Mike Renzulli

More About: Entertainment: Movies

In Defense of Harry Potter

Scientist and author Richard Dawkins has expressed hesitation with Harry Potter.
The author of The God Delusion has concerns about the movie and book series' emphasis on magic, wizards, spells, etc.
Dawkins believes Harry Potter could give children the wrong impression about the nature of reality. That there is an alternate reality/universe where supernatural beings exist leading children to believe in a heaven-like plane where they can go or grow up to be just like Harry Potter.
I understand his concerns but disagree with his premise. Also there are religious critics of Harry Potter too. They denounce the books and movies as evil or Satanic since Harry Potter's stories involve things like witchcraft and magic.
While I have not read any of the books, I think that Harry Potter is an excellent hero for children.
It is true that the Harry Potter stories are based in a fantasy world full of magic and mystery. However, this is merely the vehicle the book series's author, J.K. Rowling, uses to depict her stories of good doing battle with evil.
A very important element of Harry Potter is that he is a hero who wins through his own intelligence and courage. Potter gained these qualities by working very hard and thinking for himself while being consistently honest and self-reliant.
Likewise, he associates with friends who reflect his values and also earns the respect of his elders too.
The appeal of Harry Potter crosses generational lines because the overall message of the series is staggeringly positive in a world where happiness and success can be attained while villains can be defeated.
One would think that the values Potter has and the positive message of his stories would be something his critics would embrace and that every parent would want to have their children learn.
I know if I had children, I would want them to reflect Harry Potter's qualities and would buy them the book series and take them to see the movies since the values Potter encompasses are essential to a child's learning and long term well-being.
The Harry Potter books and movies are one other means to assist children in developing their minds.
Rather than worrying if children could embrace supernaturalism or not, in any form, by consuming Harry Potter the fact that the book series has sparked a new interest in reading among young people and the virtues the main charachter reflects is reason enough to embrace it.
I am also sure that, down the line, children will grow up to realize the fantasy realm of Harry Potter is not real yet still look to the charachter for inspriation because of his qualities. Parents can still point out to children that Harry Potter's world is not real, but they should encourage their kids to emulate the values Potter has.
I have seen all of the Harry Potter films, and look forward to the next Harry Potter movie coming out this month.

3 Comments in Response to

Comment by Charzhome S.
Entered on:

Ah,. Squidward!! Is that you?

Cheer up,  things WILL get worse soon.  Can't have all those HAPPY kids, can we..    :-( :( :(



Comment by Larry Spencer
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There is a more basic reason why Harry Potter is a flawed role model for children and an unlikely hero for Objectivists, and that is because he skates through life on the fame of his family, the sacrifices of his parents, and his social status as a champion jock. While his friends improve themselves greatly through hard work and study, he grabs glory each year thanks to the efforts of others, blind luck, and a pervasive Messiah myth. (On second thought, maybe Harry Potter is a good way to explain to children the facts of social life, from high school to the Obama administration.)

Read a great original critique discussing these points.

Comment by Ed Price
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Distractions, distractions from the truth. And, dangerous distractions at that. 

One hundred years from now Harry Potter will be only a vague, distant memory... if he is remembered at all. 

Yet, the ongoing memory of Jesus the Christ has existed for about 2000 years, now. And if you want to consider the Messiah, the Christ, before it was known that it was going to be Jesus, then you are talking of a memory of Somebody since the beginning of time. 

Jesus is the ONLY real superman, the only real superhero, since He is the only one to have risen from the dead to never die again. 

He lives in Heaven, right now, directing the affairs of men. If you want, call to Him. He will befriend you if you call expectantly. 

The fact that the memory of Jesus has been handed down through the ages of the last 2000 years with congruity and power, shows that Jesus is the only superhero worth thinking about. 


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