Skip to comments.Harry Potter and the Dark Side
Posted on 07/18/2005 6:36:15 AM PDT by Kitten Festival
J.K. Rowling is historys 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 doesnt 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
No, but only because Aslan intervened. Read the book again.
I don't think Rowling is quite as sophisticated theologically as Lewis, but I would agree that, so far at least, her outlook is basically compatible with Christianity. Just start with the fictional hypothesis that some people are endowed by inheritance with magical abilities, and she treats this endowment much as a Christian would treat endowment with talents.
If God gives someone great talents, of intelligence, strength, quickness, these talents can be put either to good or evil use. But talents are good in themselves. Similarly, if you had magical powers you could use or abuse them. The good people in Harry Potter play games with magic in a spirit of joy, or use them beneficially. The evil people seek power.
Pullman's books are basically Gnostic: the creator of the world is evil, there is hidden knowledge known only to the initiate, knowledge is power, and so forth. I wouldn't be surprised if Rowling drew on Pullman in portraying her villains. A recent review suggests that she also drew on the great duel between Hitler and Churchill, displaced for a while by the appeaser Neville Chamberlain. Hitler, of course, was also saturated with ideas about dark magic.
Yes, I believe my husband and his networking group spend time in their lab cutting the heads of chickens.
He generally will go to cartoons with his younger cousins. He always says he is "taking them", yet he always comes home enjoying them!
I never read a Pullman book. Just the reviews. He sounds pretty hate-filled.
Deeply creepy. George Felos creepy. Don't-let-this-in-your-door creepy.
Sounds like a good kid, er, young man!
That's the overall impression I've always gotten from the books - that they are WWII allegories (Lord of the Rings, too).
The mindless daemon sultan Azathoth lies at the center of nuclear chaos, writhing to the pipings of idiot flute-players.
Do you have an "Incredibly Long Screen Names" ping list?
Unhappily, no. Although that's a good idea! I do have the "copy" and "paste" right-click menu which comes in handy for them. LOL!
As far as being dark and violent, are they any darker or more violent than the Universal horror films and Hammer horror films (the ones which added color and gore) that I loved when I was a kid, and I'd at least like to THINK that I turned out OK. :)
I'll bite, what was so horrible about Fantastic 4? It seemed really tame to me.
Where's the danger you might ask? The danger lies in projections and perceptions. The author of the books is projecting when at best she can only perceive. Her main character is a boy and she purports to write from within outwards, something she can not truly do, a complete lie. To deal with every problem the boy (really a girl -projection people) uses convoluted logic and a magical spell to fix everything. This is a very bad foundation for young girls to adhere for it leads to delusion. Skim closer and you will see the soullessness of this women. You might again ask yourself what is it she desires so much that she has to broach it as a man would as though she's a man?
I'll take your advice :-)
no...not really...just pointing out the obvious as to the silliness of this issue....
to assume their is no danger is itself absurd.
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.
My ten year old agrees. I let my children be exposed to culture while taking on the added burden of talking about what the bible says (ie in this case OT bans on witchcraft, and NT advice to not make your neighbor stumble ). In the long run I see this as the best way to protect my children. If they can discern evil and be equiped to consult the bible and use it as direction for their lives, I have accomplished more than out right bans.
While discussing Harry Potter, I asked my youngest son of ten, whether he thought Potter stories could tempt him toward occult activities. His answer was a quick no, followed by a concern that it could affect other children his age. The danger here is not that everyone who reads Potter will become a satanist. The danger is that some will and that Potter will be one link of the chain that leads them there.