Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Blog Question Of The Day Is

Brought to you by Robin.

On Thursday, September 07, 2006, Robin said, commenting on this post: 

"I know this seems menial compared to all the other things you did today, but I am surprised you let your kids near Harry Potter books.
I think they are full of the things we are supposed to avoid as Christians, witchcraft, sorcery.....
What are your thoughts?"


This is a great question.

I actually didn't start reading the Harry Potter books til just last year, or the year before.

I was slightly ambiguous about the launching of the Harry Potter books in the States, and the ensuing uproar in the Bible Belt.

It was after the first few movies had come out, and the second wave of discussion began that I decided to read the first book, to judge for myself. 

I am, if you've not noticed, a bit of a rebel, and consequently I don't  like to be to told what I should think. I prefer to do my own thinking and draw my own conclusions.

So, because "everyone" said -Stay away from Harry Potter! Harry Potter is of the Devil!, I read "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone".

I continued to read the next 4 books.

When I was finished I started to read them to the boys.

I enjoy the Harry Potter books, by J.K.Rowling, because they are well written.

As literature, they shine. The plots and characterization are well thought out and superbly developed. The characters remain consistent throughout the sequels. The story line is woven with skill and attention to detail, and each book contributes to the whole while being equally able to stand on its own.

Every one of the, so far, six Harry Potter books has had a theme of forgiveness, repaying evil with good and the redemptive, covering power of love.

The magic of Harry Potter, is just the background setting for the story. It's easy to see that the "magic" in the books is imaginary... the words of potions ingredients and spells make it obvious that they are made up. It's harder to see that fantasy portrayed in the movies. When a child hears the stories it weaves a fantasy world in his head, one that would be exciting to belong to, but which is pure fantasy. That's part of the charm of fantasy- it would be lovely, or exciting, but you know it's not real.

That said, I wouldn't let Micah see any of the movies at the theatre, and then only at home when they could be rented after he was almost 12 years old. I wouldn't recommend reading the books aloud to children much younger than 10, although children vary in their ability to differentiate between reality and fantasy. I do recommend reading aloud over having them read the books themselves the first time, because you have the opportunity to talk about what's happening. There were  a few parts in the last two books that were becoming too scarey, so I was able to say- "Do you want me to just tell you what happens?".

As a parent and someone who's trying to walk with Jesus, I have more of a problem with the Movies than the books. The first two movies were the best, being based on the shortest books, and therefore more closely following the plot. The last two movies took greater liberties with the plot of their books, and I was less impressed with them.

When one views the movies, however, one sees "real" looking children, just like them, doing "magic" that is much less obviously imaginary and made up. I think the lines between reality and fantasy would be more easily blurred by immature children watching the Harry Potter movies, than they would be by reading the Harry Potter books.

One of the most interesting parallels that I'm seeing emerg in the series, is the whole "Harry Potter vs Voldemort" thing- which is the main, ongoing plot.

In the first two books, it is more vaguely "Harry Potter who is good, vs Voldemort who is evil". As the books progress, you begin to see that Harry Potter and Voldemort had very similar beginnings, but that it is their actions and attitudes, their choices and motives that clearly define them and have shaped them into who they have become. It intrugues me, that while the running theme is Voldemort's desire to destroy his arch nemesis, Harry Potter, and that while Voldemort is consumed by hatred, it is actually Love that has been Harry's protection all his life.

Simply put, Harry Potter is a series of books with a "good vs. evil" theme. Good always triumphs, but Evil is very real and

Harry Potter & The Order of the Pheonix

"...'Voldemort never knew that there might be danger in attacking you, that it migfht be wise to wait, to learn more. He did not know that you would have power the Dark Lord knows not -' 

'But I don't! said Harry, in a strangled voice, 'I haven't any powers he hasn't got, I couldn't fight the way he did tonight, I can't possess people or - kill them -'

'There is a room in the Department of Mysteries,' interrupted Dumbledore, 'that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than the forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. That pwer took you to save Sirius tonight. That power also saved you from possession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests. In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you.'

The Goblet of Fire

"You are blinded," said Dumbledore [speaking to Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic] his voice rising now, the aura of power around him palpable, his eyes blazing once more, "by the love of the office you hold, Cornelius! You place too much importance, and you always have done, on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognise that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be! Your Dementor has just destroyed the last remaining member of a pure-blood family as old as any- and see what that man chose to make of his life I tell you now - take the steps I have suggested, and you will be remembered, in office or our, as one of the bravest and greatest Ministers for Magic we have ever known. Fail to act - and history will rmember you as the man who stepped aside, and sllowed Voldemort a second chance to destroy the sworld we have tried to rebuild!"



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