Skip to comments.Is Harry Potter merely entertainment?
Posted on 06/03/2004 9:38:49 AM PDT by BobbyBeeper
FIRST-PERSON: Is Harry Potter merely entertainment? Jun 2, 2004 By Phil Boatwright
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" Photo courtesy of harrypotter.com
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (BP)--"I love Harry Potter. I think it would be so cool to be a witch," Sharon, age 11, says.
That's my answer to anyone who says J.K. Rowling's adventure series is harmless fantasy.
While the Harry Potter book and film series has held a hypnotic fascination for youngsters, its thematic foundation is troubling. Arguably, perceptive children can view such material without succumbing to the snare of the occult, but it would be naive to think that movies and TV programs containing witchcraft are not aiding the rise of Wicca in our culture.
In a television special titled "Hollywood Spirituality" which aired several years back on E! Entertainment, Raven Mounauni, a professing witch and owner of an occult paraphernalia store, credited the 1996 movie "The Craft" with inspiring young women to explore the world of witches. "I get a lot of teenage girls in here. You can always tell when 'The Craft' has been on TV, 'cause we get a big influx of girls looking for supplies."
Occult practices shouldn't be considered just diverting amusement. Ouija boards, psychic readers and other forms of misleading supernatural entertainment should not be taken lightly. In Leviticus 19:26 we are instructed, "Do not practice divination or sorcery." There are several warnings in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, making it clear that we are to avoid witchcraft or anything associated with the occult. So if God is instructing us to avoid occult practices, how can we justify using it to entertain ourselves?
This may not be a popular view right now. The first Harry Potter film installment earned $969 million worldwide. J.K. Rowlings' five books on the young wizard have become a phenomenon, allowing the author to become the richest woman in England, with assets beyond $1 billion. That would indicate that many parents find nothing wrong with these children's adventures.
There are even a couple of books out right now exclaiming parallels between the Potter books and the Gospel. One author suggests the books help relate Christian themes and truths, opening the door for talking about things such as right and wrong, the nature of faith, loyalty, bravery and trust. Honestly, I think that's a bit thin. Yes, Rowlings themes deal with honor, friendship and self-sacrifice, but the kids in Harry Potter gravitate to sorcery in order to accomplish these attributes. And even if there are positive elements associated with the series, you simply can't ignore the witchcraft equation.
Members of Wicca teach a philosophy that embraces no absolute truth or sin and replaces the patriarchal male creator God of the Bible with a belief in both male and female gods. Its credo instructs members to embrace spirits and conjure spells in order to control their lives and the lives of others. There are millions of practicing witches worldwide. Indeed, Wicca has become one of the fastest-growing religions in the world today.
OK, it's good that children are reading. But what is it they're reading? Shouldn't that be considered? When an author makes $1 billion on five books that have sorcery as a main theme, and renowned secular critics hail the films as incredible filmmaking without examining their occult roots, I question what's really behind this phenom.
Is it merely entertainment? Or is there a dark spiritual source feeding and supporting it? I realize that may sound like a stretch, but often Satan is most deceiving with a glossed-over package. Wouldn't it be a shame if kids got pulled into witchcraft, while their folks thought of the books and films as merely children's fantasy? --30-- Phil Boatwright is a film reviewer and editor of The Movie Reporter, on the Web at www.moviereporter.com. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKAB
I'm sorry... I am about as religious as they come and still not in a convent, but I just don't buy that the Harry Potter concerns are any worse than wishing I was the good witch Windy of the Wizard of Oz when I was a little girl. You have to balance these sort of fantasies with good sound foundational training and they are as innocent as believing in Santa Claus.
The problem isn't so much that there are these popular books on witchcraft; such books have been around a long time. The problem is that children today are morally and spiritually vacuous. Thus witchcraft is filling a void in their lives which should have already been taken.
I agree. Every generation has their you-are-going-straight-to-hell-for-doing-this controversy. It was Dungeons and Dragons when I was growing up.
This is just the stupidest issue in the world. When I was a kid I wished my mother could twitch her nose like Samantha on Bewitched...35 years later and I still haven't joined a coven. People who fear Harry Potter need to grow up.
"This may not be a popular view right now."
Major understatement!!!! Let's all be afraid, very afraid of fictional stories and characters.
But Dungeons & Dragons is truly very evil. ;)
I can't believe how long it's taken this time around for the "outrage" over Harry potter to resurface. One day before the U.S. release? The paranoid crowd is getting slow...
It's fiction. Pure and simple. Need I remind anyone (again) that the well known Christian apologists C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein both had "good" charcters who use magic in their fantasy series?
Don't you loonies ever learn?
I could not agree more! I have read all of the books and seen both movies. There is nothing "instructional' about them. In fact, what I take away from them is: the battle between good and evil, the trust of loyalty of friends and the value of courage"good" people and "evil" people. JK Rowling is not afraid to say out loud that we are up against a great deal of evil in this world and we can fight it.
"I'm sorry... I am about as religious as they come and still not in a convent, but I just don't buy that the Harry Potter concerns are any worse than wishing I was the good witch Windy of the Wizard of Oz when I was a little girl. You have to balance these sort of fantasies with good sound foundational training and they are as innocent as believing in Santa Claus."
You can be religious and not be discerning. When I grew up, I thought things like ouija boards and tarot cards were just innocnet fun and no worse than believeing in Santa Claus.
"I love Harry Potter. I think it would be so cool to be a witch," Sharon, age 11, says. That's my answer to anyone who says J.K. Rowling's adventure series is harmless fantasy.
Then you would prove them right, because witches arent real. It's just something weird lesbians pretend to be.
When I was little, I thought it would be cool if I could turn from a car to a robot. I guess I watched too much Transformers. The desire didn't seem to have any longterm negative consequences, and I'm confident the little girl in this story will turn out fine as well.
These movies may encourage an interest in the occult, just as a war movie could encourage an interest in history.
I've done some research in the occult, and have determined that it is a total crock. Wicca is just a bunch of smelly hippies looking for a reason to worship trees.
Any kid with an IQ above room temperature will soon realize that spells do not work and that the occult is just a huge con game. Then (like a lot of people) will just forget about it and go on with their lives.
Isn't that quote from an Onion article. And anybody that credits "The Craft" with anything but being atrociously dull is simply not all there.
This hits it on the head; spiritual people have have no fear of Harry, it's only those who's own "religion" has no strong spiritual base (and you can read into that what you will) that need fear Harry. After all, there really is no "there" there in "Wicca," either. Besides, I'm in love with Herimoine and there's nothing you can do about my love for a beautiful witch!
Movie opens tomorrow! And I for one cannot wait.
I love Harry potter. I stated reading the books because my ex-hubby is a freak and didn't want our daughter to read them.
We are both groupies now (daughter and me)! I rub it in every chance I get too. LOL
I heard that C. S. Lewis "The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe" will be a movie soon. I can't wait.
I also instill in my kids that although this merely fantasy, REAL witchcraft is a Satanic cult. If they want to learn "magic", I'll buy them some trick cards.
"Today I met a gentle-man who told me that upon reading the popular novel 'Moby Dick' he decided to board a whaling vessel and take to the sea, forsaking his beloved in New England and throwing his hope to the god of the oceans, away from our beloved Lord. May the accursed Melville answer to the higher power for his wicked tale of the white whale, which has caused many a right-thinking man to drift oft from our sacred shores in a craft hewn of dispair and discouragement. Ahab is but a hollow cast for the dark lord Satan, and represents not the hallowed balm of our Lord in Heaven. I urge all good people of Christian faith to burn this evil book forthwith."
/this guy's great-grandfather in 1870
For me, it was Barbara Eden on I Dream of Jeannie...
Actually, they generally resort to good old fashioned bravery and resourcefulness. Relying on a magic spell to save the day would ruin the narrative structure by some kind of deus ex machina.
I always blamed the TV show 'Bewitched' as responsible for the downfall of society....Elizabeth Montgomery twikling her nose was just pure evil.
What this thread needs is that "aww, not this SH&$ again" pic...
"If they want to learn "magic", I'll buy them some trick cards."
You know, witchcraft is pure superstitious garbage, but I don't know if I'd let my kids practice stage magic, either. I wouldn't want them to end up like Seigfried & Roy ;)
"You can be religious and not be discerning." Absolutely. As a matter of fact, that street runs both ways, and you should consider that.
Or worse... if they get used to misdirection and hand-waving they could become politicians -- or even journalists!
I wish it was one more week - I took tomorrow off to do a whole bunch of errands, and the temptation to play hooky and go see it is awfully strong. I'm looking forward to the movie much more than the next book - the last one needed some serious editing, and it seems that everyone's afraid to edit her now - too important.
The Potter books and movies are no threat to anyone. I watched the movies out of curiosity and found them to be entertaining but nothing more. There is no attack on christianity or overt promotion of the occult in the stories.
The Star wars movies have more religious content that the Potter series. Much ado about nothing.
Actually, right on the money about Moby Dick -- read it sometime checking the use of Bible quotes and references. I like Harry Potter, though -- much less anti-Christian.
Overall, I like the books. I think many of the people who criticise it are reacting emotionally to the topic without having taken the time to really look into it.
More nutso Christian paranoia about Harry Potter.
It'd be so cool to be Tarzan.
It'd be so cool to be Foghorn Leghorn.
Get over it... Potter has as much to do with modern paganism as Liberals do with small government.
"It'd be so cool to be Foghorn Leghorn."
I say, I say, LOL, boy!
It's a little more than fiction -- I think if you look at them critically, you can see that Rowling may be engaged in some religious allegory.
Note, for example, that the HP books have pretty much the same moral message as LOTR and the Narnia books. Indeed, Rowling has adopted many aspects of those universes. For example, many of the HP magical creatures are characters in Lewis's Narnia. The Dumbledore/Gandalf connection is likewise obvious. And of course, we could paint the kids as either Lewis's Pevensie children, or Tolkein's Hobbits....
The symbolism of the houses is suggestive, too -- Slytherin, home of the dark side, is represented by a serpent. Can't think where else the dark side is shown as such... ;-) Gryffindor is symbolized by a lion. (Aslan, anyone?) The Raven (Ravenclaw's symbol) has some interesting and suggestive Christian meanings, and the Badger (Hufflepuff) is likewise suggestive.
Yeah, and I tried for years to make that "Force" thing work. I just stopped short of drawing pentagrams on the walls and sacrificing goats in my room though...whew!
Oh, I already took tomorrow off. I put in for that months ago. :-)
Harry Potter turned me into a newt once.
I got better.
None of the spells in Harry Potter actually ~work~ you know. It ain't ~real~.
Judeism is some faceless sky spirit.
Christians worship some guy that got nailed to a stick.
More nutso Potter worship from the Potter geeks.