My Ranking: 7 out of 10
Ages: 13 & up
UPDATE 10/15/2011 -- After much discussion and debate between many different people involving myself, I have come to some different conclusions about these books. I hope to write another post someday and expound on my new ideals. Suffice to say, while I still don't read the books really, I have a different view on Harry Potter and no longer completely condemn it.
While being written later than I'd hoped, I am still pleased to be able to present the first review of my review series on the best selling books by J.K. Rowling - the Harry Potter series.
I have heard many different opinions on the Harry Potter series and have been told on more than one occasion that I can't argue against them if I haven't read them, which I actually found very reasonable. So I amended the situation. Being 16 and deeply rooted in my faith, I took a paper, a pen, numerous opinions of the books, and God's word into battle as I dove into the first book of the series - The Sorcerer's Stone.
Many Christians would look at the title - The Sorcerer's Stone - and immediately have red flags pop up simply because of the word "sorcerer", which is completely reasonable to me as I would do, and do do, the exact same thing. The back cover will only make one even more wary -
Read the whole article here.
While I myself can see how some may come to this conclusion , I don't think Christ being revealed through a series about witches is right. Obviously God is not okay with witches. I do find the lesson in love conquering a good one, but to say it revolves around Christ is a little far fetched, in my opinion. There was no source of ultimate power - in fact, in at least in the first book there is no known source of power. We are left wondering where magic comes from, and I assume the reader is supposed to believe that it comes from within one's self...or something. I don't really know.
So, now that I've gotten through the ups and downs, let me answer a few arguments I've heard from both sides of the HP debate. I'll be doing this for each review I write on these books.
"Harry Potter is too realistic and will make kids believe they can be like Harry Potter"
My Opinion: As a sixteen year old, I did not find this book realistic at all, besides some of the minor things the witches do. Trolls, dragons, ghosts, talking pictures, magical trains, flying broomsticks, and many other aspects made it completely obvious that it is a total fiction. But, considering this book is for younger children between the ages of 8 and 13, I wouldn't be all too surprised if a child didn't come to the same conclusion. I would not recommend this book to children who are young and not rooted deeply in their faith or don't know the truth about witches.
"You can't say Harry Potter is bad and accept C.S. Lewis' and J.R. Tolkien's books."
My Opinion: Well, I actually love Lewis' and Tolkien's works. They are amazing stories and they do have a big difference - the source of their power. Yes, a wizard is involved in Lord Of The Rings, but he is not a wizard on his own accord. He was given his power by a higher source. The same thing goes for the Narnia books - the powers come from a higher source: Aslan. Both of these higher source's can represent God. Harry Potter on the other hand, at least in the first book, has an unknown source of power. We are left to assume it(magic) just chooses people or that it's in one's self. There is no greater source of power.
That all being said, I did enjoy the book and found many of the lessons in it noble, I just wish just a few things could change. While I would deter young children from reading this book, older teenagers who are grounded in their faith may find this book interesting; though I don't necessarily recommend it. Of course, this is just my opinion and convictions. I simply wrote this review to answer questions that anyone may be having when choosing to read this book or give it to their child. If you have any questions or arguments regarding my review, feel free to leave a comment - I love hearing my reader's opinions and am open to discuss them. :-)