18% of Americans veritable Potter-maniacs, 61% seen at least one movie

July 18, 2011, 3:20 PM GMT+0

In honor of the release of the final Harry Potter film, we thought we’d ask a few questions about the Harry Potter series.

According to our results, 18% of those surveyed had read all of the Harry Potter books—a whopping 4000 pages in total—and 31% had read at least one of the books. Among 18-34 years-olds, these percentages rose to respectively 32% and 48%. The movies posted even larger numbers than the books. 25% of Americans had seen all of the movies and 61% had seen at least one. Again among 18-34 year-olds, the percentages grew, to respectively 38% and 76%.

While the majority of Americans have had at least some exposure to the series, opinions about the books were definitively mixed. When asked for their opinion about the Harry Potter books:

  • 15% said that the series was a bad influence on children because it portrayed witchcraft
  • 45% said it was entertaining but no important life lessons
  • 39% thought that it was a good influence and had positive lessons to teach.

These responses skewed across political ideologies—32% of those who identified themself as Conservative condemned the Harry Potter books for portraying witchcraft, while 57% of those who identified themself as Liberal considered the books a positive influence.

In addition to charting the depth of Pottermania, we also tried to settle some burning debates by asking a few specific questions about the Harry Potter series to respondents who had read all the books or watched all the movies. The first was which spell from the Harry Potter series respondents would like to cast if they could cast only one spell. The three most popular options were the Summoning Charm (28%), the Memory Charm (15%) and the Hover Charm (11%). A frightful 5% chose the Avada Kedavra Curse, a spell which instantly kills the target and carries with it a life sentence in the wizarding prison Azkaban.

We also asked respondents which Hogwarts House they would want to be sorted into. An overwhelming majority chose Gryffindor (70%), the house of protagonists, Harry, Ron and Hermione. Somewhat surprisingly, the second most popular house was Hufflepuff (16%) known as, in the words of character Hagrid, “a lot o’ duffers.” Rounding out the selections were quick-witted Ravenclaw with 9% and crafty Slytherin with 6%.

Finally, we inquired about which characters respondents liked or admired the most. Harry Potter came in first, with 85% of respondents saying they admired him. He was then followed by Hermione Granger with 78%, Albus Dumbledore with 76%, Ron Weasley with 72% and Rubeus Hagrid with 62%. Severus Snape, an enigmatic character, who begins the series as a villain and only reveals his true colors by the seventh book, was chosen by 31% of respondents. At the low end of the spectrum, only 12% gave approval to Harry’s long-time rival, Draco Malfoy, and even less to Malfoy’s henchmen Crabbe and Goyle, who were both selected by only about 4% of respondents. The complete results were: