Harry Potter and the Book Banners | survivethewalkingdead.com

The objections raised by some fundamentalist Christians to the Harry Potter books continue to make the news.

The Christian attacks on the Potter series are not an attack on witchcraft and magic, so much as an attack on the imagination and freedom of expression – and by extension an attack on literature. The Harry Potter books are not 'How To' manuals on witchcraft, nor is the author, JK Rowling, advocating the practice of witchcraft.

The themes in the Harry Potter stories pit the good against the dark side. Magical themes happen to be an effective way to play out the drama in a way that is engaging, especially for younger readers.

Professor Dumbledore, the Hogwarts headmaster, is clearly the personification of good and urges Harry to use the power of love when dealing with the dark side personified by Lord Voldemart. On one level the Potter books are moral tales that happen to take place in a make-believe world that is magical – but then a lot of literature contains magical themes, including books by famous Christian authors.

CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien are examples of Christian authors who created magical worlds with plots that at root are moral and even Christian in philosophical intent. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by Lewis creates an intermediate zone between the real and imaginary worlds using a prop – the magical wardrobe. Enchantment and make-believe allow the 'other world' beyond the wardrobe to become a possibility. Similarly Tolkien in Lord of the Rings invokes the powers of wizardry and magic. But it is used as a device to enable characters and events that could not feasibly exist in the 'ordinary' world. This does not mean that either Tolkien or Lewis was promoting magic or trying to 'corrupt' the minds of young readers.

The problem with the criticism coming from a section of the evangelical community is that their interpretation of the books is much too literal. They seem to think that young readers are incapable of divining meaning and truth beyond the trappings of the tale. They get hung up on the trappings themselves but rather than the deeper meaning of the stories. When they do look a little deeper, they often misconstrue the author's intent and try to spin the plot as evidence of literary evil doing. Fortunately, a few leading voices in the evangelical community have had the good sense to take a more objective view of the content, and have resisted the temptation to try and subvert a fictional fantasy in order to smoke out the devil.

In attempting to ban the Harry books or in other ways suppress them, the detractors ironically succeed in adding to their allure and power. When something is 'forbidden' it becomes a lot more tempting. When the DH Lawrence novel Lady Chatterley's Lover was banned, it did more for the sale of the book than any promotional campaign could ever have done. The same went for Ulysses by the great Irish writer James Joyce.

Moreover when you consider the amount of material on magic and witchcraft that is freely available in book stores these days, on the internet, in magazines, via certain video games or just by word-of-mouth – it makes it almost absurd to try and suppress Harry Potter books.

If Harry Potter gets banned in the bailiwicks of the offended – what's next on the list? Grimm's Fairy Tales? Rupert the Bear? Teletubbies? We live in a society in which diversity of opinion is an integral part of our fundamental freedoms. People who for personal or religious reasons attempt to create a chill by pushing for a ban of material as innocent as Harry Potter, cater to a mean spirited approach that diminishes us all. Objectors can refuse to buy the books or have them in their home, and that's as far as it should reasonably go.

We are talking about tales for young readers after all – not Anton La Vey's Satanic Bible.

Source by Aidan Maconachy

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