Speed Reads

The More You Know

Jon Stewart thought more people would be aghast at Harry Potter's anti-Semitic banker goblins

Jon Stewart jumped seamlessly from bar mitzvahs to the Harry Potter franchise on the latest The Problem With Jon Stewart podcast. A bar mitzvah used to be a low-key affair with Torah recitation and pound cake, he said, but now "it's basically like saying 'The Jews have arrived, and we are going to dazzle you with the access.'"

"'The Jews Have Arrived' — what chapter of Harry Potter is that in?" staff writer Jay Jurden asked. "It's when they get to Gringotts, right?" And Stewart was off. 

It's obvious the goblins who run the Harry Potter bank are anti-Semitic caricatures, but people just wouldn't see it, Stewart said, recalling some hypothetical conversations. "Let me show you this from, it's the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I just want to show you a caricature.' And they're like, 'Oh, look at that, that's from Harry Potter!' And you're like, 'No, that's a caricature of a Jew from an anti-Semitic piece of literature.' J.K. Rowling was like, 'Can we get these guys to run our bank?'"

Rowling created a magical world were people ride dragons and there are magic train platforms, "and who should run the bank? Jews," Stewart said. "And not only that, I feel like she was like, 'Why did you make it so subtle?'" Jurden deadpanned. 

Staff writer Henrik Blix said even as an 11-year-old Harry Potter fan, he knew the goblin thing was messed up when he saw it in the movie. Stewart said that realization appeared surprisingly rare. "It was one of those things where I saw on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like, 'Holy s--t, she did not, in a wizarding world, just throw Jews in there to run the f--king underground bank!' And everybody was just like, 'Wizards.' It was so weird." There is some NSFW language, but watch below for the whole conversation, including Jurden comparing Dobby the house elf to Harriet Tubman.