I had to read Harry Potter and The Sorcererís Stone by J.K. Rowling for my Intro to Fiction class. I wasnít looking forward to it (my 17 Ĺ year old son was pleased as heíd been trying to get me to read the series for a long time) even though I liked the movies well enough.
Like many groups and people out there, when my son started to read the HP books, I was a bit concerned that the theme centered on witchcraft and wizardry. In fact, as a part of our assignment, we had to read an essay* revolving around the concerns of the witchcraft theme, which was thought provoking in itself.
But I was surprised as I got into the book that those were not the central themes. It just happened to be the setting of the book. There were several themes throughout that weíd all (hopefully) like for our children to learn before they reach their teens or adulthood.
The themes were:
Perhaps the children are learning all these themes without even knowing it. What better way to teach them, as well as the adults who read the Rowling books, than with adventure, creatures, and mystery? It was interesting how J.K. Rowling wove all the themes of the story within the setting of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
I found as the book went on, more questions were raised that I wanted answers to. My interest was piqued as J.K. Rowling spun her tale, misleading me, and making her point.
Careful attention has to be paid, because as I understand it, characters that we may choose to think are of no importance to the story end up being of great significance later on or at some point in the rest of the series.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Sorcererís Stone. Iím trying to be nonchalant about wanting to read the rest of the series, as I donít want Jase to gloat too much at being right; he said once I read the first one, Iíd want to read the rest of them.
My thoughts and concerns of the setting being the main theme were dispelled. Anyone who has been concerned about their older child reading the HP books because of the setting (school for witchcraft), in my opinion (for what itís worth - I'm one who carefully oversaw what my kids read and watched), has nothing to worry about. The older child should already know fact from fantasy and realize the books are meant to be taken as fiction. But you decide for yourself of course.
*The following is my response in my college course to Alan Jacobs'
"Harry Potter's Magic" essay regarding the controversy of the Harry Potter books.
To read the essay for yourself, click here.
I can see where some of the moral objections come from. But before you raise any objections to this series of Potter books you need to recognize and remember that there is evil and "sorcery&qout; all around us. As Jacobís said, technology is its own form of magic, some of which we, as parents, should be afraid of, not to mention the evil of many people and the risks we take as we are surrounded by them on a daily basis. Perspective needs to be maintained while reading. Good vs. evil is the main focus of the story that happens to be in the world of magic. The moral lessons learned by the characters along with the self-growth and making choices (how those choices affect us) should be taken into consideration before dismissing the books as being morally corrupt for the children. The positive aspects of the series outweigh the worry of magic. If you have an open communication with the child who reads these books, the magic and wizardry concerns can be dealt with, with little concern. When the books cease to become good against evil fun, with no moral values or self-growth and focus solely on recruiting children into the world of sorcery, I would be at the head of the line objecting to the morals they tried to "subliminally" project onto children.
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