Friday, March 20, 2009

Moral Lessons of Harry Potter

This post is for those who believe that the Harry Potter series of books and movies are evil. You know who you are. Hear me out. I’m not 100% sure, but I doubt I’m headed for hell for enjoying Harry Potter. While we’re confessing, I like to read books off Banned Books lists also.

Years ago, Mom bought every Harry Potter book for herself as they came out, then passed them over to me for the kids when she was done reading them. Aron started reading #1 to the boys over a year ago and they recently finished #4. It brings them together.* It’s not like we plunk them down in front of the HP movies and say, “Okay, now, try not to have nightmares later.”

Forget all that crap about the author coming out later (ha!) and saying Dumbledore is gay. I don’t buy it for a second and it doesn’t change the fact that the stories are great. The author (J.K. Rowling) was just looking for more publicity. She’s pretty, talented, famous AND rich … she also must want to be controversial. Whatever.

Here are “The Moral Lessons of Harry Potter”, part of an article I saved from the January 2002 issue of Child magazine (now defunct):

“Adversity can be overcome through perseverance and hard work. Despite the circumstances surrounding his early life, Harry is hopeful and able to thrive. … Harry is always having to confront his fears.”

“It’s important to be accepting of differences in others and to treat everyone equally. … Having been rejected by his own relatives, Harry is particularly sensitive to others’ suffering …” Yes, I’m aware that I’m “religious” and am supposed to cross the street when I see a gay or different-in-any-way person coming my way. But get out your Bible: Jesus himself hung out with prostitutes and lepers and other socially unacceptable people. If I have a divorced friend, that doesn’t mean I’m going to become divorced.

“You don’t have to be perfect. [Harry is] rather gawky, and his hair won’t even stay in place … Nonetheless, he prevails, using logic, kindness, patience, and bravery when strength or special powers fail him.”

“Education and knowledge are essential. … School plays a prominent role in all the Harry Potter books. … [and] Rowling employs rich vocabulary words, such as flouted, prudent, and abashed.”

“Loyalty to friends is important. … Even though the characters are strong as individuals, it’s as a team that they solve all their problems.”

How do YOU feel about Harry Potter?

*Aron made an Executive Decision and isn’t continuing the series until the boys are older. We moved on to SuperFudge and Wind in the Willows.