Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Case for Harry

If you don't like the Harry Potter series, please don't stop reading. Please bear with me, and give Harry a chance. Here we go.

In my AP English class we're required to write a 5-8 page research paper on a controversial topic, and the second my teacher assigned it I knew exactly what I was going to write about. I chose banned/controversial books. In this blog post I'm going to share the part of my paper about Harry Potter, along with some of my additional thoughts.
I first discovered The Harry Potter series on the shelves of my third grade classroom. Ever since I was an avid fan. I've read all the books multiple times. I have attended and still attend the movie premieres, and even plan on going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park this summer. Harry Potter is a part of my childhood, a wonderful world for my mind to explore when my everyday life is tiring.
Being a Christian, I've heard a lot of Harry Potter bashing in my lifetime. I could definitely see how someone who has never read the series or been enlightened of the Christian parallels could think it was satanic and not good to be reading. I know some of you might be rolling your eyes as you read this, but don't give up just yet.

Here is an excerpt from my essay about the Harry Potter series:

Among the most controversial of books is the Harry Potter series. It was ranked #1 on the Banned/Challenged booklist for the decade 2000-2009 by the American Library Association. The stories center around Harry Potter and his friends, who attend a wizarding school called Hogwarts. In each book Harry comes face to face with the most dangerous wizard in their world, Lord Voldemort. Throughout the story, Harry and other characters must make the decision between what is easy and what is right. Many people, such as author Steve Wohlberg, think that the series promotes witchcraft. Wohlberg says that "what parents don't realize with Harry Potter is the growth of real witchcraft across America...Harry Potter is desensitizing the world to witchcraft" (Jones). Wohlberg is not the only person to speak out about J.K Rowling's increasingly popular series. Author Richard Abanes argues that the magic portrayed in Harry Potter can lure its readers into practicing real witchcraft because in it you can find references to ideas such as astrology and clairvoyance, which can be replicated (Elliott). Furthermore, Abanes states that author J.K Rowling "does not seem to be" a Christian.
However, all of these accusations against Harry Potter and its author do not hold true. Rowling says that the reason she didn't reveal her Christian faith from the beginning was that if she did, it would be clear who was to live and who was to die in the final book of her series (Gibbs). Once Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, Rowling's faith was obvious. In the book, the only way Voldemort could be disposed of once and for all, is for Harry to lay down his life. He does so, and is raised from the dead to defeat Voldemort. This scenario can be compared to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus that is recognized by  the Christian faith. Furthermore, in the last book Harry discovers a verse from scripture on his parent's grave, "that Rowling says is the theme for the entire series" (Gibbs). The verse is from a passage in 1 Corinthians where Paul is describing Jesus' resurrection: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." If the fate of Harry isn't evidence enough, Rowling also speaks of her own faith. She says that she "went out looking for religion" and "still attends church regularly" (Gibbs). In addition to having an accurate moral compass, the Harry Potter books have also helped children to become better readers. "They've made millions of kids smarter, more sensitive, certainly more literate and probably more ethical and aware of hypocrisy and lust for power. They've made children better adults, I think. I don't know of any books that have worked that kind of magic on so many millions of readers in so short a time in the history of publications" (Gibbs).

This isn't to say that Harry Potter is replacement for the Gospel, or anything of the sort. But before you pass judgement on the series, the author, or the fans, you should consider reading it yourself.
Give Harry a Chance.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The end of a decade, but the start of an age.

As 2010 is coming to a close, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a good friend and mentor of mine a couple weeks ago. She asked, "If you could describe how 2010 has been for you in one-word, what would you say?" It didn't take me very long to think of a word to respond with- I chose "growth."

2010 didn't start off as I had hoped. I dropped to the D&F list at school for the first time in my life, due to problems outside of the classroom. I began, for the first time, to experience being persecuted for my faith. But God was with me through those trials, and the year got better. I was able to attend Prom as a sophomore, and the summer was the best I've ever had to date. My Junior year has been magnificent, I've met so many truly wonderful people, and experienced the privlidges of being an upper classmen, along with my school's football team winning the Class 6A State Title (GO FALCONS!!!) With all the outer changes in my life this year, it would have been impossible to come away from this year without a new mindset. Through it all, I was able to discover things about myself....

Truth is of the upmost importance to me. If I can't be real with someone, and trust that they appreciate who I am, even if we don't agree on everything, I do not need to have a close relationship with that person. I would rather act on the truth and have it hurt me a little, than plaster a fake smile on my face and pretend like nothing is wrong. You should never change the things that make you you to please another person. We were put on this Earth to please God and God alone, no one else. If someone doesn't support you, uplift you, or doesn't agree with things that have made you who you are- they never had your best interests in mind anyway.

And with that... I will let some pictures do the talking, since they are worth a thousand words anyway :)

Last Day of Sophomore Year

Babysitting the twins

Winter Jam


Sweet Sixteen Surprise

Serving at Young Lives camp

Challenge 2010

Summer Days

Summer Nights

Kansas City trip

Ending Summer

The Football Season that produced undefeated State champs

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 Premiere

The Holidays