Witches Rejoice for Harry Potter

Maybe They Can’t Fly, But They Love Their Magical Portrayal in the Kid’s Book

By Buck Wolf

July 1, 2000 — Harry Potter sure knows which witch will bewitch a real witch.

Real witches just love the series of novels about the boy wizard who flies on his high-powered broomstick, The Nimbus 2000 (upgraded to a Firebolt), and studies all sorts of sorcery at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft. And just like everybody else, they’re eagerly awaiting the next installment, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

“It’s great fantasy,” says Phyllis Curott, the lawyer who won witch clergy the right to perform marriages in New York City.

“Sure, you are seeing witches in Harry Potter do things they don’t do in real life. But it is positive. They are friendly. They are good. The book might change the way people feel about us. You know, when you see how we are portrayed in the media, it’s not easy sometimes being a witch.”

And Toto Too …

You know the stereotype of wart-stubbled old crones, with twisted noses and pointy hats. “Heh-heh-heh, I’ll get you my pretty,” the Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West tells Dorothy.

But Harry Potter subtracts the witch fright factor. The 11-year-old orphan discovers on his birthday that he’s a legendary wizard, and that there’s a world of witches and wizards waiting to embrace him. That’s the basis of the Potter series, which is filled with magic potions, transfiguration and “defense against the dark arts.”

The July 8 release of Goblet of Fire now stands as a landmark in publishing. Advance orders have already pushed the book to No. 1 on’s best-seller list, even before anyone had seen a single page.


As far as witches are concerned, Pottermania is a far cry from last year’s box office surprise, The Blair Witch Project. The mock documentary borrowed elements of witchcraft’s ancient traditions and mixed them with gruesome B-movie horror.

“The people who made Blair Witch seemed to know a lot about the religion,” Curott says. “But they totally misrepresented what we are about, and they made us into monsters.”