In this essay Philip Nel argues that when analyzing the Harry Potter series one must separate the literary text from the “marketing juggernaut” that surrounds it. The first third of the essay, then, is an account of why one need not conflate the Harry Potter books and J.K. Rowling with the marketing campaign surrounding it, and the final two-thirds of the essay focus on the literary merits of these texts. So, in Nel’s attempt to separate the Potter books from the extraordinary marketing campaign surrounding it, he employs two basic arguments. Firstly, Nel claims that the books have generated so much marketing attention simply because of the way American copyright and trademark law works. Secondly, Nel asserts that Rowling is not really a part of the capitalist marketing regime surrounding her books because she donates a lot of money to charity. (Seriously, that is his argument.) Then the essay shifts to the literary merits of the Potter books, which are, bafflingly, almost as naïve and uninteresting as the arguments already mentioned. He begins this roughly twenty-page defense of the literary merits of Rowling’s books with a paragraph briefly describing the criticism that has been raised against the aesthetic merits of the works (this is by far the most interesting paragraph in the entire essay). Nel then says that these critics have simply not read “slowly” enough, and proceeds to tell us what we will find were we to read more slowly. I will not go through all the reasons he cites for why the Potter books have literary merit, but I will mention a few. One is that Rowling claims to have read Jane Austen’s Emma “at least 20 times,” and as a result shares Austin’s satiric charm and “narrative misdirection.” Also, Nel claims that Rowling’s series are “anti-rascist novels,” and he defends this claim by comparing them to boarding school novels written in that late eighteenth-century through the mid nineteenth-century. He points out that these novels were blatantly racist, whereas the Potter books once criticized the notion of “pure-bloods,” thus making them anti-racist novels. (Again, these are really the arguments Nel employs.) Another reason the Rowling books possess literary merit is the names that are used. As Nel points out, Rowling “uses names to connote character traits, as do Austen, Dickens, and Tolkein.” She then points to a few significant names as evidence of this, and concludes that this is further proof of the literary merit of these works. Nel provides a few more arguments in defense of the literary merit of the Potter series that I will not go into here (one is based on the fact that Rowling uses a lot of prime numbers, which are “mystical”), but I think the overall thrust of the essay has been captured. In order to do justice to the Potter books it is imperative that we separate them completely from the marketing surrounding them.