20 August 2007

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and…(series). NY: Scholastic, 1998- 2007.

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and… series is one of the most challenged titles in America. Some people are scared of these books because the characters use magic, but they are wholly misguided. While her books feature witches and wizards, they are far from glorifying Satan; in fact, Rowling is singing the same song as John Lennon and Jesus Christ: all you need is love.

This point is made clearly during a conversation between Potter and his headmaster at Hogwarts School for Wizards near the end of …Half-Blood Prince.
"But I haven't got uncommon skill and power," said Harry, before he could stop himself.
"Yes, you have," said Dumbledore firmly. "You have a power that Voldemort [the Dark Wizard] has never had. You can—"
"I know!" said Harry impatiently. "I can love!...
"So, when the prophecy says that I'll have 'power the Dark Lord knows not,' it just means—love?" asked Harry, feeling a little let down.
"Yes—just love," said Dumbledore.

Far from glorifying evil—or even magic, which is part of the setting, not a focus of the story—Rowling is pushing a world-view that stresses tolerance, cooperation, and love. That she does so in a fabulously-paced series of high adventures with a well-developed, ever-evolving cast of lovable, recognizably eccentric characters is tribute to her great skill. These books certainly do not deserve banishment: they should, instead, be recommended reading for all ages.



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