It’s been far too long since we’ve had a good Harry Potter controversy.
As we all know, Harry Potter has been the biggest literary phenomenon since the Bible. The seven novels propelled author J.K. Rowling from living on welfare to the fantasy world of a billionaire. The books have been accused of promoting the teaching of witchcraft and certain political agendas to young readers. Libraries and school districts banned them, haters of imagination burned them.
It’s been a while since we’ve had an old fashioned Harry Potter witch hunt and book burning, but have no fear, those delusional people are still alive and well — in India.
Now the Indian government is suggesting that The Boy Who Lived is responsible for India’s owl crisis. Wait you didn’t know India was in the midst of a serious owl crisis? Well, neither did anyone else, but “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is hitting theaters in 16 days, so now everyone does.
The Indian Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, claims that the disappearance of their country’s wild owls is due Potter fans wanting their own personal Hedwig, trained to deliver broomsticks and Bernie Botts Every Flavor Beans.
“Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle class for presenting their children with owls,” claims Ramesh
According to Ramesh, a fictional wizard is in some way responsible for the drastic decrease in India’s owl population. Forget addressing the fact that the country actually has a black market full of owl dealers. Ramesh also seems to dismiss the fact that enough of these parents are stupid enough to indulge their spoiled children’s ridiculous requests.
There is something fundamentally wrong if back-alley owl sales is considered a matter of national concern.
Ramesh’s statements appear to be in response to a report entitled “The Imperiled Custodians of the Night” conducted by wildlife group TRAFFIC. The report was written by Abrar Ahmed, a relatively unknown ornithologist (dude who studies birds) who brought to life India’s recent plight of the owls.
The research shows that the main reason for the dwindling owl population is the unnecessary sacrifice and murder of owls due to religious beliefs and superstitions. During the upcoming holiday of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, many owls will be offered as religious sacrifice. In fact the TRAFFIC report indicates thousands of owls are illicitly traded and many of those owls are sacrificed for “auspicious” occasions. In Indian culture owls are thought to have mysterious magical powers, making them valuable on the black magic practitioners.
Harry Potter fans have been know to be a pretty obsessive and rather strange sect of society. Yes,
we they attended midnight book release parties and dress up for movie premieres. Plenty of fans have re-read the books multiple times, and pride themselves in knowledge obscure trivia, like ‘who was the first person in the series to put on the sorting cap?’ (Hannah Abbott) Some fans might even own a wand, or maybe they’re holding out to find something more authentic than a generic plastic stick with a light-up tip.
But no one is jumping off rooftops with a broomstick expecting to fly, and certainly no one is keeping owls as pets. However it doesn’t mean kids didn’t put it on their Christmas list, but that is so 2001. I mean they aren’t even cool pets. A cool method of mail delivery, yes, but not a pet.
I’m curious how the Indian pet owl-owning population is going to react when Hedwig dies within the first ten minutes of the new movie? (Spoiler whoops) Are they going to move on to the dwindling giant tarantula and dragon populations? Because who knows the environmental backlash they’ll face if they violate the Mythical Creature Treaty of 1378.
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