Write a 8-10 narrative paragraph starting with the following words:
And Harry Potter stepped into the labyrinth for yet another magic adventure.
The above exercise was given at the English olympiad as the final subject to be made (VI).
What was my reaction? Of joy? Sadly (or gladly), not. Because, at the doors of the educational system, it is not to be made Alohomora for Harry Potter.
Why? The arguments are of spiritual nature. In my opinion, the “Harry Potter” series ar not “anti-christian” stories and J.K.Rowling didn’t have “evil intentions” writing it.
But there are some themes which I do not agree (making abstraction of the “magical setting” of the books):
1) splitting the human species into ‘muggles’ (lacking magical powers) and ‘initiated’, between them being differences only of blood but not morality.
2) a disturbing way of embodiment for the dead (ghosts)
3) the “hocus-pocus” method by which the ‘initiatied’ can do – in an unlimited way – any spells they wish, from those which can make their life easier (opening doors, gathering some objects) to those by which they can subject a human being to horrible torments (manipulation by hypnosis, torture) or…. even kill him (by the infamous ‘avada kedravra’)
4) the biblical argument: the “Harry Potter” series raises interest for witchcraft, practice condemned by the Holy Scripture.
5) other minor things which I will not enumerate
Although other famous authors (Lewis, Tolkien) used a magical world as the universe of their books (“The Narnian Chronicles”, “The Lord of the Rings”), the feeling created by the setting is one radically different.
Despite I would agree the study at school of the two above mentioned writers and the series of books they had published, I would oppose vehemently to the advancement of Rowling and her “Harry Potter” books in the educational system.
This way of seeing things is not mine and mine only, but can be observed at thousands of other Christians. Why do you think it is so? Misogyny? I doubt.
The most solid arguments would be:
1) The aspect of a divine being (Tolkien: Eru Ilúvatar) and of a entity above human nature (Tolkien: Ainur, Lewis: Aslan) isn’t be found in the “Harry Potter” series.
2) While the Narnian world is bound only partially to the “earth-born world”, the ‘magical world’ of the Harry Potter series is sticked to the ‘real world’, the majority of the “initiated” being aware of this conexion and having a Illuminati-like power on ‘our world’.
3) Even if the protagonists of all the three books are children (or are modelled after the children’s nature – as a hobbit, Frodo was adult) who face difficult challenges, in Rowling’s series, Harry takes on the role of leader, a fact which makes the story unlikely. An comparation between Potter and an allegorically Christ seems absurd, the other series of books offering during the entire story a much more probable mesianic model (Tolkien: Gandalf; Lewis: Aslan)
4) The three layers of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy (mithological, ethical and spiritual) succed in putting in value the anglo-saxonic myths (like Beowulf), the image of a world before, during, after the world and the Christian essence, while the three layers of the ‘Harry Potter’ series (magical, narrative and moral) are superficially profilated and don’t transmit a message of essence.
5) Tolkien and Lewis are structured after the profile of learned men, who had undertaken detailed studies in order to write their masterpicies, while Rowling wrote by instinct, without going through a monumental literary activity.
6) If Tolkien and Lewis had understood and satisfied the thirst for spirituality and imagination of a postbellic world which considered itself the heir of the American pragmatism, Rowling conformed herself to a model of writing for wide consumption, offering only an imaginary but not spiritual world.
7) Tolkien and Lewis published their works only after they had finished them, while Rowling wrote the other seven books only after publishing her first and while she enjoying a great succes, also due to the excessive publicity made to her books (by movies, video games).
8) ‘Narnia’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ were written by Christians for Christians, ‘Harry Potter’ by a pseudo-Christian for an indefinite public.
CONCLUSION: I do not condemn the reading of the “Harry Potter” series, but any eventual introduction of it in the educational system. My opinion is that they are worth studying in school only the authors whose writing are idealy shaped (like Tolkien and Lewis). The rest? On the couch (home) and at the table of the literary critic!