With the latest Harry Potter movie in theaters, and the newest Harry Potter book poised to hit bookstores, PotterMania is at a fever pitch.
It seems everyone's talking about Harry--in newspapers, on TV and across the blogosphere.
Yet, despite the fact that I am an avid reader of fiction and count the Chronicles of Narnia among my favorite books, I have never read a word of a Harry Potter book. Why is that?
Why am I not into Harry?
Well, when the Potter books first gained popularity, I read some things and interviewed some Christians who were totally opposed to the books. They made some good points. They worried about the brand of magic in the books and the possibility of children being lured into the occult by reading them. This article is representative of that opinion.
My kids were already growing up, and they weren't attracted to the books, so I didn't have to take a stand about having them in my home...but based on the anti-Harry things I had read, I just decided it wasn't for me.
Not long afterwards, I began hearing from Christians who I really respect, who are fine with the Harry Potter books, and in fact are avid fans. Political blogger La Shawn Barber, an outspoken Christian, has her own Fantasy Fiction for Christians site that prominently features Harry Potter.
La Shawn points out that Steven Vander Ark, creator of the popular Harry Potter Lexicon, is a Christian who is a librarian at a Christian school and attends a Christian Reformed church. She quotes Vander Ark:
"There are some things that shouldn't be in kids' hands," he says. "But Harry Potter isn't one of them. Here's a kid who fights against evil at the risk of his own life. That's more Christian than playing Monopoly, where you try to slaughter the other players and leave them destitute.
Vander Ark goes on to say:
The message of Harry Potter is that evil is there, it's awful, we have to fight it," he says. "Sometimes it's sneaky and you don't quite know it's there. But you have to fight it. It's about how your choices make you who you are -- so you better make good ones.
So why am I still not reading Harry?
I'd be disingenous if I said I don't read Harry Potter because of the sorcery aspect. After all, as I mentioned earlier, I love The Chronicles of Narnia and enjoyed The Lord of the Rings books. Bottom line: they just don't appeal to me.
How do you feel about Harry Potter? Do you let your kids read the books? Do you have your copy of The Deathly Hallows pre-ordered?
Let me know what you think!
UPDATE 7/18/07: This World Net Daily article raises more concerns. Hat tip to Joel Griffith of The Seventh Sola.
Related Tags: Harry Potter, fiction, fantasy fiction, La Shawn Barber, Steven Vander Ark