A good friend had recommend that I should try the Harry Potter books. I was very dubious to say the least (anything loved by the masses has to suck), but now that I’m half way through the first one I must say that the books are indeed quite good, quite entertaining, quite imaginative, and just a jolly good story.

I’ll definitely have to post more later about them but they definitely remind me a great deal of some of my childhood favorites (Chronicles of Prydain, Chronicles of Narnia, etc.), but have a very different feel too. (for that matter, thus far I’m seeing big comparisons to Star Wars too, at least thematically)

But on a related note, I have to say that the wacko-“there’s a demon lurking in every corner”-paranoid fundamentalist Christians come out looking rather silly with their anti-Harry Potterism. Sadly enough, Google shows 564,000 results if you search for Harry Potter is satanic, and even the Vatican is now opposed to the books (see CBC.ca: Pope’s top exorcist says Harry Potter is ‘king of darkness’ and Lifestyle.net: Pope Opposes Harry Potter Novels – Signed Letters from Cardinal Ratzinger Now Online

Seriously, folks need to learn that there is a big difference between reality and imagination. Witches, wizards, and the like are part of the common mythology of Europe. Nobody except the unimaginative and paranoid actually thinks that such things are real. It is very unfortunate to see so many in the religious community fall into such foolish stands. (or what is even more sadly funny, the Pope’s own personal “exorcist” is the one raising these concerns… talk about irony!)

Maybe I’ll see it differently when I read all of the books but thus far I see nothing objectionable, and certainly nothing that is more imaginative or more “magical” than what you can find in Lord of the Rings or the Chronicles of Narnia. I don’t really see much explicit Christian imagery in Harry Potter, but I do see the themes of living virtuous lives for sure and what is wrong with that.

Anyway to all of the Harry Potter haters out there… don’t be a scared chicken. Read the book and find out for yourself.