Thursday, December 08, 2005

What does Harry Potter have to do with reality?

` I just don't understand.

` For some people in this world, the whimsical magic that was more or less
made up by J. K. Rowling specifically for her Harry Potter series is considered to be real! And by whom? Largely, it seems, people of certain deisidaimoniacal persuasions who have never practiced any type of so-called 'magic' in their lives!
` This point was brought up in an eSkeptic article by Brian Ragle entitled Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fear:

However, noted Christian author Richard Abanes draws a distinction between the writings of Tolkien and Lewis and that of J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter sagas. “Harry Potter contains elements of real magic, unlike the more fantasy-based powers employed in Lord of the Rings or Narnia,” Abanes explained. In fact, Abanes claims it is this difference that makes the Potter stories much more likely to induce impressionable children into seeking additional information about witchcraft and the world of the occult.
` ...And if you tell this to someone who might know this on a personal level (such as a Wiccan who practices witchcraft), they will only look at you funny. In this article, Kathryn Elliot is such a person:
...she shakes her head at the alleged reality of the magic used in Potter. According to her, real spells and divinations take long periods of preparation and meditation and even then do not always work as intended. She tells of a time when a spell backfired on her, producing a dark spirit that haunted her home for several days, until she found another spell to banish it. These spells did not come from a fantasy book such as Harry Potter, nor did she find them in an arcane set of texts. “I found them on the Internet,” she said....
` Which is something I'm sure many 'magicophobes' want to tear their hair out over, though in staying with the subject of the Harry Potter series I will say that at least most people are more knowledgeable on the subject and aren't about to be overcome by any fear of 'magic'. Instead they realize such books are meant to convey more universal messages:
... Priests like Reverend Small, however, would move the debate from the world of magic and into the realm of good parenting. His final opinion is that there is no more harm in Hogwarts School than there is in the land of Narnia or the kingdom of Gondor. Harry Potter presents an opportunity for parents and children to share in the story and open a dialogue on the larger story elements of good versus evil.

“The essence of Harry Potter, as I read it, is that love leaves a mark,” Small concluded, referring to the lighting bolt scar that the main character bears as a symbol of his mother’s love. “This is a story of ultimate love and the eternal struggle such power has against that of destruction.” Small calls former Cardinal Ratzinger’s highly publicized remarks “the opinion of just one guy.”
` Seriously, I don't know many people who fear the Harry Potter books, though I suppose that this is because most people I know do not regard the fictional magic in them to be actually real, nor do they associate it with Wiccans.
` This is not to say that this includes everybody I know - a friend of mine once told me that Rowling is a Wiccan and that this is where she got her spell ideas from. As this was before I was into asking people questions about where they heard things, I had stood in a corner and scratched my head long after hearing this.
` Even more puzzling, some people I've talked to think that Wicca is an ancient belief system and/or that it is the same as satanism or witchcraft.
` Oooo-kayyyy...
` Wicca, in fact, was started in the mid-twentieth century, and does not require that one practice the craft, which in itself has nothing to do with a spiritual path. Witchcraft, on the other hand, could be practiced with or without any belief in Wicca.
` As there is no belief in Satan in Wicca, there is no worshipping of the devil - though some would say that worshipping a goddess is the same thing. However, this goddess would not encourage followers to be selfish or cruel. In fact, it is believed in Wiccanism that ill spells and whatnot toward others will only come back to you, so even if you did want to hurt anyone, you would punish yourself for it in so doing.

` Really, I just can't figure out why anyone could possibly think the Harry Potter books have anything to do with witchcraft or Satan. As far as I know, there is no devil involved in witchcraft - except as portrayed in some pop culture - as it is generally meant to be used for goodwill. And, of course, Harry Potter has nothing to do with 'real' witchcraft anyway, so in a way, the Rowling books are twice removed from any accusations of evil.
` And for those who don't see this? They are simply holders (and possibly spreaders) of fear, ignorance, and general supersition. Wackmobiles, by my definition.


Galtron said...

Harry Potter? Utter fantasy? NO!!!

Aaron said...

Harry Potter contains elements of 'real magic'?!?

Where do these crackpots come from?

S E E Quine said...

` They're all over the place! Trust me....

cassie d said...

people fear 'the occult' because they have been raised to believe that is ALL has to deal with Satan, as you said. Being raised UBER Born Again Christian - i can attest to that. It's all about worshiping false idols, calling upon any powers OTHER than God, and being able to live a peacful, and good life without religious influence.
Some people just aren't tollerent enough (and secure enough) to accept other ways of life, including any type of earth religions.
I think wiccans are pretty goofy, too. i used to think christians were bad at recruiting - until i met more and more wiccans and pagans. Those people 'witness' just as much as the christians.
When you tell people you don't need religion in your life, i've actually had people tell me "well, Wicca isn't like religion". ?????
Yes it is!!
Of course, i'm sure this is just a confused wiccan, and not EVERYONE thinks i'm going to hell - or will be reincarnated as a dung beetle....

S E E Quine said...

` I guess Wicca isn't like most religion in this country, with its fundamental pantheism and whatnot, its feminism, and its tolerance of people who aren't straight.
` ...In fact, some Wiccan groups outright encourage gays and bisexuals to behave naturally, particularly groups like the Radical Faeries.