Monday, November 05, 2007

Harry Potter and the Craft

Merry Meet!

I remember when the Potter books came out and everyone was in such a dither about them. I resisted reading them for some years after the first book in the series came out. It wasn't because of the subject matter, it was because I had heard excited whispers about the books being well written and exciting and literate, as apposed to the silly, underdeveloped offerings that are today's young reader's fare (that is also the way I would categorize much of adult reading, by the way). Being a teacher, I feared that they might be endlessly cute and silly but what I discovered when I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was that the book was literate and serious and very engrossing.

And then it seemed that is when I heard about the criticism that many in the Fundamentalist Christian community were protesting the book because they felt that the Potter books were promoting witchcraft. I had seen this sort of thing before with rock music, videos, even cartoons so no, it doesn't surprise me that some Christians are against the Potter books. I even saw a web site that said Harry Potter was a symbol of the Anti-Christ, Hermione was the Whore of Babylon and Voldemort (get this) was a Christ figure and Malfoy was a faithful believer. It made me wonder what edition of Harry Potter they were reading. They even cast Nearly Headless Nick as the Holy Spirit.

But, on some levels they are right. While we do not fly on brooms, nor do we play Quiddich and there is no Hogwarts Express, there is a lot of classical alchemy, mythology and lore hidden in the books if you care to investigate. But the students of Hogwarts are not practicing witchcraft as religion, they are using magic as a part of every day life, it simply is to them. It would be great to be able to wave my wand and have my house cleaned, or at least conjure up a great little house elf, or to cook food with a flick of my wand, or to apparate and have an extra hour of sleep before going to school in the morning. But fantasy witchcraft is not what we do.

I love the Potter books. I love them not just because of the magic that is in them, I love the message they teach and that is that good can triumph over evil and that the love of your friends is greater than the love of one's own life and that sometimes good is harder than evil.

I believe that someday, all people of faith will be like Harry Potter and his friends and we will have to stand up against an evil that will be interested in erradicating all religion; not just Christianity or Judiaism, or Islam or Buddhism or Hinduism. This evil will be after all people, even the Pagan and the Wiccan. We will then have to stand together to survive. And that, I think is the true story of the Potter books, love one another, help one another, honor one another, and protect one another.

It is a shame that some people can't see that.

Brightest Blessings Be