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The Harry Potter Canon

And the child that has been protected from the Dementors in fiction, I would argue, is much more likely to fall prey to them later in life in reality.

J. K. Rowling Interview with Stephen Fry for Radio 4, December 2005 (R4)

Commentary

Part of a larger statement about the importance of fantasy, even fear, in literature for kids:

I feel very strongly that there is a move to sanitize literature because we're trying to protect children not from, necessarily, from the grisly facts of life, but from their own imaginations.

I remember being in America a few years ago and Halloween was approaching, and three television programmes in a row were talking about how to explain to children it wasn't real. Now there's a reason why we create these stories, and we have always created these stories, and the reason why we have had these pagan festivals, and the reason why even the church allows a certain amount of fear... we need to feel fear, and we need to confront that in an controlled environment. That's a very important part of growing up, I think. And the child that has been protected from the dementors in fiction, I would argue, is much more likely to fall prey to them later in life in reality.

And also, what are we saying to children who do have scary and disturbing thoughts? We're saying that's wrong, that's not natural, and it's not something that's intrinsic to the human condition. That they're in some way odd or ill.

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