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Harry Potter and the Dark Side
The American Thinker ^ | 7 18 05 | Elizabeth Bennett

Posted on 07/18/2005 6:36:15 AM PDT by Kitten Festival

J.K. Rowling is history’s richest-ever author, enjoying an incomparable global readership. With eager consumers lined up at midnight to buy her book on the date of release, she stands as the literary phenomenon of our times.

Rowling resembles no one in popularity so much as Charles Dickens, who inspired excited crowds in America to meet the packet ships from England, calling out for the next installment of the story of Little Nell.

She also rivals Dickens in her ability to create some of the most delightful names in literature. Uriah Heep, meet Severus Snape.

Few authors today write books for adolescent boys, who readily fall away from reading and are lured to the video tube. Daring to write long and complicated plots, Rowling doesn’t underestimate her readers. Her books contain delightful inventions on almost every page: from mail delivery owls to the winged boars (flying pigs) that grace the Hogwarts school gates.

But huge success makes for a big target. Rowling does not lack for critics.

Some are bothered by her abundant use of adverbs, or worry about exposing very young children to the violence in the books’ good vs. evil plot lines. Occasional gross-out humor and love of annoying practical jokes dismay some adults, but meet the literary tastes of the adolescent boy.

By far the most serious criticism of the Harry Potter series comes from those Christians and Jews who believe any mention of magic in literature is completely and automatically off-limits based simply on the Biblical prohibitions against witchcraft.

I respect such critics, but I disagree with them. A few of them go overboard, muttering darkly about bargains with supernatural forces. But many are sincere and intelligent.

There is a basic difference between reading a Harry Potter book and invoking the dark forces. Casting actual spells is one thing. Reading about them while engrossed in a struggle between good and evil on the magical plane of childrens’ literature is quite another.

Magic has become a literary convention of imaginative literature, positing forces fo


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: bookreview; culture; harrypotter; literature; religion; satanism
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1 posted on 07/18/2005 6:36:16 AM PDT by Kitten Festival
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To: Kitten Festival; Constitution Day
positing forces fo

Klaatu barada nikto.

2 posted on 07/18/2005 6:38:03 AM PDT by TheBigB (My train of thought is still boarding at the station.)
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To: Kitten Festival
To me, much ado about nothing.
The Harry Potter books are fiction. They might even be drawing teens back to literacy.

I suppose in these days, some of the books I used to read as a teen would be on the 'Do NOT View' list also.

3 posted on 07/18/2005 6:40:13 AM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: Kitten Festival

Where is the Oh Geez! Not this s**t again picture?


4 posted on 07/18/2005 6:41:42 AM PDT by JackDanielsOldNo7 (Jack Daniels is so good you can feel a straight shot all the way to your toes.)
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To: TheBigB
No gility for t inside.
5 posted on 07/18/2005 6:42:49 AM PDT by Constitution Day (I am the Sultan of Oom-Papa-Mow-Mow.)
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To: Constitution Day
HOW ARE YOU GENTLEMEN!!
6 posted on 07/18/2005 6:48:34 AM PDT by TheBigB (My train of thought is still boarding at the station.)
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To: Kitten Festival
to the winged boars (flying pigs) that grace the Hogwarts school gates.

Thinks I'm too stupid to know what a winged boar is. PHHHHHHPTT!

7 posted on 07/18/2005 6:55:53 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Democrats ... frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.)
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To: Kitten Festival

"By far the most serious criticism of the Harry Potter series comes from those Christians and Jews who believe any mention of magic in literature is completely and automatically off-limits based simply on the Biblical prohibitions against witchcraft.

"I respect such critics, but I disagree with them. A few of them go overboard, muttering darkly about bargains with supernatural forces. But many are sincere and intelligent."

If kids read the Bible (or any other worthwhile religious literature), prayed, and attended church with the same enthusiasm and dedication they read these Harry Potter books, this would be a better world.

It's not really the magic I take issue with. I have seen some Harry Potter films in parts, and what I certainly don't appreciate is the dark, disturbing violence in them, particularly when these films are targeted at children. But, hey, Hollywood producers and J. K. Rowling are laughing their way to the bank.


8 posted on 07/18/2005 6:57:58 AM PDT by rrstar96 (Strength and Honor!)
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To: rrstar96

I agree the movies are a little dark. But you should see what other movies are marketed to kids. It's awful. Look at Fantastic Four. It's PG-13 (my 14 year olds have only seen one PG-13 they are so bad) and is marketed in Toys R Us! There really are so few movies that are good for the whole family.

I for one was happy these are there for all of us to enjoy. No sex, no graphic violence, hey, a little troll snot, but you can't have everything!


9 posted on 07/18/2005 7:15:24 AM PDT by pa mom
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To: Kitten Festival
Does the "Wizard of Oz" endorse witchcraft?
10 posted on 07/18/2005 7:16:15 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Drug prohibition laws spawned the runaway federal health care monopoly and fund terrorism.)
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To: Kitten Festival

Before I read this -- does it have spoilers? I'm just starting book three, and am trying to avoid.

Dan


11 posted on 07/18/2005 7:16:27 AM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: rrstar96
If kids read the Bible (or any other worthwhile religious literature), prayed, and attended church with the same enthusiasm and dedication they read these Harry Potter books, this would be a better world.

Amen that - well put!
12 posted on 07/18/2005 7:22:14 AM PDT by AD from SpringBay (We have the government we allow and deserve.)
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To: TheBigB

"Yea, I said the words. OK. Well Most of them anyway. You've got the damn book, now send me home!"

"Shop smart - Shop S-Mart"

"You're in charge of two things right now. JAck and S&*T. And Jack just left town"

"Yo - she-bitch"

"Ok, you primitive screw-heads listen up. This is my BOOM STICK. It's got a blued barrell, checkerd stock, and a hair trigger. Can be found in the sporting goods section of your local S-Mart. $99.99.

"I feel bad, but it feels good."

Sorry, but you started it TheBigB.


13 posted on 07/18/2005 7:25:05 AM PDT by Illuminatas (Being conservative means never having to say; "Dont you dare question my patriotism")
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To: Kitten Festival
I think God struck down the rest of your post because it supports Harry Potter.


Scared Bunny Blog
Not for the timid

14 posted on 07/18/2005 7:31:00 AM PDT by sharktrager (My life is like a box of chocolates, but someone took all the good ones.)
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To: retrokitten

Ping.


15 posted on 07/18/2005 7:31:33 AM PDT by Junior (Just because the voices in your head tell you to do things doesn't mean you have to listen to them)
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To: Illuminatas

"It's a trick. Get an Axe..."


16 posted on 07/18/2005 7:32:12 AM PDT by Dead Corpse (Never underestimate the will of the downtrodden to lie flatter.)
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To: Illuminatas

Good. . .Bad. . .I'm the one with the Gun. . .

. . .notice The Bruce's LATEST role ? He's the Coach in the new kids movie, "Sky High", about a high school for Superheroes. . .


17 posted on 07/18/2005 7:33:04 AM PDT by Salgak (Acme Lasers presents: The Energizer Border: I dare you to try and cross it. . .)
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To: Kitten Festival; lonevoice

I have never understood some Christians' perspective of the Harry Potter series. They embrace the C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series, which includes the character of the White Witch. There is a horrible scene in which the White Witch kills the Jesus character of Aslan by first having him tied to a stone table, shaved of his lion's hair and then brutally stabbed to death. Very dark stuff. You can buy the books in every Christian bookstore. The difference? C.S. Lewis was a devote Christian and the books reflect his Christian beliefs. Many Christians do NOT share the perspective that the Harry Potter books promote witchcraft; we recognize the deep moral truths in the books and can appreciate the good vs. evil theme throughout every one of the 6 books to date. Fairy tales are full of witches, and they always lose their battles. The Harry Potter books are just that: fairy tales. Most of the kids who read them do not embrace witchcraft as a result of having read the books.


18 posted on 07/18/2005 7:35:31 AM PDT by Pride in the USA
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To: TheBigB

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagh'nagl fhtagn."


19 posted on 07/18/2005 7:37:15 AM PDT by Junior (Just because the voices in your head tell you to do things doesn't mean you have to listen to them)
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To: Kitten Festival

Oh sweet lord....
Look it is pure fiction.
It got my boy away from the computer and the TV and back into books! For that alone I am thankful. For those of you who think that this is "EVIL". Whats that saying about glass houses?
Sure its dark but there are other and darker young adult books out there and no one so much as says boo about it.
So long as the children enjoy the read and understand that it is fiction and make believe then there is nothing wrong with it.


20 posted on 07/18/2005 7:42:09 AM PDT by SouthernBoyupNorth ("For my wings are made of Tungsten, my flesh of glass and steel..........")
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To: rrstar96
If kids read the Bible (or any other worthwhile religious literature), prayed, and attended church with the same enthusiasm and dedication they read these Harry Potter books

The things you do for fun are always going to be done more enthusiastically than what you do for duty, and one really should not read scripture, pray or go to church for entertainment.

21 posted on 07/18/2005 7:49:53 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Tax-chick

At least it wasn't spelled "winged boer"...


22 posted on 07/18/2005 7:50:45 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: Frank_Discussion

That would probably be considered racist.


23 posted on 07/18/2005 7:51:06 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Democrats ... frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.)
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To: Tribune7
and one really should not read scripture, pray or go to church for entertainment.

You seem to be suggesting that anything one enjoys is "entertainment." I enjoyed tax accounting when I was employed, but it wasn't entertainment. I enjoy cleaning the floors, if I can get all the kids out of the way for an hour, but it's not entertainment.

If you mean that Scripture, prayer, and worship aren't enjoyable, then that's pretty sad.

24 posted on 07/18/2005 7:53:41 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Democrats ... frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.)
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To: TheBigB

LMAO!


25 posted on 07/18/2005 7:54:13 AM PDT by WV Mountain Mama (Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.)
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To: Tax-chick

This is probably true. I'm just saying that would be about the only way the writer's parenthetical "literary aid" worse. Seeing "(flying pigs)" was irritating to me, as well.


26 posted on 07/18/2005 7:56:01 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: SouthernBoyupNorth

hummm....good point...let's see....a holy man parting the Red Sea.....turning a snake into a staff.....raining down loaves of bread and fish to feed the multitude....casting an evil angel out of heaven....turning water into wine.....a burning bush bursting into fire....hummmmmmmm


27 posted on 07/18/2005 7:57:14 AM PDT by smiley
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To: JackDanielsOldNo7

28 posted on 07/18/2005 7:57:57 AM PDT by evets (You're welcome.)
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To: Tribune7

I knew something bothered me about thar post. Your rebuttal said it beautifully.


29 posted on 07/18/2005 7:58:44 AM PDT by HungarianGypsy
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To: Frank_Discussion

It reminds me of an article in our state's tourist publication, about a slave who wrote poetry - specializing in love poems for college students to woo their girlfriends. The article's author kept providing definitions of words the slave used in his poems and letters, even though the man didn't even learn to write until he was in his 50's; someone had to copy down what he composed orally.

Education has really declined!


30 posted on 07/18/2005 8:00:38 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Democrats ... frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.)
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To: Junior
Last time I saw a combination of words like that it was in the Welsh language
31 posted on 07/18/2005 8:00:51 AM PDT by mware ("God is dead" -- Nietzsch"....... "Nope, you are"-- GOD)
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To: Tax-chick

Enjoyable, yes. But, still a bit of work. Entertainment like Harry Potter is more of an escape. A relaxation. I can't explain exactly the difference, but there is.


32 posted on 07/18/2005 8:02:23 AM PDT by HungarianGypsy
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To: rrstar96
If kids read the Bible (or any other worthwhile religious literature), prayed, and attended church with the same enthusiasm and dedication they read these Harry Potter books, this would be a better world.

Are you saying that they don't read the Bible because they read Harry Potter? To the extent some kids don't read the Bible as much as they read Harry Potter, I don't see any reason to infer that the two are connected even remotely. It's not like they sit down and say "well, I could read either the Bible or Harry Potter. Gee, I think I'll go with Harry Potter today."

Kids just don't read as much, and that has nothing to do with HP.

33 posted on 07/18/2005 8:04:01 AM PDT by XJarhead
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To: mware

"In his house in R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming."


34 posted on 07/18/2005 8:05:24 AM PDT by Junior (Just because the voices in your head tell you to do things doesn't mean you have to listen to them)
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To: HungarianGypsy

I understand what you mean. There's a difference between picking up a mystery novel and a serious history book, even though I'm doing both for enjoyment, neither because I have to.

I was just taking issue with the apparent contention that we only read the Bible (pray, attend church) out of duty, not because we like doing it. We like going to church, and we have a great time with the Bible.


35 posted on 07/18/2005 8:05:33 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Democrats ... frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.)
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To: Tax-chick
If you mean that Scripture, prayer, and worship aren't enjoyable, then that's pretty sad.>

What I mean is that you should do these things even if you don't particularly find them enjoyable, especially since the pleasure is, for most, an acquired taste rather than an instinctive one -- unlike fiction.

36 posted on 07/18/2005 8:09:37 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Illuminatas
"Yea, I said the words. OK. Well Most of them anyway. You've got the damn book, now send me home!"

I saw that stupid movie on the sci-fi channel recently. Unfortunately (?) I couldn't quite stay awake long enough to watch it all. What was the name of it, anyway?

37 posted on 07/18/2005 8:09:49 AM PDT by -YYZ-
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To: Pride in the USA
Actually, I have some Christian friends who refuse to allow Narnia or the Lord of the Rings trilogy in their homes because there are witches, wizards, etc. While I disagree with them, I respect that their own unique walk with the Lord would be compromised by such material.

I worked (and will be working again this fall) at Lucasfilm. Lucas has his share of critics on this forum because they believe the Force is an actual New Age-style religious belief. Some of the people who work for Lucas (one of whom is an Academy Award winner for sound design) are Christians and conservatives. We are surrounded by liberals, but somehow manage to get along.

If some Christians believe I am going to hell because I work for Lucas and enjoy science fiction/fantasy, so be it. It's not worth debating. I've read the Harry Potter series--as has my homeschooled son--and at no time did we forsake our religious beliefs and turn to witchcraft. Of course, both my son and I think that Rowlings' books are no where near the literary level of Narnia and the Ring trilogy.

I decided to read Harry to see what all the fuss was about and make a judgement for myself. I never was a fan of book burning or listening to others who refused to read the material, but somehow knew it would lead to the dark side. (Ooops, sorry, couldn't help myself with that last line--force of habit, you know.) I came to the opinion that Harry Potter is no worse or better than The Wizard of Oz. There is definitely good vs evil within its pages. And, yes, Harry is a good guy--about as good as Glinda, the Good Witch of Oz, if you're into that stuff.

38 posted on 07/18/2005 8:09:59 AM PDT by demnomo
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To: Kitten Festival

Just because a book is fiction doesn't mean it can't be harmful. Pullman's "Golden Compass" trilogy is positively diabolical, expressly designed to subtly undermine the faith of children and persuade them that God is evil.

Harry Potter is just fine. Rowling shows none of that evil intention in my view. In the war between good and evil, she clearly sides with good. Indeed, her theodicy, if that isn't too grand a term, is on much more solid ground than that silly and confused business about "the dark side of the Force" in "Star Wars."


39 posted on 07/18/2005 8:12:17 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: HungarianGypsy

Thank you.


40 posted on 07/18/2005 8:13:51 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Tribune7

Thanks for the explanation - that's much clearer.


41 posted on 07/18/2005 8:14:26 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Democrats ... frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.)
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To: demnomo

You posted while I was mulling my post. Yes, I'm bothered by "the dark side of the Force." It's more Manichean or Gnostic than Christian. Fortunately, it's vague enough to slip by most people without much effect. I don't think the intent is malign, as with Pullman.


42 posted on 07/18/2005 8:14:46 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: demnomo
While I disagree with them, I respect that their own unique walk with the Lord would be compromised by such material.

Perfect! Sadly, for most people in our current society the world of Harry Potter, and it's ongoing struggle of good against evil is a major step up.

It will be a few steps along that walk for not a few...

43 posted on 07/18/2005 8:18:48 AM PDT by null and void (You'll learn more on FR by accident, than other places by design)
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To: Cicero
I don't think the intent is malign, as with Pullman.

I had to chuckle when I read your post. No, the Force was never meant to be malign, but I will admit, the STAR WARS universe has changed a bit over the years. Die-hard fans (Force Freaks) know all the discrepencies, confusions, and ins and outs of the series' evolution--oft times better than most of the employees at Lucasfilm.

44 posted on 07/18/2005 8:20:44 AM PDT by demnomo
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To: smiley

your comment makes no sense to me other than it references the bible... which I didn't make comment on...


45 posted on 07/18/2005 8:23:36 AM PDT by SouthernBoyupNorth ("For my wings are made of Tungsten, my flesh of glass and steel..........")
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To: Pride in the USA

In high school I asked one of my teachers who didn't approve of Harry Potter what he thought of The Lord of the Rings. He said it was ok because it was a classic. I asked him if that meant in 50 years Harry Potter would be ok. He said no, but couldn't tell me what the difference was between the two books and the magic in them.


46 posted on 07/18/2005 8:25:40 AM PDT by Mr. Blonde (You know, Happy Time Harry, just being around you kinda makes me want to die.)
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To: Cicero
This link says J.K. is an Inkling and skewers Pullman in Chamber of Secrets.
47 posted on 07/18/2005 8:25:44 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: demnomo
Die-hard fans (Force Freaks) know all the discrepencies, confusions, and ins and outs of the series' evolution--oft times better than most of the employees at Lucasfilm.

Heh heh. I shudder to think the questions and demands-for-explanations that get thrown your way at Lucasfilm...

48 posted on 07/18/2005 8:26:40 AM PDT by Future Snake Eater (The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.)
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To: Cicero

My kids think the whole Force thing is silly.


49 posted on 07/18/2005 8:26:42 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Democrats ... frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.)
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To: Cicero
It's more Manichean or Gnostic than Christian.

I see it as drawing more from the Oriental philosophies and their condept of balance in the universe (yin and yang and that sort of thing).

50 posted on 07/18/2005 8:27:40 AM PDT by Junior (Just because the voices in your head tell you to do things doesn't mean you have to listen to them)
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