Why I Won’t Critique Harry Potter
Why won’t I write a detailed, thought-out Christian critique of the new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?
First of all, I’m not an idiot. And I say that as kindly as possible. But the vast majority of the so-called “critiques” I have read of this book (and indeed any of the Harry Potter novels) by Christians are just plain stupid. It is a work of fiction, folks. It’s fake. It’s like pro wrestling. It’s just there for entertainment. It’s not worth getting worked up over.
Second and related to #1, I can tell the difference between fiction and reality. Most of the “critiques” out there miss this distinction by a mile. “Gasp!” you exclaim, “There are witches in Harry Potter! Unclean! Unclean!” Get a grip. It’s a book, a fairy tale, not a description of Wicca.
Third, I would have to treat Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia with the same disdain “Christian” critiques treat Harry Potter. Yes, that’s exactly right. You have the exact same kind of stuff happening in LOTR and Narnia that you have in Harry Potter. Yet you don’t see any Christians out there decrying the “witchcraft” present in these “standards of Christian literature.” Or for that matter, should I decry the instances of witchcraft recorded in the Bible itself? Should I warn Christians not to read the Bible because it “promotes witchcraft?” The fact of the matter is that the Harry Potter novels do not promote witchcraft any more than LOTR or Narnia. Can you say hypocrisy? I knew that you could.
Fourth, I have no desire to bear false witness against the author/actors in the movies. That’s right, J. K. Rowling is a professing Christian. Okay, she is Church of Scotland, but nobody’s perfect. Some of those who have “critiqued” Harry Potter have insinuated that Rowling is promoting witchcraft, has researched and dabbled in the black arts, or have been bold enough to come out and actually say she is a practicing witch. Some well-meaning but misguided Christians have taken to sending Bibles to the young actress that plays Hermione Granger in the movies because they are “afraid she is/will become a witch herself.”
Fifth, and related to the first two, the magic in Harry Potter is not the same kind of magic the “critiques” claim it to be. Magic in the world of Harry Potter is something you are born with, much like the Force in Star Wars. Not everyone can do it. In contrast, anyone can practice “real” witchcraft. Given that “real” witchcraft is even more fake than the magic of Harry Potter, I ought to be shocked that people are actually falling for this. Sadly, I’m not.
Sixth, it is a book, and by nature it is meant to be enjoyed. It is not the Bible. It’s simply a diversion. The sooner we understand this, the calmer we will be about Harry Potter.
On a personal level, let me just say that I have dabbled in the realm of fantasy fiction writing. It is a dream of mine to have a published novel. I’ve even gone so far as to write an introductory chapter for an idea I had. In 15 pages of writing, you’d think I was a rock hard stone cold devil worshippin’ pagan. Yet none of you who are regular readers of this blog – and zero of you who know me personally – would even think of calling me some of the things Christians have called J. K. Rowling and her work.
Yes, I will allow my children to read the Harry Potter novels. Quite frankly, I will expect it. And I will expect 5-page book reports on them.
And before anyone asks, no, I will not engage this topic seriously. I refuse to take the enjoyment out of a superb children’s series that has given me hours of enjoyment. To God be the glory for what Rowling has written!