Harry Potter

23 Jul

I just finished reading the new Harry Potter book, The Deathly Hallows! How exciting. I’m not going to give away any spoilers here. But the book was definitely a good read and just as well-written as all the other books in the series.

Reading Harry Potter always makes me think about the negative reactions the book receives. It has always baffled me that, with the current illiteracy problem running rampant in the country and the difficulty in getting children to read anything, people would target such a popular book that encourages children to read. The most common complaint is that the book glamorizes magic and seduces young ones away from Christianity and lures them into pagan religions. Well, I don’t know that I agree with this analysis.

Yes, there is magic in the book. But magic is part of the setting (an important element in any kind of writing). It is not a guide book for practicing Wicca. Any parent or leader that feels that children would be so easily led astray by Harry Potter is not teaching their charges properly; and any child that would be so easily swayed has greater problems than reading a good story. Nowhere in any of the books does it talk about converting people to practice magic. This is a book about your basic theme – Good versus Evil. Many excellent stories use this theme like Star Wars and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. It works because it is a fundamental theme in life – God versus Satan. You can’t get any more basic than that.

Magic is not what makes these books so popular. Readers love Harry Potter because there is such a real connection to real life. On a personal level there is the struggle of each character (young and old) finding their place in life, where do I fit in the world, social class division, weird personality quirks, morality issues such as honesty, loyalty, charity, and integrity. On a larger level it gets into government practices on a local as well as global level, and the corruptibility of any government. People are able to make a connection to the Harry Potter books because they see these everyday things in their everyday life. They are making a connection. Just like people do to any good book ever written (like Pride and Prejudice, another favorite).

The big point is that in a time when reading is not the norm, Harry Potter encourages kids to read. And that is a rare thing nowadays.

Buy this book at Amazon.com

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