What's Wrong with Harry Potter?, by Anne F

An Essay By Anonymous // 12/12/2003

Harry Potter! Harry Mania! The books, the movies, the fans! He's the latest sensation! British author J. K. Rowling's new series about a young English wizard-in-training are wildly popular with readers of all ages, and with the first movie now playing in the theaters, even non-readers can join the club! The books are thrilling, and well written. Harry is a very likable boy, loyal to his friends and courageous in danger. The world has accepted Harry. But some Catholic/Christian authors, parents, and teens find cause for concern about Mr. Potter. Including myself. And I'd like to talk about this.

First of all, what makes a book morally good? The ultimate requirement is that good is portrayed as good, and evil as evil. No muddling up the line between good and evil. It is not acceptable to have a bad "hero" and a villain who's basically the villain because he's worse than the hero. And some books do that. Of course, even the hero will have his or her faults- it would be outrageously boring if they didn't! But those faults need to be presented as faults, and not just as a way of life.

Now, is Harry a good hero? Well, he's certainly courageous, loyal, and a good friend. Those are desirable qualities, but not unto themselves. What I mean is that they cannot stand by themselves- some gangsters are courageous in murdering and robbing, and they are loyal to their gang! These qualities need to be balanced out by others, such as wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, reverence, and fear of the Lord. In short- virtues! The list goes on and on.

Aside from Harry's wizardry activities, do Harry and the books have a good moral standard? I would say no. Harry often lies and breaks rules. Does that automatically make the Potter series bad books? Of course not! In Mark Twain's classic book Tom Sawyer, the hero, Tom, is forever fibbing and breaking rules. But the difference between Harry and Tom is the way their behavior resolves itself. Tom is punished for breaking the rules. True, he does worm out of his whitewashing punishment! But he is often whipped for his misbehavior.

Harry, however, is constantly breaking the rules with no consequences. In fact, his breaking a rule usually leads to something good! It's true that sometimes one has to break a rule or law in order to fulfill a higher one: Say a man is drowning in a lake that is marked "No Trespassing". One would have to break the lesser law in order to save the man's life. But how often is one confronted with such a situation? Rarely, if ever.

Harry is confronted with such situations all the time! And he is often rewarded instead of punished. In fact, at one point, after Harry has been disobedient again, the headmaster of the school says to him, "Harry, my boy, I told you that if you broke the rules once more, you'd be expelled. Which just goes to show that at some point or other one has to eat one's words!" Is that the sort of attitude we should have to law-breakers? "The end does not justify the means."

Another issue is the use of witchcraft in the Potter series. The story glamorizes witchcraft. Harry is a wizard-in-training, at a Hogwarts Academy, a school of wizardry. He learns how to levitate objects, cast spells, fly a broom; he has classes in astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens, etc.

All in fun, right? It's just a cute, funny and clever fantasy, right? I think not. The problem is that the books make witchcraft seem desirable. It is true that the books say that witchcraft is a power that can be used for good or evil, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church states in articles 2115 and 2117 that "all practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others- even if this were for the sake of restoring their health- are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion.they contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone."

These books lower our guard against the very real evils of witchcraft! Their being set in England, a real country, makes them even more dangerous, I think. Many kids say, "Oh, I wish that I could do magic things like Harry." It seems innocent enough, but that is not the attitude we ought to have. One might get what one wishes for, and then.the occult is real, unfortunately, and God is NOT involved!

(Please don't confuse magic with miracles. God works miracles through human instruments. They are caused by faith in Our Maker, and prayer to Him.)

At the very least, I think that one should stay open to the possibility that these books are not good. Perhaps you could pray about it, and read more about this subject- there are many wonderful articles out there written by persons much more expert than I am! Please, just keep in mind that just because something's fantasy doesn't make it okay. Someone once said to me, "There is the real stuff, and the fake stuff." That's true, but there is also good and bad "real stuff" and good and bad "fake stuff."

Comments

whats wrong with harry potter

sure you make some good points but habe you ever thought for those who don believe in "god" this gives them some hope that there is something else out there or those who are raised orphans they can dream away the bad things

Anonymous | Thu, 07/05/2007

At the time of the article's

At the time of the article's writing it was quite a debate, it's quieted down now. Perhaps the writer is giving their two cents on the issue. Not all writing is intended to be fair and balanced to all views. Some of it, such as this article, presents a unique view. Having read the books myself I see a few flaws in the assertions of what's contained within them. For example, Harry does often face the consequences of his actions but not always right away, it's often much later. But the article is well written none the less.

Shane | Thu, 07/05/2007

? about Harry Potter

Hi! :-)

I found your addy on a site after googling either "anti harry potter" or "what's wrong with Harry Potter"

Please contact me at Rufinoform1@hotmail.com

While I do agree that Harry Potter, which I've heard referred to as "Today's Dungeons And Dragons," could lead a kid into witchctraft and I'm as much against witchcraft as you are, I have to admit I do wonder how many have *actually* been lead into witchcraft by reading all or part of a book or seeing all or part of a movie versus how many have read all or part of a book or have seen all or part of a movie?

If it helps, out of my own curiosity, I once e-mailed the owners of several witchcraft websites asking "How much of Harry Potter is actual witchcraft" and the cosensus is "Nothing in Harry Potter is actual witchcraft and if it were, the flying cars & brooms, magic wands, etc., would be considered 'show magic' which is useless."

All that aside, what about stories like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Beauty And The Beast which contain what could be considered witchcraft? Why are people jumping all over Harry Potter and not those stories? What about author Philip Pullman's "Dark Trilogy" in which the objective of main characters, according to what I'm told, is trying to kill Jehovah? Why aren't people raising a fuss about that?

Moonbarker Osbourne
"Hop on board let the wind carry you around!...No one is safe! No stone is left unturned! And we won't stop 'till somebody get burned!"
Petra - Witch Hunt

Anonymous | Thu, 08/09/2007

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