MyLeaky Login

Join the largest Harry Potter Social Network on the Web! | FAQ

In the News

Book Rumor: Bush administration denied J.K. Rowling medal because Harry Potter books "encouraged witchcraft"

J.K. Rowling
Posted by: Melissa
September 24, 2009, 02:25 PM

The new book SPEECH-LESS: Tales of a White House Survivor, a behind-the-scenes account of life in the George W. Bush presidential administration (published by Crown Books), has an interesting nugget for Harry Potter fans, as a reader has pointed out: according to the book's author, Matthew Latimer, J.K. Rowling's name was once in consideration for a presidential medal but was rescinded because the books "encouraged witchcraft." The relevant text is on page 201 of the book and reads:

[President Bush's chief speechwriter] Marc [Thiessen] liked to encourage a broad range of opinions from others, so long as theirs agreed with his. When Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I suggested that the president might at least consider awarding Kennedy the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Marc objected with the genteel diplomacy he was known for. 'That's crazy!' he thundered. ...This was the same sort of narrow thinking that led people in the White House to actually object to giving the author J.K. Rowling a presidential medal because the Harry Potter books encouraged witchcraft.

George W. Bush served as president of the United States from January 2001 to January 2009. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." It is not always given to an American: during the Bush administration, presidential medal recipients included former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

During the Bush administration, the president and his wife, First Lady Laura Bush, were very vocal about their like for the Harry Potter books; Laura Bush called them her "favorite": "It was like finding a great mystery writer and having that whole body of work to read at once. I really loved them," she said.

You can purchase the book here.

Previous Article | Next Article Browse all Recent J.K. Rowling News


1126 Points

What a retard.
There must be millions of witches running around over the world…

Posted by shellymione {WBM} on September 25, 2009, 06:47 AM report to moderator
268 Points

Nothing that we can’t expect from them… encouring witchcratf…

But JKRowling doesn’t need any more prizes for her work! She truly knows her worth and we all love all!

Posted by Hmrc5 on September 25, 2009, 06:49 AM report to moderator

I find it disturbing that this site will not post one word of a rumor about any single cast, crew, editor, author etc. remotely connected with HP but has no problem posting this in big bold letters……

Posted by Fawkesyou on September 25, 2009, 07:34 AM report to moderator
2570 Points

Wow people who say it is bad havent read them

Posted by madman1277 on September 25, 2009, 09:10 AM report to moderator
149 Points

rubbish! Its rumour I don’t believe it

Posted by SnapesSilverDoe on September 25, 2009, 09:39 AM report to moderator
7239 Points

If you read, carefully, you will note that it was not President Bush who objected, but his “advisors”…As stated…“they [Mr and Mrs Bush] were very vocal, about their like for the Harry Potter books;Laura called them her favorite”. It is amazing, to me [as a citizen of the US] how a hand full of “advisors” can taint something as wonderful as a Presidential Medal…making it look like it was the President’s decision..BAH!

Posted by Confederate Lady [CL, Rawwrrrr] on September 25, 2009, 10:21 AM report to moderator
580 Points

what a pile of frogspawn! do they really think were going to go out moonbathing naked? harry potter portraits a more innocent wandwaving type of magic anything, hardly anything to get concerned about…

…and also…i agree with Noble Birth Decending, that the books have actually made me closer to Jesus than i was before them. In Hindsight, JKRowling has turned many millions of children into people who are interested in reading, she deserved a knighthood never mind a bloody medal!

Posted by AbbieAstoria on September 25, 2009, 11:30 AM report to moderator
305 Points

What is the deal with people who think HP encourages witchcraft? If they read the books they would know it DOESN’T! All of this is so stupid!

Posted by weasleygirl101(ROAR) on September 25, 2009, 11:37 AM report to moderator
150 Points

this seems silly, also does the US govenment give out lots of medals to non americans? I don’t know.

Plus like alot of people have said there isn’t much to go on.

Posted by Traci on September 25, 2009, 12:11 PM report to moderator
4452 Points


Posted by Beazy :) (Formerly: MidnightSun321 ) {!!ROAR!!} on September 25, 2009, 12:22 PM report to moderator
174 Points

oh AS IF

Posted by horsepatronus64 on September 25, 2009, 12:26 PM report to moderator

er, folks? first, its a throw away snippet, and not worth getting excited about. second, Latimer is simply giving us one of the first “tell all the dirty laundry” books about the Bush II administration, and frankly its not as important as the ones that will emerge about the decisions concerning the Afghan and Iraqi wars, the treatment of Colin Powell, and so on.

The real insult evident in the anecdote concerns Ted Kennedy, not JKR. It has been, even in the most divisive of times, for US political opponents to recognize each others contributions, even and especially if they disagreed. For Ted Kennedy to be intentionally dissed was/is a disgrace. If the decision was made at a low level, which is what this very short snippet suggests, then that tells us more about how power and authority was exercised during the Bush II administration than anything else.

Also, please don’t forget that a small but very vocal and very financially important segment of the support of the US republican party does come from those who perceive the HP world as a threat to their “values”.

Posted by budb on September 25, 2009, 12:27 PM report to moderator
73 Points

Come on people, this obviously wasn’t Bush denying her the medal. He had said how much he likes the books. It was just a crazy speechwriter who was…well, crazy.

Posted by cowhampshiremoo on September 25, 2009, 12:36 PM report to moderator

Waving hi to Mollywobbles, Confederate Lady, Headmistress…..and in general to all, sorry if I missed anyone in particular!

Melissa, I must admit, the shift over to MyLeaky and requiring log-ins has thankfully and dramatically cut down on some of the more unpleasant conversations that we saw in the past. A good move on the part of Leaky!

However, may I ask all of my fellow HP fans to read Leaky’s original news articles (not just this one, but any that are posted!) closely before sharing their thoughts? Too often there is a huge disconnect between the information in the articles and the responses some of you are hastily sharing.

Posted by budb on September 25, 2009, 12:39 PM report to moderator
81 Points

okay seriously thats just stupid. Just because people read twilight doesn’t mean they are going to run out and start doing withch craft. its a fictational book for goodness sake, and a very awesome book by the way :)

Posted by loonymoonyy on September 25, 2009, 12:45 PM report to moderator
You must be logged in to MyLeaky to comment. Please click here to log in.

Finding Hogwarts
PotterCast Interviews Jo Rowling! Click here to Listen! The Books Everything...Half-Blood Prince...and the rest of the HP Films Leaky Apps

Scribbulus Essay Project

Issue 28 - Aug. 2014

Scribbulus is THE place for Leaky Cauldron readers to submit their essays and opinion pieces!
See more over at Scribbulus!

Guess That Book

[i]"Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow,[br]Turn this stupid fat rat yellow."[/i]

Learn to knit your own 'Weasley Sweater'. Learn to brew your own 'Butterbeer'. Find out how at Leaky Crafts!