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November 30, 2013

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I think I would take exception to claiming that Harry Potter is great literature, although I can't articulate why. I can't put my finger on it, but I find that the moral framework within the story is fundamentally different than that of both Tolkien's Middle Earth and Lewis' Narnia. I guess maybe I perceive more of a humanistic bent in the Harry Potter series, where I see less of that in the other two.

If the Potter series were good literature, I would be willing to overlook it's flaws in thinking, but quite honestly, it is some of the worst story telling that I have ever had the misfortune to come across. As far as I am concerned, the paper would have been better used to make more of Northern Quilted.

Harry Potter is a Christ-character. I think the novels can be a starting point to share the gospel.

I have read the Harry Potter series and while I enjoyed the writing I was appalled by the moral character of these children. On the surface the story seems like your typical good triumphing over evil. But at what cost? The children, lie, cheat and steal to achieve their goals. They see nothing wrong with hurting someone if that someone is unpleasant. Loyalty and perseverance are good qualities and should be encouraged, but I wouldn't want to teach my children that the ends justify the means.

Harry Potter is a Christ-character. I think the novels can be a starting point to share the gospel.

That's quite a stretch...

“The true aim of literary studies is to lift the student out of his provincialism by making him "the spectator," if not of all, yet of much, "time and existence." The student, or even the schoolboy, who has been brought by good (and therefore mutually disagreeing) teachers to meet the past where alone the past still lives, is taken out of the narrowness of his own age and class into a more public world. He is learning the true Phaenomenologie des Geistes; discovering what varieties there are in Man. "History" alone will not do, for it studies the past mainly in secondary authorities. It is possible to "do History" for years without knowing at the end what it felt like to be an Anglo-Saxon eorl, a cavalier, an eighteenth-century country gentleman. The gold behind the paper currency is to be found, almost exclusively, in literature. In it lies deliverance from the tyranny of generalizations and catchwords. Its students know (for example) what diverse realities – Launcelot, Baron, Bradwardine, Mulvaney – hide behind the word militarism.


“Each of us by nature sees the whole world from one point of view with a perspective and a selectiveness peculiar to himself. And even when we build disinterested fantasies, they are saturated with, and limited by, our own psychology. To acquiesce in this particularity on the sensuous level—in other words, not to discount perspective—would be lunacy. We should then believe that the railway line really grew narrower as it receded into the distance. But we want to escape the illusions of perspective on higher levels too. We want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as with our own. We are not content to be Leibnitzian monads. We demand windows. Literature as Logos is a series of windows, even of doors. One of the things we feel after reading a great work is “I have got out.” Or from another point of view, “I have got in”; pierced the shell of some other monad and discovered what it is like inside.


"Good reading, therefore, though it is not essentially an affection-al or moral or intellectual activity, has something in common with all three. In love we escape from our self into one other. In the moral sphere, every act of justice or charity involves putting ourselves in the other person’s place and thus transcending our own competitive particularity. In coming to understand anything we are rejecting the facts as they are for us in favor of the facts as they are. The primary impulse of each is to maintain and aggrandize himself. The secondary impulse is to go out of the self, to correct its provincialism and heal its loneliness. In love, in virtue, in the pursuit of knowledge, and in the reception of the arts, we are doing this. Obviously this process can be described either as an enlargement or as a temporary annihilation of the self. But that is an old paradox; ‘he that loses his life shall save it.’"

(C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism)

Moses, David, Paul..... murdering cheats. The list goes on.

God uses all the wrong people.

While non-Christians may permit their child to dive into fiction unguided by parental wisdom so that the child can in and by that exercise "find himself", we must assume the Christian parent knows what this exercise is about.

Worst of all: keep the child unskilled in navigating actuality.

If we fear our child will be devoured by King Arthur's evils, we have not done our job. Such flights ought be mastered by middle school.

If not.....well, that flight is coming.....

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