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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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To: Kitten Festival

Harry Potter is crap- give me Grand Theft Auto!!! Now that is some dark stuff.


101 posted on 07/18/2005 10:15:13 AM PDT by Porterville (Don't make me go Bushi on your a$$)
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To: Cyclopean Squid

Your screen name gives you away. You're HIM, aren't you? Shall I go insane now?


102 posted on 07/18/2005 10:38:59 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: Melas

Too much sexual innuendo for my kids. I read reviews at the Catholic Bishops website and the Kids in Mind reviews. I admit I have not seen it, but I don't like the things I read there.


103 posted on 07/18/2005 10:39:40 AM PDT by pa mom
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To: kevkrom

And, Aslan represents...


GOOD.


104 posted on 07/18/2005 10:40:15 AM PDT by It's me
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To: It's me
And, Aslan represents... GOOD.

Well, duh. My point was that a "good" character (Lucy) had to be stopped by an outside agency from doing what she knew to be a wrong, selfish, and evil act.

105 posted on 07/18/2005 10:42:02 AM PDT by kevkrom (WARNING: If you're not sure whether or not it's sarcasm, it probably is.)
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To: Tax-chick
You're right. There's no such thing as universal concerns or interests, or the general "human condition." Only an author of the same ethnic group, gender, race, religion, economic class, or handicap-status as the subject can write insightful fiction.

Oh my, you're so clever it seems you've missed the point entirely. It's okay for a given writer to write about any subject as long as he/she maintains integrity, even when writing fiction. Take a look at good fiction, Steinbeck for example, and you will find the authors are masterful at telling the story of their characters from a perceptive (outward) rather than from projection (inward) view. It's okay to describe a character of a different race or gender from a perceptive viewpoint when outside the group, but it's dishonest to write as though you're that race or gender and this is how I actually think. Can you discern the difference? Why do you suppose the author of the Potter books needs a  male character as a vehicle to promote witchcraft?

106 posted on 07/18/2005 10:42:20 AM PDT by Chief_Joe (From where the sun now sits, I will fight on -FOREVER!!!)
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To: It's me

Actually, the subsequent books are full of magic, potions, mystical creatures. I loved them as a kid and have read them to my kids.


107 posted on 07/18/2005 10:50:53 AM PDT by pa mom
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To: Tax-chick

Well reasoned. Potter books are not universally bad for kids, but in the wrong hands, heck, manure can be deadly!


108 posted on 07/18/2005 10:52:05 AM PDT by pa mom
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To: Chief_Joe

Nancy Drew was written by a man and she taught me all there is to know about life.


109 posted on 07/18/2005 10:57:26 AM PDT by pa mom
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To: pa mom
Sexual innuendo? I've read every single book at least twice (except the new one -- I've only read it once so far) and there's no sexual innuendo at all.

It's possible that I'm too jaded to see it, but I'd love to know what those reviewers considered "sexual innuendo."

110 posted on 07/18/2005 11:05:28 AM PDT by kellynch (Whining about income inequality is a cop-out. -- Walter E. Williams)
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To: kellynch
I'd love to know what those reviewers considered "sexual innuendo."

Its setting in a British boarding school isn't enough?

111 posted on 07/18/2005 11:08:41 AM PDT by Physicist
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To: Physicist
Its setting in a British boarding school isn't enough?

Now THAT'S funny!

112 posted on 07/18/2005 11:13:09 AM PDT by kellynch (Whining about income inequality is a cop-out. -- Walter E. Williams)
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To: kevkrom
Well, of course! Isn't that obvious?
113 posted on 07/18/2005 11:14:31 AM PDT by It's me
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To: kellynch
I meant in the movies, not the books. Here's a bit from the Kids in Mind movie reviews: "A woman begins to take off her clothes in a large crowd of people, she turns invisible, we see her bra and panties, and then she becomes visible (men ogle her and she tries to cover herself up). A man walks into a bathroom where a woman is stepping out of the shower and she quickly covers herself with a towel (bare shoulders are visible). Several women wear low-cut, short tops and short skirts that reveal cleavage, bare abdomens and bare legs, a woman wears a low-cut, short negligee that reveals cleavage and bare legs, and a woman wears low-cut tops that reveal cleavage in many scenes. ► A man in flames snowboards over a cliff, crashes into a snowdrift, we see him in a pool of water with no clothes (we see his bare chest) and he asks a woman to join him. ► A nurse says, "you're hot" to a man while taking his temperature and the man says, "thank you, so are you." A man asks another man, "where's your hot sister?" A woman asks "...he can expand 'any' part of his anatomy?" A man says of another man "I think he's a bit limp." ► A visually impaired woman touches a genetically altered man to "see" him -- the man closes his eyes and moans. ► Two men propose to a woman. Two men talk about a romantic relationship between one man's sister and another man."
114 posted on 07/18/2005 11:15:00 AM PDT by pa mom
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To: Serb5150

Hary Potter ping.


115 posted on 07/18/2005 11:22:07 AM PDT by jwfiv
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To: pa mom

That's not from Harry Potter. I've seen all 3 movies, and don't remember that at all.


116 posted on 07/18/2005 11:27:34 AM PDT by kellynch (Whining about income inequality is a cop-out. -- Walter E. Williams)
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To: Chief_Joe
I try to stay away from controversies here, but your post is one of the most uninformed I've ever seen.

The Harry Potter books are NOT based in reality. You may be different than me and the people I know, but who wouldn't want a wand to clean up all the Thanksgiving dishes? Who wouldn't want a wand to peel the potatoes?

The books are something called FICTION, as in not real. Others have posted comparisons to LOTR and C.S. Lewis. Why don't we pick on Mark Twain, too? It was obviously fiction at the time that Tom would stand up for Jim.

I'm all for family values and feel that I help in the fight against the left. But really. Like Freud said, sometimes a cigar is JUST a cigar.
117 posted on 07/18/2005 11:28:04 AM PDT by LuLuLuLu
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To: demnomo

I know where your coming from. I'm an animator who just is coming from a school that's wall to wall liberals and I would guess Lucas Film and ILM (my dream job) would be no different. Yet, conservatives like us continue to deal with it and move on.


118 posted on 07/18/2005 11:28:07 AM PDT by miliantnutcase
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To: kellynch
Sexual innuendo? I've read every single book at least twice (except the new one -- I've only read it once so far) and there's no sexual innuendo at all.

OTOH, if you consider "wand" to be a double-entendre, the books become far more funny (from a purely juvenile sense) to read.

119 posted on 07/18/2005 11:30:36 AM PDT by kevkrom (WARNING: If you're not sure whether or not it's sarcasm, it probably is.)
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To: kellynch

Sorry, that was in Fantastic Four. I had posted that I preferred HP movies to that kind of stuff. Someone had asked what I didn't like about the FF movie and somehow we got our lines crossed!

LOL! We really don't want to see Dumbledore and McGonigal nude, now do we?


120 posted on 07/18/2005 11:48:53 AM PDT by pa mom
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To: Junior

What can I say? The stars were right.


121 posted on 07/18/2005 11:56:35 AM PDT by Cyclopean Squid (Time is a wonderful teacher; unfortunately, it kills all its pupils. --Hector Berlioz)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Does it endorse mistreatment of little people and house violence?


122 posted on 07/18/2005 12:06:07 PM PDT by nickcarraway (I'm Only Alive, Because a Judge Hasn't Ruled I Should Die...)
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To: Cyclopean Squid
What can I say? The stars were right.

And no Elder Sign in sight ...

123 posted on 07/18/2005 12:34:39 PM 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: Tax-chick
Yes, I believe my husband and his networking group spend time in their lab cutting the heads off chickens.

Maybe not chickens, but they are probably trimming the ends of Cat5e cable and then using the cuttings to tell fortunes (similar to reading entrails).

:^)

124 posted on 07/18/2005 12:48:07 PM PDT by Disambiguator (Making accusations of racism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.)
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To: Chief_Joe

Agree to disagree, I suppose.


125 posted on 07/18/2005 1:23:07 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Democrats ... frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.)
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To: Disambiguator
and then using the cuttings to tell fortunes (similar to reading entrails).

They might as well disembowel goats. When they use digital diagnostic equipment to evaluate network issues, the CIO says, "Yeah, well that doesn't prove anything!"

126 posted on 07/18/2005 1:24:42 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Democrats ... frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.)
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To: Raycpa

Your son seems quite insightful. My oldest boy, 11, just read the first Harry Potter book, and said it was reasonably interesting; maybe he'll check out another from the library. My 14-year-old daughter said it was boring.


127 posted on 07/18/2005 1:30:46 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Democrats ... frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.)
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To: kellynch
Sexual innuendo? I've read every single book at least twice

Her post was in reply to a previous post asking what was wrong with the movie, Fantastic 4. It had nothing to do with HP.
128 posted on 07/18/2005 2:41:21 PM PDT by Texas2step (<><)
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To: TheBigB
HOW ARE YOU GENTLEMEN!!

YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME

129 posted on 07/18/2005 2:50:40 PM PDT by ReignOfError
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To: pa mom
Well reasoned. Potter books are not universally bad for kids, but in the wrong hands, heck, manure can be deadly!

In the wrong hands, the Bible is dangerous. Anything string enough to build on is strong enough to beat someone with.

130 posted on 07/18/2005 2:52:35 PM PDT by ReignOfError
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To: Kitten Festival

I've read all of the books except the new one and as a Christian, am not bothered at all by the series. It's more about good -vs- evil than anything else.
I can't wait to start on the new oen.


131 posted on 07/18/2005 2:57:46 PM PDT by Lx (Do you like it, do you like it. Scott? I call it Mr. and Mrs. Tennerman chili.)
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To: Cicero
I think C. S. Lewis says something like that in his essay on Fairy Tales. For most people, fairy stories are less dangerous than stories about becoming rich and famous, because they don't feed into the vein of self-absorbed wish-fullfillment (Lewis was writing at a time when Freud's take on literature was dominant). But I agree, if a kid seems to be taking the idea of magic seriously, then he needs to be educated or diverted to something else.

The story -- and it might be an urban legend -- is that Lewis and Tolkein were sitting together, lamenting the fact that the youth of (their) today had no myths. And out of that conversation came the two great epics of the 20th century.

Lewis' epic adhered more closely to the Bible. Tolkein's reached back more into ancient tradition and sheer invention. But they both served the function of ancient myths, to teach moral lessons and illustrate virtue: Courage, wisdom, loyalty, determination, compassion. Those are eternal, no matter what the external trappings of the story. And the Harry Potter books depict all of them well. As well as some others I probably forgot to mention.

(As an aside, I will not be moved from my position that Samwise Ganjee is the real hero of the LotR trilogy. He had no special skill, no great strength, no supernatural powers, no preordained destiny. He Just. Would. Not. Give. Up. We can't decide to have the skill of Legolas or the power of Gandalf. We can decide to be Sam.)

132 posted on 07/18/2005 3:22:58 PM PDT by ReignOfError
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To: Junior
I found the prose to be stultifyingly thick.

I've struggled through two books of the Ring trilogy. I haven't had the energy to start the third.

133 posted on 07/18/2005 5:05:56 PM PDT by js1138 (e unum pluribus)
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To: SouthernBoyupNorth

There are people who fervently believe all fiction should be banned(burned) because fiction is by definition, untrue! Don't let anyone read lies!!!! Especially bad are political campaign flyers and recent supreme court decisions;obvious works of fiction.


134 posted on 07/18/2005 5:23:54 PM PDT by hoosierham
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To: Raycpa; BibChr
to assume their is no danger is itself absurd.

To fear literature is to be doubtful of the rock upon which you stand.

I've read the books so that I can discuss them with my oldest son, who is also reading them. Guess what? We still believe that Christ died for our sins, and that our redemption is through Him only.

Plus, we got to read some pretty good books. Tolkien they're not. But they're pretty good.

135 posted on 07/18/2005 7:25:35 PM PDT by grellis (Ravenclaw, class of '87)
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To: ReignOfError
We can't decide to have the skill of Legolas or the power of Gandalf. We can decide to be Sam.

Love it, love it, love it! Too bad it's too long for my tagline or I'd steal it!

136 posted on 07/18/2005 7:34:35 PM PDT by grellis (Ravenclaw, class of '87)
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To: js1138
I've struggled through two books of the Ring trilogy. I haven't had the energy to start the third.

I'll warn you in advance--if you ever decide to tackle The Silmarillion, start taking vitamins a month or two ahead of time.

137 posted on 07/18/2005 7:36:51 PM PDT by grellis (Ravenclaw, class of '87)
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To: grellis

LOL, that's no lie!

I love LOTR, have read them many, many times -- but I would say that I ENDURED the Silmarillion, or SURVIVED it.

My punk teenager ate it up, though, and my wife thought it was fun. Humph.

Dan


138 posted on 07/18/2005 7:48:12 PM 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: BibChr
FUN??? Egad. I guess Beowulf was a squeal, too, wasn't it?!
139 posted on 07/18/2005 7:52:37 PM PDT by grellis (Ravenclaw, class of '87)
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To: -YYZ-

Oh good lord! - Said in my best kelsey grammer impersonation.

You mean to tell me you have never seen Army of Darkness. Only one of the best cult films of all time. Bruce "The Bruce" Campbell is one of the most underrated actors of all time in a comedy-action sense. Ok.... First skip the censored crap on tv and go rent Evil Dead 1 & 2, and Army of Darkness.

Personally, I have my limited edition of Evil Dead 2 with the fake skin (Necronomicon) case.

Plus, the Bruce was the only reason to watch Xena (other than that totally hot lesbian thing).

That's me - putting the "Fun" back into "Fundamentalist".


140 posted on 07/18/2005 8:37:26 PM PDT by Illuminatas (Being conservative means never having to say; "Dont you dare question my patriotism")
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To: Frank_Discussion
winged boer

Kind of like a flying dutchman?

141 posted on 07/18/2005 8:53:37 PM PDT by Ace's Dad ("There are more important things: Friendship, Bravery...")
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To: pa mom
LOL! We really don't want to see Dumbledore and McGonigal nude, now do we?

That would be a new wrinkle...

142 posted on 07/18/2005 10:06:06 PM PDT by null and void (You'll learn more on FR by accident, than other places by design)
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To: Ace's Dad

Heh... Yeah...


143 posted on 07/19/2005 7:06:13 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: grellis

ROFLMAO!! Ya Got that RIGHT!


144 posted on 07/19/2005 7:14:11 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: Mr. Jeeves; Cicero
That's the overall impression I've always gotten from the books - that they are WWII allegories (Lord of the Rings, too).

OK Enough aleady! T H White Once and Future King, J RR Tolkien LOTR, Richard Adams Watership Down, JK Rowling Harry Potter.
Would you authors stop writing World War II analogies? We get the point. Hitler Bad.

(kidding)

145 posted on 07/20/2005 5:17:33 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (Find and cherish your inner Slytherin)
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