Tag Archive | Harry Potter

Of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games

What do Harry Potter and The Hunger Games have in common? This is what I notice:

–they both started out as books

–they were both written by women

–the central characters in both series are young

–they are both phenomenally successful

–they both have been denounced by members of the Christian community.

Let me say right now that I would not be one of those members.

On the website http://www.credenda.org, the writer, Douglas Wilson, in a review of “The Hunger Games,” states:

“In short, when you have the privilege of setting up all the circumstances artificially, in order to give your protagonist no real choice about whether to sin or not, it is a pretty safe bet that a whole lot of people in a relativistic country, including the Christians in it unfortunately, won’t notice.”

The gist of the article was that we shouldn’t let our kids watch this movie, or read the book. Wilson says, “But in terms of helping Christian young people set their minds and hearts on that which is noble and right, we can’t even give it one star.”

As a writer, and a follower of Jesus, I can see that I have an obligation to help my readers become better people. But if you are coming from a worldview that does not acknowledge God (and I’m not saying either Suzanne Collins or J.K. Rowling fall into that camp), then you can’t be held to that standard. What these stories do is give parents a chance to actually have meaningful conversations with their kids about what they’re reading.

I have read the Harry Potter series and loved it. I thought the character development was wonderful, the plot amazingly complex and the pace fast and exciting.

I have not yet read The Hunger Games, but I’m fixin’ to, as soon as Justin puts it down.

I talk to my kids about what they read and the worldview adhered to therein. We give them a solid foundation at home and make sure we keep our lines of communication open. I know what they’re reading, I know who their friends are, I have a relationship with my children. I filter the things they can read and watch, but I don’t prohibit all that does not follow the worldview we espouse. Our school calls this living in a wildlife refuge versus a hothouse. They’re exposed to some of the things out there in the world, but protected while they’re at it.

There’s a scene in the second Harry Potter book, The Chamber of Secrets, that holds a great truth. Harry is talking to Professor Dumbledore and is quite concerned about some things that Tom Riddle said to him. He’s afraid he might be like Tom, who is the epitome of evil. In the course of the conversation, the professor helps Harry think through the process that the Sorting Hat went through to put him into the house of Gryffindor. This is what the author said that I thought was so profound:

“‘It only put me in Gryffindor,’ said Harry in a defeated voice, ‘because I asked not to go in Slytherin. . . .’

“‘Exactly,’ said Dumbledore, beaming once more. ‘Which make you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.'”

Romans 7: 15-25 talks about this dilemma: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Harry Potter and his friends do not acknowledge God. The powers they have simply come from within themselves. What a great opportunity to talk to our kids about sin and righteousness and God’s grace.

The Hunger Games  puts young people in an ethical dilemma: kill or be killed. What a great chance to talk to our kids about moral absolutes and where that comes from and how God is not just the giver of life, but Life Himself.

And then pray that those who write things our kids love would begin to see things from God’s perspective.

Thankful today for:

138. Homemade pizza

139. The end of a good book

140. A new book to read at the ready

Making My Life Count

I always wanted to write the great American novel. I wanted it to be something that withstood the test of time. Now, at the age of 50, I find that pipe dream becoming like so much smoke. What do I really have to say, anyway? I have no story in me just waiting to get out. Will I ever? I don’t know. But I’m learning that I need to be satisfied with where God has me, while still trying to be all that God wants me to be.

But I was thinking about different writers I’ve read. Some of them have been good, some not so much.Take Dostoyevsky for example: now, that man could write. His amazing works have definitely stood the test of time, but I doubt I could get my children to read him. They are much more of the Harry Potter generation.

Speaking of which, how in the world did J.K. Rowling come up with the amazingly imaginative, complicated and action-packed plot, sustained through 7 novels? I admit, I loved the Harry Potter series. That doesn’t always go over well in the evangelical world. But, as a writer, I thought they were very well written and fun. I am amazed at her ability to tell an enchanting tale. She certainly had an impact on life. There’s now an entire theme park in Orlando based off of her creation. Amazing.

But is J.K. Rowling on the same level as Dostoyevsky?

Nicholas Sparks, Tom Clancy, James Patterson, Danielle Steele. All of them have become very wealthy writing books people like to read. And making movies out of them. But have they changed the world? Words are powerful, so if their words have gotten even one person to look at things differently, then yes, they have changed a small corner of the world.

C.S. Lewis? J.R.R. Tolkien? Masterful storytellers whose books finally made it to the big screen. Did they change the world? For those who have been touched by their works, they have certainly had an influence.

For good or for evil, words change lives.

I’ll be honest with you, I struggle with my motivation for writing this blog. Do I just write so that people will read it and think it’s great? (Thank you to those who have hit the “like” button over the past couple of months.) Or do I write because to not do so would be like not breathing? Is it so ingrained in me that I simply must write lest I die? Or do I just want to cause someone who reads my words to say, “Huh. I never thought of it that way before”?

I want to change the world. But I know without the power of Jesus in my life, that won’t happen. And maybe my world is just the three kids I call my own. If my influence is only on them, and that is what God has called me to do, then that should satisfy me.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1 New International Version).

Offering to God everything I do, whether it’s writing, copy editing, or teaching a classroom full of 2nd graders. Everything. And let Him do with it what He may. Write because He compels me to, not because someone might think it’s a good read.

But it sure would be nice to see my name on the jacket of a book some day.

Thankful today for:

69. the beach
70. three days alone with my husband
71. corporate discounts on hotel rooms at the beach