Friday, August 24, 2007

Why ban Harry Potter?

[Minor possiblity of a spoiler here....don't go on if you are concerned. Details are not revealed.]

As I was finishing the latest Harry Potter, I got to thinking about the themes. I have read the many news reports about those who want to ban the series from libraries, particularly school libraries, because of the "witchcraft" setting of the books.

I got to thinking about the themes reflected in the series. The overarching theme is about the victory of good over evil. The quest and the battle in the book reminded me of the mythology of many cultures. Now, I am not an expert in mythology, and perhaps it is the heritage of many who live in my new neighborhood, but certainly the Norse and Viking legends include many battles and quests. Indeed, what is considered the first literary narrative (Homer) is the story of a quest and is peppered with battles, and obstacles. These are even themes repeated in the Bible.

In a more modern comparison, the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis are thinly veiled metaphors for the messages endorsed by so many of those who want to ban the Harry Potter series. Why is C. S. Lewis permitted but J. K Rowling not? Neither present a reality.

Some random thoughts as I head into a weekend.

1 comment:

  1. I find it ridiculous that some people want Harry Potter banned but not Narnia. Both are good, though I never liked so many Christians thinking of Aslan as some sort of version of Jesus. Jesus is Jesus and there doesn't need to be any trivializing and poor substitutions for him in Narnia or anywhere else. I'd rather think of Aslan as simply Narnia's creator and nothing more. AS for the sacrifice, that's hardly unique, if Harry and Aslan sacrificed themselves and revived again, there are miracles in various religions and mythologies, I just find the whole substitution/paralleling of any fictional character's endeavors to Jesus to be more distasteful than all of the things the fanatics against Harry Potter are moaning on about. And IMO, Harry Potter has a much more satisfying ending, I was bitterly disappointed in the way the Narnia series ended. LOTR could also make a good comparison with Harry and Narnia, and there was definitely some dark stuff going on there as there was in some parts of the Narnia series. So people getting up in arms about Harry Potter under the misguided belief that it's evil and that somehow fantasy books are evil because the protagonists use "magic" really annoy me. The overall message of Harry Potter is a good one, and if people want to get rid of books because they're worried about some wrong message getting out there, there are plenty of others categorized as nonfiction that present more cause for concern.