Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

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The best selling books in America at this time (November 1999) are the three fictional volumes by J.K. Rowling about the life of a boy named Harry Potter. These are books about magic, witches, wizards, dragons and all that goes with such fairy tales. They are written for children and thus are simple, both in reading style and story line. Certainly not destined to be classic works, they are nevertheless fun and interesting.

The question on the minds of many Christians is whether these books are also dangerous. They deal with the “dark” side, the world of magic, in a very positive and attractive way. Would such fiction attract children to the real world of the dark arts, which is not nearly so pleasant? That is a question the discerning reader will have to settle in his or her own mind. As for the books themselves, having read only the first, I would say that they are no more dangerous than the fiction of C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald and Tolkien, or classic movies and books put out by Disney and others. These latter works are mostly well received by the Christian community. But on the other hand, should they be? Big question, but it would seem unfair and inconsistent to condemn Harry Potter and not C.S. Lewis or Snow White. Some have suggested that Rowling’s fiction differs in the later books in that she seems to be trying to actually draw children into the world of witchcraft. That may be, but since I have yet to read those books I will have to reserve judgment at this time.

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