Saturday, October 20, 2007

Can't wait to hear the Harry Potter apologists now

Back some time in 1998 or so there was a big fracas made by the release of the first Harry Potter book, "The Sorcerer's Stone". We had some parents of students at our school pop a cork over various kids bringing in the evil Potter book to read during recess and such. I obtained a copy and read it. I thought Rowling was a clever writer with a quality not often matched in modern literature. The sorcery stuff really didn't freak me out like it seemed to be doing to various and sundry Christians. I was more bothered by the outright mockery of authority that pervaded. The students rule the day in Potter's world- at least in the first book. The teachers were basically idiots. There was kind of an underlying post-modern tone, which is to be expected from anything written today, especially by an unbeliever. The first movie represented the book fairly well, again, I didn't think the sorcery stuff was a big concern for young teens watching it. Hopefully no parent lets their kids watch stuff without first screening it and discussing it any way. In that light, I kind of wish Christians wouldn't come off as such prudes, especially pertaining to flash in the pan "pop" stuff. We look like such pathetic alarmists at times.

Now, having said all that, I didn't like the first book enough to waste money on the next 5 or 6 that have since come out. While Rowling is clearly a gifted author, the sheer popularity of her works makes me pretty skeptical of their long term staying power. When C.S. Lewis started releasing his Narnia books, they didn't do so well for quite a while. The same is true for Tolkein. Generally, classic stuff takes time to be recognized, settle in, and stay the test of time. I'm not saying Rowlings' writings won't eventually do the same, I just tend to be skeptical about anything the masses run out and buy up, so I try to remain blissfully ignorant, especially when I hear Christians debating about Potter. The debates are usually around the witchcraft stuff, which I just don't think is a big deal. I don't think Christian kids will go out and sacrifice their neighbor's cat because of Potter.

Many of my good, culturally savvy and theologically astute friends carry on about the greatness of the Harry Potter series. Not having read the last 5 or 6 (not sure how many there are now...don't care) books, and not wanting to come off like the skittish mother who is aghast by the horrible witchcraft of Potter, Hogwarts, and company, I've kind of read their various posts and listened to their comments with a "give me a break, this stuff will be forgotten soon enough" thought in my head, but with a smile of "you are so culturally with it and I'm not"on my face.

But this is where I draw the line on this Potter thing. Rowling just revealed yesterday that Dumbledore is gay (with a name like that...). Good grief. How totally lame of her. I can't wait to hear the christian Potter apologists now. I'm sure their argument will be something like- "it doesn't say anything about him being gay in the text itself" or "no he's not"- those sorts of things. I rather hope they at least admit it's a hideously poor choice on the part of the story's creator instead of defending the franchise on this point.

J.K. Rowling Reveals 'Harry Potter' Character Dumbledore Is Gay

(FOXNEWS)NEW YORK — Harry Potter fans, the rumors are true: Albus Dumbledore, master wizard and Headmaster of Hogwarts, is gay.

J.K. Rowling, author of the mega-selling fantasy series that ended last summer, outed the beloved character Friday night while appearing before a full house at Carnegie Hall. After reading briefly from the final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," she took questions from audience members.

She was asked by one young fan whether Dumbledore finds "true love." "Dumbledore is gay," the author responded to gasps and applause. She then explained that Dumbledore was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, whom he defeated long ago in a battle between good and bad wizards. "Falling in love can blind us to an extent," Rowling said of Dumbledore's feelings, adding that Dumbledore was "horribly, terribly let down." Dumbledore's love, she observed, was his "great tragedy." "Oh, my god," Rowling concluded with a laugh, "the fan fiction."

Potter readers on fan sites and elsewhere on the Internet have speculated on the sexuality of Dumbledore, noting that he has no close relationship with women and a mysterious, troubled past. And explicit scenes with Dumbledore already have appeared in fan fiction. Rowling told the audience that while working on the planned sixth Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," she spotted a reference in the script to a girl who once was of interest to Dumbledore. A note was duly passed to director David Yates, revealing the truth about her character.
Rowling, finishing a brief "Open Book Tour" of the United States, her first tour here since 2000, also said that she regarded her Potter books as a "prolonged argument for tolerance" and urged her fans to "question authority.

Not everyone likes her work, Rowling said, likely referring to Christian groups that have alleged the books promote witchcraft. Her news about Dumbledore, she said, will give them one more reason.
I understand the age we live in, such "outings" of people are considered progressive and en vogue, but come on already. Can you imagine, in Lewis' day, readers wondering about the sexuality of the professor because he's single, living alone? How about the readers of Tolkein wondering about the sexuality of Gandalf (OK...never mind that one..)? But you get my drift. Such a decision by Rowling is so boring and typical of our pop culture.


Fred said...


I'm with you a 100%. Excellent comments!

Say hello to Nathan for me.

Kampfgruppe Hoppa said...

I wonder if some of the same folks who read the Potter series read the Left Behind series. Quite frankly, I'd be a little more alarmed over some of the positions put forth in that series of books.

Anonymous said...

Excellent comments!
I'm a avid reader and I am always entertained by books about fantasy, these kind of books offer one a great excape(better than going to a movie). I have read most of the Left Behind series and truthfully enjoyed them. But never did I really think they were gospel. Fiction is Fantasy, if one cannot decern that, they should only read Non-Fiction(which could sometimes be a lot of Fiction)
Reading is a great way to expand your mind and education.

Tweadle Dee

Frontier Forest said...

I stayed away from encouraging my grandkids to explore the Harry Potter stuff and I am pretty radical against this kind of dangerous fantasy. But after reading many respectful Christian’s takes on the series, I have calmed down and now take a more moderate approach. I am in total agreement with Tony.
Speaking of fantastic Christian fiction writers, like CS Lewis, how about Randy Alcorn! His books are Biblically correct, and certainly “right-on” target with today’s spiritual and social problems.
I recently sent to Randy Alcorn’s, Eternal Perspective Ministries a letter congratulating him on his book “Dominion”. My letter suggested, “With all the new, exciting and outstanding Christian films being produced today, have you thought and prayed about making a “Dominion” movie? The body of Christ as well as the world, needs to hear Dominion’s powerful message. Themes of traditional family values, family reconciliation, victory over extreme prejudice, righteousness determined to conquer evil, and the amazing, inspirational stories of those who suffered so horribly during times of segregation, all of these themes need to be told…. and I believe you’re just the man of God to step forward.”
I was very excited to receive a positive reply! Glad to announce, the ministry is in the process of making one of his books, Deadline into a motion picture. Don’t know any of the details, but rest assured it will be a great movie that glories Christ in every way!

Mark Davis said...

The Rowling "outing" was a bitter disappointment. The movies are pure entertainment. Can't speak for the books. I wouldn't invest that much time in pop fantasy.

What's equally sad is that the early and over-blown Christian backlash against the wand-waving and pidgin-latin-spell-mumbling in prior Potter material has completely invalidated the righteous indignation that ought now to come roaring from the Church. We look like Barney Fife after wasting his one bullet.

In the words of David St. Hubbins,
It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever.