Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Harry Potter

I was, once upon a time, quite unwilling to read Harry Potter books. The great buzz arising because of them seemed to me to be coming from the public schools, which was proof positive that they must be pretty bad... What I kept hearing about them was that they were all about witchcraft, and were getting kids interested in seances and so forth. "Why bother?", thought I. "That is not what I want for my kids."

In Red Deer our family lived across the street from an excellent young lady who had become a good friend to Timbrel and Zion. Tasha was a very bright 10 year old, and she would tell them about the Harry Potter books she had been reading. Much to her suprise, T & Z told her that their Dad didn't want them reading those books... "Why not?" she said. "Go ask him." they said, and so she did.

"They're really good books, Mr. Soles. Why don't you want your kids to read them?" "I'm not very interested in having them grow up wanting to be witches." "Well I don't want to do that either, but they don't do that at all anyway, Mr Soles, they are just good stories. I'll tell you what; I will lend you my copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and you can read it yourself. If you don't like it, then you don't have to read it to your kids."

What could I say? She was our friend, and you don't just dismiss your friends ideas for nothing, not if you want to keep them... I agreed to read the book. I felt that it would be wise if I started with the first book instead of the third, so I started looking around for it at garage sales, so I didn't have to spend too much money on this foolishness. It took me almost three weeks of humming and hawing before I could bring myself to get at it, but when I did, I was hooked.

I had understood them to be gateways into occultism; what I discovered in the book was a world in which you didn't study to become a wizard, you were born a wizard, and no amount of study could make you one if you were not born one. No gateways there. Instead, I found a world where the things that were prized were friendship, and bravery, and loyalty, and creativity, and self-sacrifice.

I went garage-saleing for more that weekend, and found books 2 & 3 for cheap, then book 4, which had just come out, at a house where (as the lady explained to me) the daughter had been given two hardcover copies. And I went home and read them to my kids. And gave Tasha back her copy.

Ever since getting over my initial reluctance to read them, I have found them to be delightful, with very Christian themes dominating the stories. She pokes fun at all the right sorts of people, and deals with issues that seriously afflict the modern world, always giving the good answers. Learning to do what is right over doing what is easy, for instance. If one wanted to encapsulate the theme of each book in a sentence, book two would have to be "Watch out for what is in your children's school textbooks, it could be harmful!"

Christian, J.K. Rowling is your friend. Read her books. They are among the best Christian literature that has been made in the last 60 years.


Andrew said...

I've resisted reading for a very long time, but it seems like I can't find one single person who has read the books and NOT enjoyed them.

I wonder if knowing the end to Deathly Hallows will ruin my readings of the all the rest.

Jamie said...

It shouldn't ruin it at all. In fact, it should enhance it, as you see Harry growing to the point where he is willing to sacrifice all for the sake of the wizarding world.

Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

Excellent post, Jamie!

Witsius said...

As I've probably said to you before: the Reformed world certainly does lack discernment.