We all know by now that Fundy Christians start foaming at the mouth if any work of fiction even so much as HINTS at witches and spells. So it’s no surprise that they foamed extra hard when Harry Potter books came on the market. For banned book week, I’d like to give you my take on the Harry Potter books.
I have always been a reader and I have my mother to thank for that. She never once hesitated if I wanted to buy books from The Weekly Reader in grade school and never once took a book away from me that she thought was innapropriate! I would sit there eagerly waiting for the books to come in, because since they were so cheap (60 cents) I ordered at least 10. What a treat! So when my kids were young, I practiced what I was taught. My philosophy is that once you forbid something, that something becomes all the more attractive to kids. Kids are smart enough to figure out that some friends are too mean, snotty, whatever, and will shed them quickly. The same goes for books.
So I forbid them nothing in the book department and they found out for themselves that some books parents were raising Cain about were just not that interesting, while others contained nothing innapropriate whatsoever, and ones some parents ignored were far more suspect. Harry Potter is one set of books that all five of us, Mom, Dad, and three kids read. We read all of the books and enjoyed each one of them (except Vol. 5, which I thought was absolutely boring).
In The Sorcerer’s Stone we are introduced to Harry Potter, who lives with his Aunt and Uncle in England. The Dursleys are extremely self-centered and verbally abuse Harry. Rowling perpetuates many stereotypes in her books that I find far more offensive than the magic, i.e. fat = evil, evil people are always ugly, etc. Anyway, so begins the book which has Harry whisked off to magic school in the mountains of Scotland. If you’ve read the first book, you’ve read the basic plot of all the books. Dursley’s, school, holiday, evil battle. But, there is nothing in them whatsoever that teaches kids how to perform magic. There are no spells, recipes, or anything of real wiccan value in them. They remind me a little of what A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle does far better, involve children in an attempt to save a girl’s father from evil.
I found nothing offensive in this book and anyone with a discerning and educated mind wouldn’t either. Mere mentions of words are not harmful. Mere mentions of magic and witches are not harmful. Plot lines are not harmful. The books are FICTION. Only those who cannot tell reality from fantasy need worry.