Who\'s Afraid of Harry Potter

Someone suggested this story.Amy Hollingsworth has written a very interesting Story at Christianity.com. She says Harry ain\'t so bad after all, and she\'s glad she read the book, after all she heard.

\"Evil is real. It exploits those who give their lives to it and then leaves them for dead (which is what happened to poor Professor Quirrell). That’s what Voldemort represents. What conquers that kind of evil is not a magic wand, but the goodness and bravery Harry is best known for. I’m not really sure why Harry Potter has been singled out. I have a hard time believing that the masses cried foul when C.S. Lewis wrote about a White Witch exploiting a young boy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or when the Queen of the Night took center stage in Mozart’s The Magic Flute or when L. Frank Baum unveiled the Wizard of Oz. Maybe they did. But if I had to answer the question, “Who’s afraid of Harry Potter?,” my guess would be: Mostly those who haven’t bothered to get to know him yet.\" More from Christianity.com


My son knew about this conditional status and would sneak into my bedroom to riffle through the pages like they were contraband. Talk about building interest. After I read each chapter, he would ask for a detailed summary. Midway through the book, I stopped giving summaries and we began reading the book together.


These are the reasons why I’m glad I did.


1. The books highlight experiences kids can relate to. Instead of arguing over who’s got the best bike or the coolest video game, Harry’s friends ooh and aah over the Nimbus Two Thousand, the latest and most coveted broomstick model. They collect wizard trading cards. There’s even a bully (aptly named Draco Malfoy) who makes Harry’s life miserable.


J.K. Rowling doesn’t hesitate to point out the unfortunate fact that people are sometimes divided into social classes, with labels like Muggles (nonwizarding types, like you and me), Squibs (nonwizarding types from wizarding families), and Mudbloods (a pejorative for someone with magically-challenged parents). The books provide a safe place for kids to identify with peer pressure, bullies and injustices in a setting that’s pure fantasy.


2. The books allow you to become a part of history. Reading the Harry Potter series, I feel a kinship with those Britons who paged through Bentley’s Miscellany in 1837 eager to read the monthly installments chronicling the adventures of another famous orphan, one by the name of Oliver Twist. I’m not trying to be dramatic here. How often do you and your children get to follow a tale as it’s unfolding, knowing all the while that it’s destined to become a classic? I see the Harry Potter books this way. I don’t have to wait for any historian to tell me these books will be considered among the very best of children’s literature.


3. The books encourage naming the thing you fear. It was Albus Dumbledore, the wise and noble headmaster of Hogwarts School, who spoke the words I quoted earlier. He cautioned Harry to always use the proper name for things because “fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” I think those parents who want to censor Harry Potter, or those who simply refuse to read the books at all, are more fearful of “names” or words than anything else—magic, potions, wizards, witches, spells. But these things are not the central focus of the stories.

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