To Potter or Not to Potter?
by Niki Turner
I don't have a book recommendation for you this week, but I do have a question:
Have you read J.K. Rowling's books, or shunned them as anti-Christian?
I'm a bit behind when it comes to pop culture (the seventh Harry Potter movie opened in theaters this week). For most of you, Harry Potter is pretty old news.
My kids were small when Harry first appeared on the fiction scene. I was still very much in control of what they watched, read, and listened to. Frightful warnings issued on Christian television convinced me that Harry (and Pokemon) were enemies to be avoided.
Why? Witchcraft, magic, warlocks, trolls, ogres, spells... not exactly solid Christian fare, you know? We opted to avoid Harry, Ron, and Hermione. When the movies started coming out, we didn't watch them. When the films were aired on television, we changed the channel.
The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer triggered a more recent debate. How can -- or should -- we enjoy stories about vampires and werewolves? THEY aren't Christian, either! Or are they? Could they be? Oh, wait... imaginary creatures can't BE saved, anyway. Oh dear.
Nowadays, with my children more or less out from under my maternal filter, I'm faced with a number of questions.
- If Harry Potter is bad because he's a witch-in-training, does that make Gandalf, an extremely powerful wizard, even worse?
- If we shy away from non-human characters like vampires and werewolves because they are unnatural, why are elves (I still think Orlando Bloom is much cuter as a blond) and hobbits acceptable entertainment fare?
- Do we gauge the worth of a fictional work based on the message of the story, the actions of its characters, or on the author's professed spirituality (or lack thereof)?
How do you decide for yourself and/or for your family which literary and film experiences are acceptable and which ones aren't? Thoughts?
(BTW: Did anyone else notice the eerie similarity between Tolkien's wraiths and Rowling's Dementors?)