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Two sides to Harry Potter.

In response to "Potter-mania's Dark Side" in your July 28th issue, I have to say that THE NEW AMERICAN'S indictment of J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series seems uncharacteristically shortsighted and ill informed. Has the author of the article read the books? I think that if the answer were yes, it would not have been written.

My wife and I are evangelical Christians; we teach our children at home; and I have read each book in the Harry Potter series aloud to the whole family, so I speak from experience and conscience. The Harry Potter books are not saturated with occult imagery; they use the platform of magic, an alternate science, if you will, and frame it in morally unequivocal terms. Just as Shakespeare, Grimm, Aesop, Milton, C.S. Lewis, Chesterton, and countless others have illustrated moral absolutes with dark or magical images, Rowling uses an extended analogy of a magical culture, and within that analogy she indicts pride, amoral ambition, lawlessness--and, incidentally, big and unaccountable government--while extolling the virtues of freedom, loyalty, responsibility, and the unassailable power of sacrifice, love and family. Will you indict C.S. Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia? Magic runs throughout them.

Also, my family is encouraged to find that there is someone like Rowling (in the UK, no less!) out there who thinks like we in the John Birch Society do--that the times are dangerous, that the government is easily swayed by those in power who would take our freedom, and that God-given rights are worth working and fighting for by those who hold morality and freedom dear. That is a major theme that runs throughout the Harry Potter series.

You are responsible for your magazine--you aren't responsible for, nor should you answer to, uninformed emotional responses. You are responsible for the facts, and it seems in this article that perhaps you strayed from that responsibility.

Read all five books! I would be interested to see your change of opinion.


Austin, Texas

Two recently published letters to the editor (August 25th issue) gloss over the Harry Potter books as being a bad influence, but help to pinpoint something that I think is an even greater problem--lack of critical thinking skills. Harry Potter books may or may not be a source of leading some into areas of witchcraft, but the bigger problem is the way good and evil are portrayed.

The author portrays those who practice witchcraft as good and those who oppose it as evil. Normally good and evil are determined by the actions of the characters, but that is not the case in the Potter books. This is done very cleverly so that it is not perceptible to the reader, especially young readers. Most adults have a way of minimizing these things as though it has no impact on the way people think, but that is a very naive attitude.

One letter writer praised Harry for certain characteristics, but the same can be said of tyrants; does that make them good? The Bible tells us that Satan comes as an angel of light, not as a red-horned monster, and deception is his stock in trade. Be forewarned. Not every reader will be adversely affected, but the cumulative effect on people's thinking will be detrimental to how discerning they are in determining the difference between good and evil.


Rock Hill. South Carolina
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Title Annotation:Letters to the Editor
Publication:The New American
Date:Sep 22, 2003
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