her tenure working for the presidential candidate, with a Twitter feed that liberal commentators suggest makes the pair well suited for each other.
But the tweet Rowling surfaced from the 2012 election was particularly inflammatory.
Pierson was correct: in 2012, both the major parties' nominees had parents who were not born in the United States. But the idea that there could be "pure breed" Americans, that there could be some Americans that are more American than others, seems to fly in the face of much of what our country stands for.
Rowling's response to Pierson's tweet was simple and incisive.
Despite operating within a fantastical world populated by wizards, witches, and blast-ended skrewts, Harry Potter holds up a startlingly insightful (and young adult-friendly) mirror to our society's moral and political complexities. And although The Death Eaters, a "pure blood" group of wizards and witches working to eliminate those with "impure" magical blood, are most evidently inspired by Nazi doctrine, it's hard not to see their vendetta's uneasy relationship with Pierson's tweet.
By comparing Pierson and Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric to that of the Death Eaters, Rowling put them in the context of one of the most widely read good-versus-evil fables of our times — and placed them squarely on the wrong side of it.
This isn't the first time that Rowling has used her Twitter account or her beloved characters to contribute to larger social discussions. In December, she supported the new Harry Potter play's color-blind casting of a black woman as bookworm Hermione Granger, a part previously played by Emma Watson. She also urged reconciliation between the Palestinian and Israeli communities with the observation that Dumbledore, the "moral heart of the books," was always prepared to "go to the hilltop."
Ten points to Gryffindor.
Images via Daniel Ogren / Flickr and Ben Pruchnie / Getty Images.