It’s been roughly two weeks since I saw the latest installment in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I promised a review at the time, and tomorrow at last my essay (less review than essay, I admit) will appear tomorrow.
So bookmark the site, mark your calendars and set your owls on stun (or something like that). I think you’ll enjoy the essay. In the meantime, you can see the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince review on Patheos. Christianity Today offers its own review, and a conversation with readers about whether Harry Potter is good or evil.
Since tomorrow’s post will be more tongue-in-cheek, let me mention that parental concern over Harry Potter and the occult is more reasonable than it might at first appear–at least, if one enters imaginatively into the thought-world of those parents who are concerned. Wicca, as the practitioners of Wicca tell us, is a religion unto itself; although Wiccans protest that their religion does not worship the devil, Wicca clearly embraces many precepts at odds with Christianity. Wicca has also grown at a very rapid pace in recent years. Some parents also believe that “occult” practices such as seances, divinations and so on make people (especially children) vulnerable to the influence of malign spirits. If Harry Potter makes children more interested in Wicca (and you need only think of your neighbor’s little Star Wars enthusiast to know how much children can want to enter into the world of their fantasies), and more interested in Wiccan books of spells (they actually are plenty of them, as a search on Amazon will tell you), incantations, potions, etc., then this could be problematic from the point of view of Christian parents.
My own view is that responsible, engaged parents have little to fear as long as they help their children understand the differences between fantasy and reality, which (after all) is one of the responsibilities of parenthood. I would agree with the letter shown here, from an individual involved in outreach to Wiccans, that when Harry Potter encourages children to explore Wicca (which is very rare), the children are only superficially interested, in the same way they might have been interested in the Chihuahua-under-the-arm fashion for about two weeks.
If you object to Harry Potter on religious grounds, I simply ask that you take tomorrow’s post with a sense of humor.