“yer a wizard, harry.”

So this is the Harry Potter post you all have been waiting for!  Read it or don’t read it; comment or don’t comment.  I don’t care.  These are just my thoughts on the subject and the conclusions I’ve personally come to after deciding to read the Harry Potter series.  (Read my first post about it here, which I wrote soon after I finished the first three books.  I’ll probably unintentionally repeat some of what I said in that post, but it might be good for you {and me!} to compare my thoughts then with my thoughts now.)

All was well.

-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

harrypotter.jpgWith that quote, the book series that I’d been completely obsessed with for the past five months came to a close.  I shut the book, hugged it to my chest, and cried and cried and cried.  Not because it was sad or anything (okay, that was part of the reason), but because it was over.  This amazing book series that I’d fallen in love with had ended.

AND I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH ANYTHING ANYMORE.

I hadn’t even expected to get into it that much.  I only personally knew of a few people who had read it (and loved it).  Most of my friends were completely against it.  I had been against it, too.  Then I entered that awkward phase of my life when my dad started letting me make my own decisions about the stuff I let into my mind (and dealing with the consequences I bring on myself).  (If you’re not there yet, you’re probably looking forward to it.  It’s incredible but it’s also incredibly daunting.  Making these kinds of decisions for myself has been amazing… but it’s also been hard.  Sometimes I wish my dad would just tell me what to do sometimes.  It’s hard to know what’s good and bad when you’re just starting to decide where your convictions are.  As wise old Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  *end unintentional tangent*)

From everything I’d read about the series, I thought it was some kind of evil witchcraft book that made you become obsessed with (and possibly even unconsciously join) the occult.  I thought all of the characters were evil and knew that they were doing wrong things all the time.  Furthermore, I thought the series was dark and evil and had no redeemable qualities at all.  (It was, after all, about wizards and witches.)

harrypotter12Boy howdy, was I wrong.

This just goes to show that you should take everything with a grain of salt.  Either Edgar Allan Poe or Benjamin Franklin said, “Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.”  Just like you should always double-check what you’re hearing in church with what the Bible actually says, you should probably align what people say with what God says because people are biased.

For the first twenty years of my life, Harry Potter wasn’t in the gray area at all.  In my mind, it was completely evil and there weren’t any good lessons to be learned from it.

Then, someone recommended it a year or so after my dad started letting me make decisions for myself, and I asked him if I could read it and he said yes and the rest is history.

I really can’t explain how much I loved this series.  I haven’t connected so much to a series in such a long time.  Also, believe it or not, this series was THE BEST “secular” series I’ve ever read because it had so many allusions to Biblical lessons.  (Notice that I said “allusion” rather than “allegory.”  The Harry Potter series is not an allegory and should never be called one.)  In some respects, it was even better than some of the explicitly Christian books I’ve read because it contained everything I’ve always wanted from Christian fiction but never get.  I kid you not.

So why did I love it so much?  Well, sit back and I’ll tell you.

The Magic

harrypotter6Before I get into all of the amazing things about it, let me clear something up.  The Harry Potter series does not have real-life, occult magic in it.  Occult magic (such as séances and witchcraft rituals and demonic powers) very much exists and we should definitely stay away from it.  However, John Granger says in his book Finding God in Harry Potter, “The magic in Harry Potter is no more likely to encourage real-life witchcraft than time travel in science fiction novels encourages readers to seek passage to previous centuries.”

Others have explained the type of magic in Harry Potter better than I can, but my (extremely simplified) explanation of the difference between the magic in Harry Potter and the very real, very evil magic in the world, is that, rather learning how to do something that is, until that time, unknown to them (as with Wiccan rituals), the characters in this series merely learn how to control something that has always been a part of them.  They didn’t have to learn how to invite the magic into them or whatever – it was always a part of them.  (Much like Elsa from Frozen, whose icy powers were never explained other than the fact that “she’s always had them,” and Mary Poppins, who can make toys and bedsheets do her bidding by snapping her fingers and can fly around the world and jump into chalk drawings.)   For instance, in the very first book, pre-Hogwarts Harry misuses his gift because he’s angry at his cousin.  Later in the series, it’s revealed that Tom Riddle did the same thing to some of his fellow orphans at the orphanage.

My favorite explanation came from a Christianity Today article entitled “Redeeming Harry Potter.”

If Rowling intended Harry Potter as Wiccan propaganda, I’d be the first to jump ship. But the author is emphatic: she doesn’t believe in magic. So how can she be promoting witchcraft as a religion? Instead, she uses magic as a vehicle for the plot—a literary device for the story’s themes. … Harry wasn’t taught how to be a wizard, he was taught how to control something that was already inside of him. He doesn’t invoke dark powers or evil spirits to do his bidding, he simply uses his genetic abilities (much like a superpower) for good. C.S. Lewis, in defending the “magic” in his Narnia books, calls this “Incantational Magic.” … Ultimately, the source of the characters’ powers isn’t really addressed, and that’s fine for the purpose of the story. Rowling places far more emphasis on how the individuals choose to use their powers and abilities in relation to others. Magic has traditionally been used in this way as a metaphor in classic literature, as something that can hold meaning in our own lives.

Now, obviously, if you’ve got a problem with where the magic comes from, you’ll have a problem with the books (which is the case with some of my relatives).  But since I’ve researched J.K. Rowling (aka Jo)’s intentions with the magic (she only uses it as a plot device and she doesn’t believe in the occult {read this article if you don’t believe me}), and I know she often gets annoyed when people accuse her of putting the occult in there.  So that’s good enough for me.

(Side Note: The first book is only called The Sorcerer’s Stone in the US.  Everywhere else, it’s The Philosopher’s Stone.  The only reason it was changed in the US is because the US publisher, Arther Levine, thought that no one would buy a children’s book with “philosophy” in the title.)

Good vs. Evil

One of the greatest strengths of the Potter series is its treatment of right and wrong.  Rowling loves playing with duality in the characters, showing that we’re all capable of good or evil, yet always clearly distinguishing between the two.  Things aren’t always as they seem in Harry Potter, but we’re always clear on right and wrong.  It is, in fact, a key line to look for in Goblet of Fire, when wise mentor Professor Dumbledore explains to Harry that he will face the choice between “doing what is right and what is easy.” (Russ Breimeier, Redeeming Harry Potter)

harrypotter11This was seriously one of my favorite aspects of the books.  As John Granger explains in Finding God in Harry Potter, the battle in this series is between “good guys who serve truth, beauty, and virtue, and bad guys who lust after power and private gain.”  The central conflictis between good and bad, specifically between the descendants Godric Gryffindor (Harry) and Salazar Slytherin (Voldemort).  (Jo hasn’t confirmed that Harry’s a descendant of Gryffindor, but I think it’s a given and I’m betting it’ll be revealed in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.)  The symbolism of this is all over the place.  Just look at Gryffindor’s symbol (a lion) versus Slytherin’s (a snake).  Sound familiar?

But, just like in real life, the good guys aren’t all good (e.g. Peter Pettigrew, a Gryffindor) and the bad guys aren’t all bad (e.g. Reglulus Black and Draco Malfoy, both Slytherins and, um, hello, Severus Snape).  Unlike a lot of the books I read, none of the characters are perfect.  There isn’t a Mary Sue or a Gary Stu to be had in the entire series.  Every single character has their faults.  For instance, Harry idolizes his father, thinking him to be the model of perfection, and it’s only when he relives one of Snape’s memories that he realizes this is not the case.  Ron is a bit of a selfish brat at times, Hermione can be unforgiving, and even Harry himself performed a few Unforgivable Curses (the Cruciatus Curse three times and the Imperius Curse once).  Even Dumbledore, who is one of the wisest characters I’ve ever come across in any of the books I’ve ever read, definitely has his faults.

Like every human being, they struggle with how to act in situations.  As Dumbledore tells Harry once, “Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”  Even though they’re conflicted regarding decisions most of the time, Harry, Ron, and Hermione always do the right thing.  Even Neville my precious cinnamon roll child, who has the most reason to hate Voldemort (whose underling tortured his parents almost to death and was successful in the destruction of their minds), still fights for what’s right and never acts out in anger.

However, the lines between good and evil are clearly drawn.  Whenever Voldemort was in any of the books, I couldn’t help but feel utter horror at everything he did.  As we learn in the last two books, Voldemort is only able to do everything he does because he’s willing to kill – “the supreme act of evil,” as someone else in the series defines it.  “That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend.  Of house-elves and children’s tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing.  Nothing.”  As Dumbledore tells Harry in Deathly Hallows, “Do not pity the dead, Harry.  Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.”  His incapacity to understand love is his ultimate downfall.

Like Tolkien, Rowling’s depiction of evil is incredibly Augustinian. Early Church father St. Augustine defines evil as a perversion of the good. He also emphasizes that evil is not an equal match of the Good, but far weaker. As something good becomes twisted and warped, it moves closer to nonbeing. Lord Voldemort is really a perfect example of this. As he becomes more deeply entrenched in evil, he becomes less and less human, less and less alive. The acts of murder and cruelty he carries out literally tear apart his soul making his being less whole. He is a shadow of a man. The quest for power without goodness is truly a journey toward pathetic and grotesque brokenness as is portrayed in the King’s Cross chapter in The Deathly Hallows when Harry is face to face with a visual depiction of Voldemort’s soul. Like the White Witch in Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, evil according to the Potter books cannot even comprehend the great strength of love and is ultimately destroyed by it.  (Haley Stewart, Why Your Kids Need to Read Harry Potter)

Which brings me to my next point…

Love

harrypotter2In stark contrast to this is the love that is shown to Harry and everyone else on the good side.  In the very first chapter of the very first book, there is an example of John 15:13 love.  Harry’s mother, Lily, sacrificed her life for Harry’s, which is the reason he’s still alive in the beginning of the first book.  You don’t need a neon sign to see it.  Dumbledore tells Harry in The Philosopher’s Stone, “Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign… to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.”  Later, in Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore explains, “But I knew too where Voldemort was weak. And so I made my decision. You would be protected by an ancient magic of which he knows, which he despises, and which he has always, therefore, underestimatedto his cost. I am speaking, of course, of the fact that your mother died to save you. She gave you a lingering protection he never expected, a protection that flows in your veins to this day.”

This John 15:13 love is repeated over and over and over again in the books.  Harry risks his life for Ginny Weasley in the second book, then again in the last book.

Harry is shown love, too, by the Weasleys.  Since he doesn’t have a loving family, they take him in over the holidays almost every year so he doesn’t have to go home to the Dursleys.  They treat him like he’s a member of the family, both by giving him gifts at Christmas (which, as explained in the first book, are his first Christmas gifts ever {which made me totally sob}) and making him help clean their house for a wedding in Deathly Hallows.

harrypotter10.jpgInstead of going on and on (trust me, I can), I’ll just highlight one more of my favorite examples of love in this series.  In the sixth book, one of the characters has his face slightly disfigured by a werewolf.  His mother is afraid that his fiance won’t marry him anymore because of the scarring.  She insists that she will, which makes another character, Tonks, turn to the man she loves, Remus Lupin (a werewolf) my other precious cinnamon roll child, and say, “You see!  She still wants to marry him, even though he’s been bitten!  She doesn’t care!”  Lupin insists that the cases are different, but Tonks shuts him down.  “But I don’t care either, I don’t care!  I’ve told you a million times!”  (And then Lupin insists that she needs someone “young and whole” and Mrs. Weasley says “But she wants you.  And after all, Remus, young and whole men do not necessarily remain so.”  And then I started crying again.)  Tonks insists that she loves Remus for who he is, even though he thinks he’s unable to be loved.  Which just goes to show that there will always be someone out there who will love you, despite how unlovable you think you are.  (#thingsHarryPottertaughtme)

Themes

Dang, y’all.  The themes!  Love was just the beginning.

Somebody asked me via text what I thought of the series and what I learned from it, so I let them have it.  Here’s what I said:

Well I love the importance the books place on joy and that the act of simply being happy can overcome anything (“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one remembers to turn on the light“) and the amazing lessons of friendship and loyalty and “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live” and HELLO the importance of living with love (bc living without love ended up being Voldemort’s downfall). There’s such an emphasis on family, too, and the importance family can have on your life. Harry was raised by his relatives who didn’t love him at all and didn’t realize that there were good people in the world who loved their families until he met the Weasleys. And everybody always points out how Hermione is such a bookworm and a study freak but it’s true and I kinda wish I’d had her as a role model when I was younger. And HELLO the many many maaaaany instances of John 15:13 love that is praised over and over and over. And Dumbledore’s insistence that even though something’s happening in your head, it doesn’t make it any less real. And his other words of wisdom to Harry that we should pity those who live without love. And Sirius’s quote that says something like that we all live with darkness and light inside of us and it’s the part that we act on that defines us. And then there’s my favorite character, who taught me that no matter what you think is wrong with you, someone will always be there to love you despite it.  And then the friendships in the stories that only grow deeper through trials and the love that’s shown to everyone and I don’t even know I just have so many feelings.

(Yeah.  Don’t ask me questions like that {especially via text} if you don’t want me to fangirl all over you.)

In addition to all of that…

harrypotter13.jpgLaughter – Rowling places a distinct importance of laughter and happiness in the books.  Someone on Tumblr said, “Happiness isn’t just a feeling—it’s a weapon. Look at how harry and his friends fight: with riddikulus, laughter stymies a creature made of fear; with expecto patronum, the very memory of happiness beats back the grim forces of depression.” (See the rest of their post here.)  (Also, may I just add that Lupin originally taught Harry and the gang those spells and I just think that’s significant.)

Truth – These books also have so many good lessons about truth and the consequences of lying.  In the sixth book, Harry finds a spellbook owned by the Half-Blood Prince.  Hermione is against him using any of the spells written in the book because he doesn’t know who the owner really is, and when Harry ignores her warning, it almost leads to death for one of his classmates.  As Dumbledore says in the first book, the truth “is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”

harrypotter4.jpgCourage – Harry and his friends learn so much about bravery in this series.  They face many shiver-inducing circumstances, but they don’t back down.  (Well, {spoiler} except for Ron That One Time in Deathly Hallows, but he comes back with a firmer resolve to be brave.)  Especially Neville, who learns the most about bravery from book one.  (“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” – Albus Dumbledore)

Society – I was watching a scene from Half-Blood Prince and this comment really struck me: “Draco Malfoy’s character just shows how society shapes an individual. He was born to a racist father, and spent his childhood in the midst of people who considered Muggles [normal people without magic] to be beneath them. He was taught that money and power was everything from his childhood. Considering such an upbringing, he actually turned out to be a real gem of a person.”  (And I think his character was more dimensional in the last three movies than in the last two books.  In the books, he was scared of what he’d promised to do, but we see it more in the movies and the inner turmoil he suffers through.)

The Value of Human Life – Just like Harry’s mother sacrifices her life for Harry’s, the value of others’ lives is explicitly shown.  Nobody was worth less than anyone else.  Even Hermione fought hard for the freedom of house elves, even though they were literally made to be servants.  Every death is accounted for and mourned (which leads to a lot of sobbing, both from the characters and the reader).  “We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”  (Kingsley Shacklebolt, Deathly Hallows.)

harrypotter3.gif

In Conclusion

“Wherever we see beauty, light, truth, goodness, we see Christ. Do we think him so small that he couldn’t invade a series of books about a boy wizard? Do we think him cut off from a story like this, as if he were afraid, or weak, or worried? … The Harry Potter story is subject to him, too, and Jesus can use it however he wants. In my case, Jesus used it to help me long for heaven, to remind me of the invisible world, to keep my imagination active and young, and he used it to show me his holy bravery in his triumph over the grave.” (Andrew Peterson, Harry Potter, Jesus, and Me)

So, yeah, I did love this series.  I’ll probably read the books again soon, and I know I’ll watch the movies again soon.  (I’ve seen some of them multiple times because I love them so much – especially Prisoner of Azkaban, which was my favorite book before I fell in love with Deathly Hallows.)

I’ll be the first to admit that the series has its faults.  The Voldemort scenes repulsed me because he’s so evil (which all great villains are supposed to be).  A few of the characters got on my nerves (looking at you, Ron).  And a lot of the characters died, which is definitely a fault (*weeps silently*).

But it was also amazing.  And I’ve already gone into too much detail about why I thought it was so amazing, but I’ll say it again – IT WAS AMAZING.  That was half of the reason why I cried when it was over.  Because it was over, yes, but also because it was so phenomenal.  The story of how Jo wrote it still blows my mind and inspires me to write engaging and complex literature, too.

The thing I loved the most about it, though, was the fact that it inspired me to fight for good.  In his book, Finding God in Harry Potter, John Granger says that the series “fulfills our God-implanted longing to resist evil and serve the good.”

I can’t agree more.

harrypotter14.jpg

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34 thoughts on ““yer a wizard, harry.”

  1. Ah, the FEELS! You may have said this before, but I’m curious, what house are you? I’m a diehard Ravenclaw. 😉 I grew up in a pretty conservative Christian home and didn’t read the books or watch the movies until a few months ago (I’m almost eighteen), and I did it from the viewpoint of wanting writing tips–I wanted to know how JKR had created characters that were so real and lasting. I’m ruined for life now, haha.

    Hailey
    haileyhudson.wordpress.com

    • Heehee – I’m Hufflepuff. 🙂 That’s awesome! Our stories are so similar! And WHAT A GOOD REASON TO READ THEM bc the characters are LITERALLY PERFECT. Haha welcome to the black hole that is Harry Potter. XD

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  4. Hallo! So, I commented on your first Harry Potter post a while back and said I’d come read this one after I’d finished the series which I finally completed movie-wise this week. (Just need to finish reading the final book). I now am a huge fan of the occult, have buried myself deep into black magic and am researching wiccan clubs near me. Actually, no! I’ve come through Harry Potter completely unscathed and with no more information about real magic than I had before I started :D. This post is fantastic because it sums up many of my thoughts about Harry Potter and why it *isn’t* harmful so well. I particularly like your point about magic simply being a vehicle for the plot line and that its the characters managing something within themselves. I agree that that is one of the fundamental differences between making the series “good” as opposed to “bad” (to put it in very simplistic terms!). I loved the series for the gripping and ultimately triumphant plot line, I loved it for the themes and I loved it for the complex characters. I’ve also had some very interesting discussions with other people because Harry Potter is still a very divisive topic in Christian circles! I’d already read / heard most of the arguments against Harry Potter growing up but you still get warnings ranging from “Harry Potter is full of witchcraft and the Bible says that’s evil!” to “Well someone I know spoke to someone who used to be part of the occult before they got saved and they said Harry Potter is full of the occult”. Just on that one, I’ve had some vigorous discussion surrounding the idea that Harry Potter leads you to investigate the occult and my opinion is that the desire comes from us and our own wicked hearts. Harry Potter in itself is not related to witchcraft but someone who was already interested in the occult might use the books to further fuel their desire to seek out witchcraft. Growing up as a kid, I read a lot of harmless fairy tales and I think that background also helped me to see past the Evil Witchcraft Warnings and see the series as it is, a fictional fantasy tale that is completely different from the sorcery of the world. I’ve been obsessively pinning Harry Potter pins on pinterest and I really like one that said: “Saying Harry Potter is teaching kids witchcraft is like saying watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy makes you a heart surgeon”. SO TRUE! On the flip side, one of my best friends also decided to delve into the series and it’s been great discovering it together. I am so so glad I dived into this and honestly, most of the opponents of Harry Potter have never read the series. They’re like what I was, going off what they think it’s about rather than examining it for themselves. Having said that, yes, there will always be people who have read / watched the series and still disapprove and that’s between them and God. For those who haven’t read/ watched it, I do think it’s important to properly examine it before making a final judgement.
    I know you live for long comments but I think I basically wrote a blog post here so sorry!! 😀

    – The Elf –

    • Oh, I remember you – HI! Suffering from feels? I was such a mess after I finished the last book. *hands tissues*

      HA. I was worried for a second, then I realized it was a joke. NICE. XD THANK YOU!!!!! It’s not real magic! I have NO CLUE how occult magic works – and actually I learned more about the occult in five minutes of Jumanji and two scenes in Downton Abbey than I did in ALL OF HARRY POTTER.

      I’m so glad you liked it and agreed with my points!!! And I really think that’s why it soars over most other books – the triumphant plot line, the CLEAR emphasis on Good Vs Evil, and the characters. I’ve had all of those conversations, too – less now, though, because we’re done with the series (and “already gone,” according to most of my anti-harry friends, lol!). I think the problem is that most of those people take those arguments (“it’s the same witchcraft that’s in the Bible” and “my friend, blah blah blah”) haven’t. actually. read. the. books. Which is why I felt like I needed to read them for myself – I needed to know why *I* didn’t like them. (And whatdya know, I ended up loving them. HA.)

      SO true!!! I love your comparison of fairy tales and fantasy stories. AHH YESSSSSS. Oh my gosh that’s so true! I LOVE IT.

      Exactly, and it’s really sad. I love the fact that reading it for myself has challenged me to look deeper into more of my own convictions – why do I listen to the music I listen to, why don’t I watch certain movies, etc. It’s made my convictions my own and I love it. OH DEFINITELY. I know my aunt and uncle watched the first two or three and stopped right there (and I’m like “well that’s bc the books are better and the first few aren’t that great BUT IT’S YOUR CALL”), and that’s totally fine! I’m not saying anyone should watch it or not watch it, I’m just saying that you should think about whether it’s your own conviction or your parents’.

      HA. It’s totally fine!!! Thanks for reading the post!!!

      • I haven’t finished the final book yet (only the final movie) but I’ll take tissues now in preparation (Snape sob sob) 😢 My favourite is still Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (bit of a give away I’m not from the US 😂) but I LOVED Deathly Hallows part 2! The end was so reminiscent of Return of the King in the LOTR trilogy and the final tense moments before triumph…. just loved it 😁 The movie glossed over quite a few of the deaths but I’m sure the book will cover them in painful detail. *weeps* I had to comment again & fangirl because I wasted my last opportunity talking about convictions instead 😉

        it is a lot to do with personal conviction and working out WHY you do / don’t do stuff. I was reading some of your other blog posts and finding it really cool that you’re basically going through really similar stuff to me – finding that some things you’ve always done / thought are actually quite legalistic and experiencing a new freedom in Christ. I promise you this journey is INCREDIBLE and soo liberating 😁😁 I love you embrace controversy (in a thoughtful kind way) because I’m a gal who loves that and the deep passionate discussions that ensue too. Keep it up… I’ll keep reading! 😁😊

        • You’re welcome. T_T I call it the Philosopher’s Stone, too! (And we have the UK Blu-rays, so it’s Philosopher’s Stone on there, too.) DH2 was great! (Not as good as the book, *Snape voice* obbbbbviouslyyyyy.) YESSSS sooooo reminiscent of RotK! Oh, yes. Like That One’s Whose Name Starts With F. *runs away sobbing* HAHAHAHA. Totally fine. 🙂

          Exactly. Oh and we’re all in the same boat, here. I really don’t think you start to establish your convictions ’til you’re at the end (or out of) your teen years. I mean, you know what they are, but you don’t OWN them ’til then. (That’s how it is for me and some of my friends, at least.) I can’t believe how legalistic I used to be – and it’s pushing me to think even MORE about the things I do and don’t do because of it. And yes – SO MUCH FREEDOM. It’s been so, SO great. 🙂 Haha, yeah, I like controversy if people don’t yell at me and if it makes people think – because people go through the motions too much and don’t stop to really THINK enough. I know I don’t. Deep, passionate discussions are my one weakness. 😉 Thank you – please do!!!

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  6. My family never thought HP was evil, even though lots of Christians seemed to think so. My parents never said I couldn’t read them, I just never felt the urge to. But then my uncle brought all the movies up one summer, and after I watched them I tried to books. Don’t yell at me! I never actually finished the series. I think I got to the Order of the Phoenix and The Half Blood Prince wasn’t at the library, and then… I wasn’t in the mood anymore. lol. I want to try and re-read them sometime. I want to see if how they are the second time around, and if I like them better. (Not to hate on J.K. Rowling, but her writing style in the later books was hard for me to read. Her books felt very self-published.)

    Anyway, the story is good and I really do enjoy the movies when I watch them. Sometimes I’ll get on an HP kick, and want to watch all of them in a week. 😎 I’m not exactly a “fan” but I like them and I think they are good movies.

    • I would never yell at you. : P You need to read the books, though, because they describe the complexities of the story WAY better than the movies. (True. Somebody said that OotP was the only one she didn’t use an editor on, which shows.)

      Yesssss. I haven’t done a marathon yet, but I want to do one soon! (Again, the books are better than the movies.)

  7. Thank you so much for this follow up post! I’ve been looking forward to hearing your thoughts, and you wrote them up so nicely! I’ve just started the first book, and look forward to discovering this new world.

  8. Wow. This post . . . this is fascinating! (Sorry I didn’t see it earlier; I had a really busy week with school and all.)

    I’m a lot more interested in Harry Potter now, definitely! It sounds like the books/movies have a ton of really beautiful lessons in them, and that’s important. Super important. I’m really glad you were able to get so much out of them! 🙂

    I actually just took the Pottermore quiz two days ago (just for larks) and apparently I’m Ravenclaw. I read up on the house description and it sounds pretty accurate–especially the “quirky and individualistic” part. Um . . . yep 😉

    Quick question, out of curiosity: What goes on with those Unforgivable Curses? I mean, what makes them “unforgivable”? Where do they get their power?

    • Thank you! I’m glad you’re more interested in it – let me know if you read them! They do, which makes me sad because people ignore the lessons because of the magic. (A valid reason to not read the series, but still.)

      Oh cool! Ravenclaws are awesome. I haven’t taken the Pottermore quiz yet, but I think I’m either Gryffindor or Slytherin. (My siblings say I’m Ravenclaw, though, which may be true. Lol I have no idea what I am.)

      Great question! (THANK YOU for asking such a great question.) Interestingly enough, the Unforgivable Curses get their power from the same source (which is, like I said, unexplained). The only reason they’re unforgivable is because (99% of the time) whoever does them only does them for selfish reasons and because they seriously harm whoever they’re meant for. The three Unforgivable Curses are the Imperius Curse (which is used to completely control someone else as if they’re a puppet), the Cruciatus Curse (a torture curse), and the Avada Kedavra curse (the killing curse). They’re introduced in the fourth book, and clearly represented as evil. (And then, later, when Harry tries to use one on Voldemort’s right hand woman in a fit of rage, he can’t even do it because he doesn’t have enough conviction behind it. Which just goes to show that the bad people who use those curses are really bad.) Does that answer your question?

      • Yes, indeed, that answers my question! That was what I was wondering, if they came from the same source as the rest of the magic or had another, “darker” source.

        Certainly fascinating stuff–and, from what you’ve said, it does sound a lot like the type of magic in, say, “Frozen,” where the characters are just BORN with it rather than using “witchcraft” or something. I’ll certainly be considering reading them! I also have yet to read/watch LotR, however, so it may be a while before I get to Harry Potter 🙂

        • Nope, it’s the same source. Interesting, right? There *is* “darker” magic in the books, but it all comes from the same source and it just depends on the person and how they use the magic. (As Sirius says, “We’ve all got both light and dark inside of us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”)

          Exactly. That’s the part I didn’t know when I banned it – I thought Harry and his friends learned it all, but they really didn’t, they just learned how to manage it (so they don’t do something evil with it, intentionally or unintentionally). Let me know if you do! And let me know about LOTR, too, because that was one of my first fandoms and it’s very near and dear to my heart. : )

          • I definitely will let you know! I’m kind of excited about trying LotR–I gave it a miss as a kid because I really didn’t enjoy The Hobbit; but I’ve been told that LotR is quite different and well worth trying. (And from the clips of the movies I’ve seen, it looks pretty awesome!)

            • Good! : ) Oh, it’s definitely a lot better. (And the movies are a LOT better than the Hobbit movies, which I only watch for Martin Freeman and Aiden Turner.)

  9. Magic can be used so powerfully in literature, but so often it is abused and used without taste or talent. Other than Narnia and LOTR, I think HP is the best written story with magic I’ve read that really reaches to a depth beyond so many other modern stories, for children, teens, or adults. Thanks for your post!
    Oh, and you thought Ron was annoying? 😦 Ah, I guess he was (can we pretend Lavender never happened?) But I thought he was a lot more real and relatable than Harry was.

  10. Magic, used tastefully, can be a powerful metaphor for so many things, and I think JK Rowling did that splendidly in HP. Other than Narnia and LOTR, I don’t think I’ve ever seen magic in a book used so purposefully and powerfully. You nailed so many good parts of the series – I need to re-read the last ones so I can go back and analyze them again.
    Oh and you thought Ron was annoying? 😦 Oh, I guess he was a little. I appreciated that he was a very “real” character though, even more relatable, I thought, than Harry.

    • It is! I loved, loved, LOVED how she used it – not even as a huge thing in the series (which is hard for people who haven’t read the books to wrap their minds around), but simply as a plot device. LOVE IT. Thank you! I’m going to be re-reading it sometime soon, too. Gotta get back to Hogwarts!

      I loved him in the first few books (especially the chess scene in Sorcerer’s Stone!), but I mainly got annoyed with the fact that he didn’t know that Hermione loved him (and she was too prideful to admit it outright). Then when he left in Deathly Hallows, I got so ticked at him. (But then he came back and saved Harry and I loved him again.) He is! But they’re all real, which I loved.

  11. This is very well-written… I haven’t read HP and have always been around people who think it’s bad. But you made a good point when you said we have to judge what we hear in church with what the Bible says- shouldn’t we do that with books, movies, and everything else? I shouldn’t base all of my facts off of a general opinion.
    I’m not saying I’m going to read HP. I think they sound like amazing books, but I just don’t know where I stand on the subject right now. Partially, I don’t trust myself to discern between the life lessons to be learned and the things that may be bad. But also there’s a lot of well-meaning Christian rantings and ravings to wade through on both sides (the side that says it’s evil and the side that says it’s good).
    I really love the argument for HP that talks about Narnia, because really, if we’re going to allow Narnia and especially if we’re going to allow LOTR, why in the world would we not allow HP? It seems messed up to draw a crooked line, allowing some magic to slide under the wire but shunning the rest.
    Anyway, I really liked reading your opinions- very well articulated. Thanks for posting.

    • Exactly. I’ve just started learning that it’s the same with EVERYTHING. True, we should value other people’s opinions if we trust them, but we have the freedom to make our own decisions about things. I’ve been learning to not just trust people blindly – I want to trust with my eyes wide open.

      That’s totally fine! If you’re not comfortable reading them, don’t. (THANK YOU. The more I learned about HP, the more I realized it was just like LOTR, and it seemed stupid to allow one and not the other. If you’re going to make the excuse for one, it works for the other, too. #doublestandard)

      Thank you so much!

  12. Thank you so much for this post. This answers so many questions I’ve had and destroys a lot of the assumptions I’ve made, and it just sounds fabulous. I’ll let my mom read this, but even if she agrees, I may not get to read them for a few more years, since I’ve also got younger siblings who want to read what I’m reading…anyways, lovely post. ❤

  13. Thanks for summing all that up very nicely Ashley.

    I agree with all that you said in this post, and I would encourage anyone who has doubts about the Harry Potter series to jump in and read it. See for yourself what it’s all about. Ashley, I know one of your favorite things to say is “Don’t dis it ’till you try it” (or something like that)

  14. Having grown up pretty much thinking the same as you (thinking HP has TONS of evil spells, etc), I have only discovered this is not the case within the last 5 years. My parents never said outright that they didn’t like the series, but they didn’t know a lot about it either. My dad likes to pre-read certain books for us when we’re younger, but he didn’t have the time when the books were popular. So, we just never read them.
    Now that some of us are older and are making more choices for ourselves, I think they would be OK with us reading them. Personally, I would probably read them in my room or after the younger ones go to bed. Just out of respect for my parents’ desire that my younger siblings not read them until they’re older. They have a habit of reading books that others are reading 🙂

    • Same. My parents never read the books and took the advice about not reading them from friends we trusted – which I totally understand and love that they did that, because if I’d read it when I was younger back when it first came out, I wouldn’t have been able to handle it.

      That sounds like a great idea. Don’t rub it in their faces, but don’t hide it, either. I’m glad my parents let us all read it at the same time – I would’ve had such a hard time keeping the fangirling all to myself! (And, if you read them, you can get them from the library or you can borrow them from us. 😉 )

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