By Mireille Clark
Copyright 2001. All Rights Reserved.
My children wanted to read the Harry Potter series. Since I had read so many comments on the book, (mostly against the series), I felt that I should explain to my children the reasons why I didn't want them to read it.
They argued back that I hadn't read it myself so how could I base my judgment on just other's opinions. I took their bait. I offered to read the first 10 chapters of the book and write them an essay as to how I felt about whether or not it is worth reading. Here is the essay:
There has been a lot of discussion on whether or not this novel is worth reading. To make a judgment on that issue, one has to look at what the novel offers the reader.
It is very difficult to see any positive behavior in this book from the characters. What little is done to the good is always overshadowed by the darkness of their own character, and the evilness surrounding them. In fact, the only kind action done within the first 10 chapters is when Harry shares his truckload of candy with Ron. Other than that one act of sharing, we do not see any worthy, virtuous behavior displayed by any other character.
On the other hand, we cannot read a page without some incidence or reference to a negative attitude or behavior. Characters in this novel are constantly judgmental, unforgiving, envious, prideful, disobedient, greedy, selfish, cruel, taunting, abusive, etc. etc. You do not see supportive, and loving family behavior displayed by any of the characters.
There is racist and prejudicial remarks consistently make throughout the novel either against the "muggles", the normal everyday people, or against the wizards. These prejudices are accepted by all the characters in the novel. Draco Malfoy, one of the more negative characters mentions this attitude clearly.
"You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter... You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort."
The novel represents the wizards, and those people with magic as a positive influence in Harry's life. This is the only time that Harry is treated as a person, and respected. Harry's worthiness as a person is directly related to the fact that he is a wizard, and not that he is a good person.
There are at least 10 references against having a large family within the first 100 pages of this book. Ron, Harry's first acquaintance comes from a fairly large family. We meet him, and his family on page 70. Within 10 sentences of being introduced to this family, we see our first negative reference. The mother calls to a child and refers to him as Fred, the child's response is "I'm not Fred, I'm George," said the boy, "Honestly, woman, call yourself our mother? Can't you tell that I'm George?" Later you find out that this child was Fred all along. This type of dishonesty and ridicule is rampant in this novel.
According to the author, Ron lives a very neglected life:
Again the character Draco states clearly "My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford." (page 81)
Throughout the book you will see that the adults are portrayed as shallow, stupid people, while the children are shallow, intelligent people who disregard the useless rules given by the adults.
This book is based on the occult. Any curious reader could go to the local library, or the nearest occult book store to find more information on the various curiosities that are held up as fun, and interesting. Harry's first impulse in the story was to look up "curses" with which he could curse the Dursleys. Cursing is directly against the 10 Commandments, and against the virtues of Christianity. In fact, many other actions in this book go against the Christian faith such as conjuring, interacting with ghosts, magic wands, and the other occult. This book's magic is far removed from the fictional "magic" that we see in other fantasy books that cannot be imitated because they have their own worlds, rules, and regulations based totally on imagination. An example of this would be Pokemon where in the magic cannot exist in reality.
It is my opinion that this book isn't worth the paper that it is typed up on. There are plenty of other books with great admirable characters in wonderful, imaginative worlds. Great stories of good versus evil that are worth reading. There are enough negative attitudes, prejudice, and darkness around us that we need not spend hours reading about selfishness, and cruelty. In fact, I have seen more virtues displayed in a television commercial than in this book. This novel is definitely NOT worth reading.
What was the end result? With the evidence presented to them my children couldn't defend their claims that this was a worthwhile book to read. They decided to lay aside this series and read other books. Halleluiah!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains how occult-based practices are against the First Commandment.
#2116 "All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. [Deuteronomy 18:10, Jeremiah 29:8] Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone."
#2117 "All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity."