A classmate of mine recently asked one of my favorite questions: “Should I read Harry Potter? Why?”
In case you don’t already know: I love Harry potter. I love reading Harry Potter, I love watching the Harry Potter movies, I love wearing my Harry Potter scarf, I love discussing Harry Potter. Clearly, I jumped on this question. He probably got a much longer and in depth answer than he bargained for.
Now, in the end, if Harry Potter isn’t your thing, it isn’t your thing and no amount of convincing will persuade you. That being said, I’m still going to try, so bear with me.
First of all, Harry Potter is a good series to read because so many people have read it. Now, this sounds like a weak argument at first (immediately the famous parent comeback “if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?” comes to mind). But, I think it is important for us both as Christians and as members of society to be aware of what is influencing those around us.
Harry Potter has been a world-wide influence for the past fifteen years, and vast numbers of people have read it. People my age, people my parent’s age, and even people younger than me. (That’s why I wouldn’t say that this argument also applies to something like Twilight, for example. Twilight might be very popular, but its fan base is almost entirely romantic, teen-age girls, rather than a wide range of personalities and ages).
The messages from Harry Potter have stuck with all these millions of people and shaped their worldviews, and I think it’s important for you to know what those messages are, even if you don’t agree with all of them.
Secondly, it is truly enjoyable. Now, like I said at first: if fantasy isn’t your favorite, then maybe this argument doesn’t apply. But here are some reasons that I think make it a very enjoyable series:
- It’s easy to read. I know for me, it’s nice to have some easy-reads after all the heavy school reading that I have (Herodotus? Don Quixote? Plato’s Republic? Not exactly light). Harry Potter provides a beautiful balance of mystery, action, description, character development, etc.
- The characters are amazing. I don’t mean they’re just nice, funny people like in lots of books. Some do add comic relief, but even the funny characters have depth, they are flawed, they have struggles, and you can truly relate to them. The villains are especially great. You get to uncover some of their backstories and understand how they became what they are, but it doesn’t turn into an agonizing soap opera that blurs the lines between good and evil
- There is not a single plot hole. J. K. Rowling spent so much time and energy planning every detail. There are no loose ends in the story line or even any gaps regarding the secret Wizarding World as a whole. Usually I love finding plot errors, or thinking of questions that would stump the author, but in this series I’ve never been able to think of one.
Lastly, Harry Potter is not a Christian book, and J K Rowling is not a Christian, but still so many of the messages point directly to the Bible. I won’t spoil anything here, but there are some places in the end of the series that almost seem to be quoting Scripture. Powerful messages of love, sacrifice, trust, and hope are woven throughout these books.
“Dark and difficult times lie ahead of us, Harry, and there will come a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”
I’m sure you’ve heard before that all man-made stories are merely reflections of the Great Story that God gave to us. Harry Potter is a perfect example of this: the author is not Christian, and yet her messages are.
They have to be.
No other messages would be worth writing about, and no other messages could have such an impact on readers.