Two Sides to Harry Potter

The New American, September 22, 2003 | Go to article overview

Two Sides to Harry Potter


In response to "Potter-mania's Dark Side" in your July 28th issue, I have to say that THE NEW AMERICAN'S indictment of J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series seems uncharacteristically shortsighted and ill informed. Has the author of the article read the books? I think that if the answer were yes, it would not have been written.

My wife and I are evangelical Christians; we teach our children at home; and I have read each book in the Harry Potter series aloud to the whole family, so I speak from experience and conscience. The Harry Potter books are not saturated with occult imagery; they use the platform of magic, an alternate science, if you will, and frame it in morally unequivocal terms. Just as Shakespeare, Grimm, Aesop, Milton, C.S. Lewis, Chesterton, and countless others have illustrated moral absolutes with dark or magical images, Rowling uses an extended analogy of a magical culture, and within that analogy she indicts pride, amoral ambition, lawlessness--and, incidentally, big and unaccountable government--while extolling the virtues of freedom, loyalty, responsibility, and the unassailable power of sacrifice, love and family. Will you indict C.S. Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia? Magic runs throughout them.

Also, my family is encouraged to find that there is someone like Rowling (in the UK, no less!) out there who thinks like we in the John Birch Society do--that the times are dangerous, that the government is easily swayed by those in power who would take our freedom, and that God-given rights are worth working and fighting for by those who hold morality and freedom dear. That is a major theme that runs throughout the Harry Potter series.

You are responsible for your magazine--you aren't responsible for, nor should you answer to, uninformed emotional responses. …

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