Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Who is this Harry Potter person?

I know, I'm just playing with you.
I haven't read any of the books, let alone seen the movies. I prefer them in that order if possible--book first. But I haven't started Harry. (Yet.)
When they first came out, I didn't hear about it. I saw some kids carrying them around, but I just thought of them as middle-schooler's books. Popular now, out of print and forgotten two years later. It did look like a pretty impressively-sized book, though. Hm.
Then I realized Harry was trendy. Bad move, in my book. For those who don't know me well, I tend to avoid trends like vampires avoid garlic. If everyone is turning left, I'll turn right just for spite. I refuse to be like everyone else and have done so for decades. So when Harry was trendy, I was determined to avoid it like a scorching case of the clap solely for that.
Then they became a phenomenon. I thought they'd be like Beanie Babies and die down someday. Whole sets would be available on eBay for less than the shipping costs. But it didn't happen.

[It's astonishing how much I can milk something I haven't even read, isn't it?]

Then the debate began about whether it's pagan or Christian, teaching witchcraft or stealth Christianity, neither of them. Having not read them, I can't answer that. There are tomes written both ways, though.
My friend Shelly (who has way too much common sense to be dictated to by Greater Intellects), who has read the books, has put it this way. "When you show me a religion where you point a stick at something, and it changes into something else, then I'll worry. Or some language where you say any words and then a broom can fly, then you might make some sense to me."

All this talk about magic and its supposed corrupting, anti-Christian power over our children has me wondering. It struck me last night as I was reading Sleeping Beauty for the zillionth time to the kids. If you won't let Harry into your house because of the magic, where does it end? Tolkien? C.S. Lewis? King Arthur's Merlin? Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid? Cinderella's fairy godmother, for Heaven's sake?
More likely, it seems Harry will join their ranks instead.

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At 6:39 AM, Blogger Terry said...

I know it's been said countless times, but if you're worried about content in reading material, there are many parts of the Old Testament that aren't fit for children. I also picked up a copy of Aesop's Fables and have been reading them to Elizabeth. When she can actually understand them, I'm going to to be very selective about which ones I read until she gets older.

All I remember is parents saying their kids were avidly reading for the first time when these books first appeared. That would be enough for me.

At 6:43 AM, Blogger Heather said...

That's what I meant. Of course, not all reading is good reading. I think parents need to know what their kids are into so they can answer (and ask!) questions and use the books even as a bad example.

My own mother had no idea what was in the Jackie Collins novels my sister and I were avidly reading in middle school. If she had, that would have come to a screeching halt!

At 11:46 AM, Blogger Catherine said...

I've read the first three, and have never spent a dime on them. I am lucky enough to have been able to borrow the first three. Since then, I just can't justify spending the money on them, especially since the husband and I prefer hardback books. It's really not a snobby thing, we're just so darned hard on them that the paperbacks don't keep. So for something I know will be read over and over again, we wait until we can afford the hardback.

The first movie is the only one I've seen, and it was very good, especially considering it adapted such a popular novel.

Maybe in a couple of years I'll get the whole set and read them all. I also like to do the read-them-in-order thing. Too much fun!

At 6:45 AM, Blogger Diane said...

I saw the fifth movie last night, and am trying very hard not to hear any last-book spoilers, which is going to be very difficult (I have to buy it in paperback to complete the set, but that won't be for another year probably). The good thing about jumping on the pop culture bandwagon is you automatically have something in common with pretty much everyone.

There is a fair amount of death and heart-rending teenaged angst in both books and movies, but nothing worse than the average non-Disneyfied fairy tale.


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