Friday, June 18, 2010

OK, I'm going to say it.

Here it goes. I'm reading Harry Potter, my 11 year old is reading Harry Potter and we both LOVE it. I finally decided to "cave" in. My husband very reluctantly gave us the green flag ( long story, not the point today) and I began to read the first book aloud to him. After about 3 days he gave up on me (well you know, I do have other things in life I have to take care of, I can't spend every waking moment reading to him) and decided to move it along faster. By the time he got to book 3 I was still on 1! Now that I have finished book 4 he is mid way through book 7! He gets antsy because we don't get to watch the movies till I have finished the book. Anyway, I was going to wait, but now that I am more than half way through the series I feel like I can give a pretty accurate opinion on where I stand on the matter.

Harry Potter has grown up under miserable circumstances. As far as he is concerned he is a NOBODY! And then one day he is told what his TRUE heritage is, who he really is and who's he really is.

A friend of mine insists that the book is filled with biblical themes and that Harry Potter is a Christ like figure. I think this has something to do with the end of the series, which I'm bummed that I found out about. I know to some it may be a stretch and a little far fetched, but truth be told, we find biblical themes in all kinds of literature throughout history, not just in literature but we see it in the movies all of the time. The fantasy world has a way of presenting reality and truth in a creative and engaging way. The way I see it, you can choose to read or watch anything for  pure entertainment or you can take it a step further and see if there is any hidden truth or lesson to be found in the subject matter. I think it is human nature for all to be in search of truth, and since truth is truth, weather you are a believer in Christ or not, the search is on. I find it facinating that those who do not find truth in THE TRUTH (Christ) are sometimes so close to the truth because God has put eternity in our hearts and that is where we all want to be headed. Anyway, back to the Christ figure. I have not finished the series yet, therefore my perception of Harry is a little different than that of my friend. First of all, as I mentioned before, the fact that Harry at the beginning of the series comes to find out who he is, who he really is. Harry also discovers that he has unbelievable gift that he could have never even dreamed of having. I think we are the same in so many ways. We tend to think that we have gotten cheated in life and that we are a NOBODY, yet hopefully like Harry we have the privilege of finding out who we really are, but most importantly who's we are and with that, the realization that we have an unbelievable power that has been given to us, a gift, a powerful gift. And like Harry we spend our lives trying to figure out how it all works, what our roll is in this grand battle. Our eyes are opened to the truth that there is this raging war going on, one that to so many is not evident, yet without necessarily wanting to , we are caught in the middle of it and it is up to us to continue to wage war against evil, not just for our own sake, but for those around us as well.

So tell me something. What difference is there say between The Sith and lord Voldemort? Or for that matter between The White Which and lord Voldemort? Aren't they all representing the same thing? And doesn't Harry have a similar task that Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy had? Just as Luke Skywalker in fighting against the "dark side" or, dare I say Frodo and Sam in the fight against the Dark Lord Sauron.
What difference is there between going to Hogwarts and learning how to be a which and being an apprentice of Jedi master so they could be a Jedi themselves? What difference is there in the magic in Harry Potter and "the force" in Star Wars? Call me naive, but I see no difference. I see the age old fight of good vs. evil and I see those who are strong and valiant enough to not bow down, but fight the good fight. Those that think they are a nobody and find that they are someone after all, someone that will fight against what is wrong and evil no matter what the cost.

Let me change course here for a moment because I just can't talk about Harry Potter without thinking of the most wonderful display of friendship that we see in the relationship between Harry, Ron and Hermione. We should all be so fortunate to have friends like those two! We all need a Hermione in our life that has all the answers even if she can sometimes be a little obsessive, obnoxious and a "know it all". We all need a cheerleader like Ron, who even if he does struggle with playing second fiddle will never leave or betray his best friend. I love Ron.
Let me also mention the fact that I also am a huge fan of Dumbledore. As with most books that are turned into movies, one who has read the book can only be disappointed in the interpretation given by Hollywood.
Although I'm sure that the movies are really good, I of course have been one that has been so disappointed. Besides the fact that they have to cut major parts of the book and change others to make it all fit, what upsets me the most is the interpretation of Dumbledor. My feeling of the kind of man he is, is nothing like the Dumbledore I see in the movie. He seems so stern and serious, almost mean. But he is the kindest most loving of them all. If I had to give him a label at all, he is somewhat of a God figure. The guy loves his students and spends his time looking out for them. He is wise, kind, gracious and takes such pleasure in seeing his students succeed. I love it when the author mentions the "twinkle in his eyes", it just says so much. He is trustworthy, trusting, always willing to give a second chance or the benefit of the doubt. A great man he is indeed Hagrid.

Honestly, I just don't see what the big deal is. I think that too many people have had such a knee jerk reaction to a piece of very well written literature that they haven't even read. (that is what I did). If nothing else it is a very entertaining, fabulous story that will have you awake late at night because you can't put the book down. Harry Potter isn't about witchcraft, Harry Potter is about the very basic age old subject of good vs. evil. And what are you (the chosen one, Peter, Frodo, Luke Skywalker, Harry) going to do about it taking into consideration the tools that you have, (a light saber and the force, magic and a sword, or a wand). It ain't easy, people are going to be mean and trip you at every corner (Rabadash, the White Which, Sauron and the orks, General Grievous, and Darth Mal, Malfoy, Voldemort) but you will also always have those who will stick by you no matter what (Aravis, Edward and Lucy, Sam, R2-D2, C3PO, Ron and Hermione). In the end, truth and good will prevail, because in the REAL battle we know that is what we are promised. THAT is what we know to be TRUTH.

I say, if you have watched Star Wars, read the Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings, you most certainly can read the Harry Potter series. I just finished reading my favorite book of all times The Horse and His Boy to my son Elijah, and I was reminded at the end of the fact that Aslan himself put a SPELL on Rabadash and turned him into an ASS. (yep, that is what the book says)!


  1. Oh yay! I'm so glad you ended up loving them. We've been reading painfully slow lately due to summer shenanigans and the fact that I don't want the series to be over. I love your review----very insightful and gracious. This series of books has led me on a beautiful path back through the childhood I missed. I finally 'get' fairy land. Her writing and the themes of the books really do touch on the sacred. She has a way of truth-telling that has forever changed the way I see the world.
    Perhaps I'm overstating the case but I don't think so.
    I can't wait to see you again. We've missed you and hope to get back to lessons whenever we can.
    wishing you love, hugs, and lots of summer fun!

  2. Puuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhllleeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzz blog. Love, emily