Saturday, September 7, 2013

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I am fairly certain most people are familiar with the plot of Harry Potter. I will provide a brief synopsis just in case. Harry is raised by his aunt and uncle, with whom he has an unhappy existence. When he turns eleven, he discovers he has magical powers, and is invited to a special school to learn to control his abilities. He makes friends, learns new sports, and discovers the wizard that killed his parents is trying to return to power.

The Harry Potter series is a fun read. You do have to read the entire series if you want to see the growth of the characters and appreciate all the plot points. When I was first told to read this book, the person recommending it said that it wasn't part of a series. The book is adequate as a beginning to a series, but not great as a stand alone volume. Most of the book is spent learning about the wizard world. We barely learn who Voldemort is, and the parts with him end quickly. Not what you would expect in a good vs. evil battle. So naturally, I was not very impressed. I have since realized the error, and do enjoy the series as a whole.

Reasons the Harry Potter series has been banned:

  • promotes witchcraft and the occult
  • main characters set bad examples
  • people won't take the issue of witchcraft seriously
  • too dark
  • promotes violence
  • promotes un-christian like values

I want to address some of these points. Harry Potter is not about teaching readers to use magic any more than Star Wars teaches people how to use the force. It is a story about a boy going away to school, yes a magic school, and the friendships he makes. There is also the classic good vs. evil plot. I think the story teaches kids to stand up for what they believe in, and to help each other accomplish their goals. I'll admit Harry is not a perfect person. I rather detest him at some points, but this is an excellent way to demonstrate character growth. Also, people don't identify with perfection. It is valuable for readers to realize that they, like the characters, will make mistakes, and they need to figure out how to deal with these errors. There are some violent parts throughout the story, and parents should use their own judgement whether or not their kids can process that.

The fact is, many children actually spent time reading, when they would not have, because of this series. I think it is great this series encouraged kids to read! Even if you think your kids can handle the violence or magical themes in the book, discuss it with them. Review the good points in the book too. Talk about what true friends are, studying for school, or the classic Hero's Journey themes. Books can be exciting and useful things when read and discussed.

No comments:

Post a Comment