JK rowling
© Dia Dipasupil/Getty ImagesAuthor J.K. Rowling
Mystery novelist Daniel Friedman took to X on Saturday to explain why so many young progressives — many of whom had grown up reading and loving the Harry Potter series — had grown so angry with author J.K. Rowling in recent years.

On the surface, many claim to be upset with her insistence on protecting sex-based rights and access, particularly for women, to single-sex spaces — and to trans-rights activists, that makes Rowling a "Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist" (TERF). But Friedman's theory is that the anger is rooted a bit deeper than that.

"The reason a lot of young progressives are so mad at JK Rowling is that they read the books as kids, and they thought they were Harry or Hermione. But they grew up into people like Percy or Dolores Umbridge or Cornelius Fudge or Rita Skeeter," Friedman began, naming characters who either actively denied reality or dutifully tattled on friends, neighbors, and even family members who refused to do the same. "And they know it. And on some level, they're ashamed."

"I'm reading the fifth book with my niece and it's kind of astonishing how well it tracks to contemporary controversies. And Rowling is on the same side now that she was when she wrote it. Which is the side of people who tell the truth, against people who suppress and deny the truth in service of their ideology," Friedman continued.

The author went on to explain that some characters, "unprepared" do deal with a reality they did not particularly like, simply denied it was happening — and because they held powerful political positions, they then insisted that everyone else participate in their delusions."

Harry is attacked by dementors while he's staying with his aunt and uncle, and he uses magic to defend himself. He's put on trial for using magic outside the school, and his defense is that he was protecting himself from the dementors," Friedman explained. "But [Minister of Magic] Fudge refuses to believe the dementors were there, because, if they're not in Azkaban where they're supposed to be, then that means his ministry has lost control of them."

Dolores Umbridge, the bureaucrat sent by the Ministry of Magic to rein in Professor Dumbledore — the headmaster and one of the few truly powerful people who is unafraid to speak the truth — behaved almost exactly as Fudge did.

"Umbridge insists that the students do not need to learn magical defense because nobody is going to attack them. Every time Harry protests, Umbridge punishes him sadistically," Friedman added. "She refuses to tolerate any evidence of truth that conflicts with her ideology, and zealously prosecutes heretics who speak against her beliefs."

Friedman's conclusion was simple:
"Twenty years ago, Umbridge, who zealously believes in the righteousness of her ideology, and, in the face of increasing evidence to the contrary, attempts to suppress that evidence and punish those who present it rather than changing her beliefs, probably read as a right-wing figure. But today, she's the perfect model of a woke bureaucrat."