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.

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