14 November, 2007

Harry Potter's Secret

Hint: It Has Nothing to Do With Gay Headmasters
By Michael Gerson

There is something inherently odd about considering the sex lives of fictional characters in children's books. Just how hearty were the Hardy boys? And we will not even speculate about Heidi's reclusive grandfather.

But J.K. Rowling has forced such considerations upon us with her announcement that Albus Dumbledore, the beloved headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is gay. The news, delivered by the author after a Carnegie Hall reading, was received with gasps in the audience and around the world.

The Dumbledore revelation was taken by many Christian conservatives as additional confirmation that Rowling is a corrupter of youth. What could be more subversive than the combination of witchcraft and homosexual rights?
Gerson [a traditional conservative] points out that "Ruling out magic in children's literature would, of course, completely depopulate Narnia and Middle Earth, leaving just silent forest." and "Magic is usually the way that children are introduced to the idea of transcendence."
Interestingly, the Narnia series, which includes a God/Christ-like lion isn't condemned by the neo-conservatives who seem to take the magic in those books in stride:
The children arrive through a magical wardrobe.
They converse with badgers, rabbits, etc.
They even fight a war with evil characters who seem to come from an area that resembles the Middle East of this world and worship a God who resembles Mohammed -- in a book written a generation before Islam- bashing became fashionable.
The 'Secret' alluded to in the title of the article, though is one we would all do well to emulate: it's Love.
And it includes acceptance of beings who are different from the reader, or of Harry himself, such as half-bloods, werewolves, giants, house elves, goblins and so on.

Loving those who are different from us? What a heretical message to teach our children! --according to the far-right-Christians.
Never-mind what Joshua bar Joseph taught.

Click here for the complete text [of the article--not the Deathly Hallows :)]


Jude's BlogLoggin said...

I believe the author of the Narnia series was a well known Christian advocate of his time. There were writings about how CS Lewis turned his back on "wicked" ways and embraced Christianity with a vengence so of course his books would be more widely accepted - it was a Christian peep! Unlike JK who lived a dubious lifestyle previously to release Harry books. I think it is silly to delve that deeply into children's books and take apart their hero. My favorite all time book from my childhood was My Side of the Mountain. In it a boy ran away and lived in a tree in the mountains but I do not remember people pooh poohing that book as bad for the youth. I thought the character was adventurous! And DON'T get me started on the Boston Banned Books list. I could on and on (I read them all by the time I was 12 - naughty girl I was).

two crows said...

welcome to Scattershot, Jude--
btw-- I loved your post on the 13 grandmothers.
I'm thinking about contacting them to find out how to be part of that movement--
I'm OLD enough to be a g-ma, tho I have no kids or grandkids by blood--
yes, C. S. Lewis had a 'crisis of faith' when his wife died.
and the far-right's condemnation of the Harry Potter series is SUCH a red-herring, it seems to me.
the good news is -- it's the most sure-fire way to get their kids to read it under the covers when their parents aren't watching.
so, maybe their kids will learn something about loving those who are different from themselves despite their parents' attempts to keep that from happening---

I'm gonna have to look up My Side of the Mountain at the library.