LOTR on 'Banned Texts' List at Hogwarts - Steven Cavanagh reports for the Daily Prophet

The List of Banned and Forbidden Texts has been released again at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and this year it's generating more than the usual amount of controversy. Among tomes judged to be poisonous to young minds, such as Witch-Hunting for Dummies and The Daily Financial Review, the popular novel Lord of the Rings, by muggle writer J.R.R Tolkien, now resides.

"It's the first time we've had to ban a comedy" acknowledges Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of the school. "Like everyone else, I had a chortle over the concept of house-elves having their own noble society and being wise and respected, but some things in that book are just not suitable for young wizards and witches. I'm thinking of bringing in some dementors for school security, and after reading about those ringwraiths my students will run at first sight of them. And the recurring theme of magic fading from the world has caused terrible rumours, even among the staff".

Mr Dumbledore slams critics who claim he only opposes the book due to the many references to a parody of himself. "I can take a joke with the best of them" he defends. "Even when it gets past a joke. If I had a galleon for every time those Weasley twins have used a grey colour-changing spell on my robes while they're at the laundry..."

Much of the magical community can see his point, such as second year student Lucius Malfoy. "The only reason wizards are even in this book is just to help muggles" he points out. "What sort of role model is that? You even have a magical being giving up her heritage to marry a muggle. It's a mudblood manifesto".

Why, then, such interest in Lord of the Rings? "It touches something inside all of us" explains Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Gilderoy Lockhart. "It addresses that deep need we all have to be able to face the dark lord and actually say his name. Sauron. Sauron. Look! Nothing's happening! Sauron!"

The move to ban the book is not welcomed by all. "I've had a lot less trouble keeping the students out of the forbidden forest since that book became popular" says caretaker Hagrid. "Even the ones who have pet spiders of their own. Still, they know it's just a book. It's not as if we have some little chosen fellow running around here turning invisible".

One of the hardest accusations leveled against the novel is that its popularity exposes muggles to the secret magical world. However the man best placed to confirm this insists that the opposite effect is taking place. "It used to be a nightmare keeping everyone out of sight of the muggles- I was swamped with work" says Arthur Weasley of the Ministry of Magic. "Nowadays we can just stroll down any street in our robes and people don't seem to notice. Except for the odd comment- I don't suppose you know the meaning of the muggle word `Fanboy'?"

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