on Harry Potter

Hi guys. Sorry for disappearing—my arms have kept me from writing (more on that later). But I have been doing lots of reading, and as you’ve probably figured out, I’ve delved into the (in)famous Harry Potter series. Here are some of my thoughts on it. 

Also, I’m on Goodreads! It’s so awesome; I love it. I’m Aberdeen; come and follow meeeee. 


SO. Harry Potter. I was originally not allowed to read it, but my parents recently said I could if I watched out for certain things and discussed them with them. So I began, filled with both excitement and skepticism. “Harry Potter” is such a controversial, connotation-ridden phrase in Christian circles, I didn’t know what to expect.

When I finished book 1, my reaction was, “This is it?” Like, this is what we’ve been shunning? Good grief, it’s positively innocent compared to the dark hints I’ve heard about it. And I’ve read (and enjoyed) many books with much fishier worldview (looking at you, Christopher Paolini and Brandon Sanderson. Not that they’re not awesome, but you need discernment while reading them.). If you’re not sure about HP or have heard such hints, here are some things you should know:

Witches are girls who can use magic; wizards are guys. That’s all “witch” means (no, we’re not talking about the witch of Endor that Saul was condemned for meeting in the Bible). Speaking of magic, it’s not calling up spirits (which I believe is what the Bible was specifically condemning); it’s just turning things into other things or manipulating physical objects to do stuff (like fly or be impervious to certain substances).

There is a very clear distinction between good and evil; the kids at Hogwarts take classes to help them fight Dark Magic, and there are rules about what spells are allowed (for example, you’re not allowed to use the death spell on people).

Not only do these books not have bad stuff in them, they have a lot of good. There are so many beautiful in themes in them—the power of love and sacrifice, the beauty of families who love each other, the value of love over riches, the danger of immortality, courage, loyalty, what it means to be a good friend, looking beyond appearances, being kind to “inferior” people, choosing what’s right over what’s wrong, did I mention courage?…

The first book didn’t super grab me—the writing and plot felt a little simple. But it was good enough to keep going, and by book 3, I totally get why so many people are into them. Her writing, characters, and plot get so much richer and complex.Don’t stop at book 1, peeps (this goes for a lot of series, actually. Authors learn and grow like the rest of us.). Also, her humor is amazing, and I love the British feel of them—reminds of Narnia in that way. Also Quidditch.

I’m not saying these books are perfect or even on par with Lord of the Rings or that I totally agree with every decision of the characters (but is there a book where I do?) but the reputation they’ve cultivated seems to have come from hearsay, fear, and rumors rather than truth.

Also, here’s an incredible article on the series by Andrew Peterson: Harry Potter, Jesus, and Me.

So—what do you guys think? Have you read them? What do you like/dislike about them? Have you, like me, shied away from them because of stuff you’ve heard? (Also, I’ve missed you all. *waves wildly*)

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12 thoughts on “on Harry Potter

  1. YES YOU READ THEM!!!!!!!! I was completely shocked and extremely happy when I saw you had marked the Philosopher’s Stone as “currently reading” on Goodreads. *fist pump* I think I actually ran downstairs and told my parents “Abby’s reading Harry Potter!”

    I don’t even know where to start. It’s Harry Potter! The world building has always been a huge draw for me. You can do so much with the world, as a fan. I wrote a ton of fanfiction when I was younger on it. It’s just so… deep? I mean, there so many little details that bring it to life – almost every character ever mentioned has some tiny bit of backstory and history. And it lends itself well to, I don’t know, bringing it into the real world? Obviously not the magic, but I wear my Gryffindor scarf everywhere and I have a pendant on my door. The music from the movies is one of my favorite soundtracks to listen to. And there’s the characters. JUST SO MUCH TO LOVE

    Mom and Dad were rather leery of them when I was younger, I think. I wasn’t aloud to read them until I was 12 or 13, and the only on the condition that we discuss it. But I was young enough and people just didn’t talk about it.

    So glad you started it! *grins wildly*

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  2. That AP article was what changed my mind about Harry Potter a couple years ago. 🙂 That and my brilliant best friend who told me to give it a chance. I talked to my parents and we agreed that I was old enough to differentiate between fictional magic and real magic. I read them all within a week. 🙂

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  3. Wow! Aberdeen is back! We’ve missed you and prayed for your recovery. Good to read your
    positive review- helped change my concerns about the possible dark side that I feared would be
    prommoted. Thanks for your insights. Love, Granpa O.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yep, I kind of had the same story. I’m actually about halfway through Half Blood Prince now (because I accidentally ordered the audiobook instead of ebook from the library, and since I’m horrible at getting through audiobooks it returned before I could finish it. =P It’s definitely not as horrible as I assumed at age 12, but I have seen some things as I’ve gone through the series that I’ve disliked… nothing to make me stop reading, though. I agree, the characters and the world she created are awesome. I *love* the friendship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione (and how realistic it is!). Have you finished the series yet? And do you plan to watch the movies?

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  5. Harry Potter is SO GOOD!!!!! I’m so happy that there was someone who thought the same way as me. I was so surprised that that was all that was in the book. I was expecting darkness, darkness, more creepy, darknesss, and I was prepared to be like “Oh, I can’t read this” etc. BUT ITS SO GOOD AND CREATIVE AND HOGWARTS IS A DREAM AND AHHH
    ANyway…. So good to read another post from you!! ❤

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  6. Yay, you’re back! At least for a post.
    Like you, I wasn’t allowed to read HP when I was younger. I still haven’t read them, though I probably will next fall. And, yeah, there really are much more questionable books that I’ve read and loves. I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on them!

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  7. Dearest Abby,

    It is SO GOOD to hear from you finally. How are your arms? I am praying for them daily. I have never read any of the Harry Potter books. I never had any interest in them. However, Tanith was addicted to them. Your Uncle James used to drive her to the book store at midnight when a new edition came out so that she could have a copy immediately. Also, your Auntie Gail read the books.

    All my love,

    Grammy

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  8. YAY a post on this and I will comment for once.
    So, I actually feel like I was in kind of your boat for a while–my parents didn’t keep me from reading HP, but being the good Christian child I was I immediately recoiled from the suggestion when my dad (who had already read the first 3 books) brought it up. I didn’t actually have any idea of what it was, I just saw a few vague movie posters here and there and eventually the name got a rather vague threatening aspect. But then one day for some reason or another I just picked the old copy of Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone off our shelf and started reading it, and, well, I was off from there, at a rather magnificent rate, too.
    I agree that the first book is rather simply written, but I feel like that makes sense when you consider that it’s probably more for an audience of 10-12 year olds–but the *world*, it sucked me in; it’s like I had always imagined this place but then someone put it into words. The writing style is nowhere as complex as that of LOTR, but it had a certain British feel to it that made it so appealing, and I loved the characters. To me personally it will always be alongside LOTR as one of my most favorite series, simply for its stylistic appeal, the worldbuildling, the characters, and the positive messages, even if the ‘do good’ advice of Dumbledore (esp. at the end of the 1st book) seemed rather vague. It doesn’t hold the same weight of redemption as LOTR, obviously; but it’s also set in the modern world (rather than ye olden elven fantasy land) and thus must necessarily be light, even if it does get darker. But the lightness, the ordinary interactions, are what I love about it, too.
    A few notes I would make:
    >For me personally, Percy Jackson is nowhere near equalling it; that series had all the stylistic humor for me but nothing more (I don’t know why I’m noting this except that I see a lot of PJO and HP fanart).
    >I sometimes get a bit annoyed when people try to defend the ‘magic’ of Harry Potter by going into complicated passages on ‘dark magic’ vs ‘light magic’ (not that you tried to do that, I’ve just seen some books/posts/writings like that); the simple fact of the matter for me has always been that magic in the real world by definition depends on drawing from a higher power, because obviously it’s not possible any other way in the real world; but in fictional worlds this limit doesn’t exist and thus the ‘magic’ in HP is actually not ‘magic’ at all in the real world sense of the term and people should stop thinking it is. Lord of the Rings has /actual/ magic comparable to real world magic in it. But of course it’d have been too confusing and impossible to coin a new term for it. More similar to superpowers than anything else. Even the Force is way more loaded with mysticism and some higher power.
    >I actually do really like the movie series, if you want to watch it, because it mostly follows the books and of course the more one follows a good book the better.
    >As I’ve been rewatching the HP series because my little sister just finished reading the series I did start noticing some things that would bother me now in this pristine wizarding world. Most prominently, the Houses and the whole idea of Sorting has started to annoy me, simply because I think the Houses are both bad for helping people develop a well-rounded character (I mean, if you suspect someone might tend towards one characteristic, why not /balance it out/ instead of reinforcing it until it becomes a stereotype? It would be better to put people of different Houses together) and are also just impossible, because a lot of these traits can reinforce each other. One can be intelligent, ambitious, courageous, and loyal. Also, it’s probably just exacerbated by the fact that I see so many people misusing it or sorting themselves into Houses based on what they want (like with MBTI–I see no point to it). Rant over…
    >Have you seen Burdge’s HP art? It’s so gorgeous.
    >Does this mean you have finished the series entirely? Are you planning on watching the movies?
    >Also: what did your parents think about this changed opinion of yours? I know my Mom decided to read them herself once she found I liked them.

    Also, this ended up being long. o_0

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  9. OOH, yes, I could rant about the legitimacy of these books all day. I’m actually shocked at the amounts of Christians against Harry Potter, and while I do respect their reasons, they have no idea what they’re missing out on. I was one of those children that was barred from Harry Potter until my father, a pastor, decided to go through them– and he was blown away.

    J.K. Rowling is a genius. Not only is she a master storyteller, word swordswoman, and incredibly creative, but she writes with this poignant realism. Nevermind that there’s magic. There’s also death and life. It’s about how love overcomes the darkness (something that’s so important to Christians). It deals strategically with social issues. It gives the characters these emotions that so many people deal with every day.

    And I’m so glad that you’re discovering them, Abby. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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