Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | July 15, 2007

Harry Potter

The countdown seems to have been going on for ages, but now just a few days away, is the biggest book launch the world has ever seen – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Absolutely amazing numbers of pre-orders make the two editions being released on Saturday bestsellers on Amazon even though they have not yet been officially published – not bad for a book that has not yet hit the shelves.

However, themes of sorcery and heroes, good and evil, adventures of magical discovery and the ever present threat from dark creatures and their manipulative master do not sit comfortably with all Christians.  Books and tales which involve the good and bad guys all using magical items, wielding powerful supernatural forces and drawing on ancient or deep traditions often cause us to question whether we should be reading them.

Still, that’s enough about Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia – what about Harry Potter? Should Christians read J K Rowling’s series of books about the young wizard and his friends? I’m sure the coming weeks will see much debate and many more words added to the discussion about whether children should or shouldn’t read the books or see the films.

Of course, the main accusation is that these books somehow lead young or impressionable readers towards witchcraft or an overfamiliarity with the occult. However, one commentator made perhaps one of my favourite observations:

“…we should be worrying about adults not being able to distinguish between fiction and reality. The kids themselves seem to have a pretty good grasp of it”

Hopefully this distinction will be adequately reflected in any debate…



  1. I have a question: What is the source of the book?

    I am thinking about the voices that children listened to in the past – before this politically correct, post-Christian era. Here in the States, prayer was even allowed in schools up until the early ’60s. But now, having talked to many kids – I work in a middle school – I find that relatively few attend a church meeting regularly…and of those that do, only a scant handful truly seem to grasp what they believe. Every year, when the curriculum dictates that the children learn about the three major monotheistic religions, the Social Studies teachers ask me do a Judaism presentation (which Lord Jesus gives me the grace to turn in into a MESSIANIC Judaism presentation…We get as close to presenting the Gospel as we can…) You would be amazed at the lack of understanding – or even basic knowledge – that many of the children have regarding spiritual things. So…what voices, can we suppose, are they generally more exposed to?

    With this in mind, I guess the thing that concerns me the most, the most tell-tale thing to my own heart, is the huge mass draw that Harry Potter has. More and more, I am alarmed at the content of the things that draw the kids. Not that “mass appeal” is bad in-and-of itself, but in THIS series in particular, whatever it is, there is definitely a voice that is speaking…and they are listening VERY intently.

    At the conference in Grand Rapids this past spring, Roger said this: Of all the voices that we hear, there are really only two voices that speak: the voice of our GOD…and the voice of the liar.

    Who is speaking through Harry Potter? and who is getting the glory from it?

  2. I accidentally came across this blog, and since I’ve been reading Harry Potter, I find this post very interesting.

    I’m currently reading Roger Aubreys book “The circle of life” where I too notice that he says it’s either God or the liar that speaks. But I didn’t see him put any good references to scripture next to it. I am wondering, isn’t there a human voice too? God has made us intelligent creatures, hasn’t he? Wouldn’t it be more right to say it’s either God, the liar or human speaking? Personally I actually experienced God speaking to me through Harry Potter. So I don’t believe you can say it’s either good or bad. I believe it all depends on the reader. This is just what I think though.

  3. Hilde – thanks for dropping by and for your thoughtful comments about HP. Also great to see pictures of Gower, Swansea on your blog. It’s a beautiful place.

    God has made us intelligent and this does add to the mix of influences that shape us. As Roger points out there are two competing spiritual influences – God and Satan. But this doesn’t polarise everything we see or hear into either wholly righteous or wholly evil. I agree that there is also the voice of humanity also at play – for example, one aspect is what Paul calls the ‘wisdom of this age’ (1 Cor.2:6).

  4. Interesting that Roger’s quotes should be brought up in an attempt to discourage the reading of Harry Potter. I happen to know he is a fan of the HP series, and has read the entire collection. 🙂

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