What Christians Think About Harry Potter

harrypotterIn some Christian circles many people still wonder what to make of the young wizard Harry Potter, whose supernatural adventures have sold more than 100 million novels in 46 languages and set opening-attendance records at the movie theatres. What is the spiritual impact on children?

Harry is an orphan whose parents, a witch named Lily and a wizard named James, died defending him from the evil Lord Voldemort. Harry grows up with hostile relatives who scorn magic and hide the truth about his parents from him. But the week before Harry’s 11th birthday, a flock of owls brings him letters inviting him to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There, Harry and other children who were born with magical abilities study the history of goblins, the mixing of potions, and the taming of fantastical beasts. Harry and his friends also investigate a series of mysteries that tie back to Voldemort.

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Fantasies and fairy tales speak to our spiritual needs

MAGIC is everywhere you look these days. From bookstores to movie theatres, stories about wizards, witches and mythological beasts are all the rage; and for a person like me, who grew up with hobbits, aliens, flying horses and Jedi Knights, the current fantasy craze — and the various Christian responses to it — bring back a lot of memories.

How popular is fantasy right now? The most successful movie of the year (so far) is Shrek, a cheeky parody of the fairy tale genre that turns conventional wisdom about ogres, dragons and beautiful princesses on its head. That film’s box office performance could be surpassed in a few weeks by Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first film based on J.K. Rowling’s phenomenally popular novels about a young orphan and his classmates at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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