- Question: “Harry Potter” is a best-seller. However, many Orthodox Christians are against the books’ influence on our school children. I know the books are not to your liking either. Why?
Answer: “Harry Potter” is trumpeted as the best book ever written, that it was translated into 150 languages. However, the librarians are puzzled for they find this book inept, badly written. Well, the book is promoted very powerfully. [There is a reason for Harry Potter unexplained popularity. See post #44, Hollywood's Satanic Agenda: http://startingontheroyalpath.blogspot.com/2012/05/hollywoods-satanic-agenda-very-eye.html] So we had to analyze just one Madame Rowling’s book and we came to a conclusion that it is simply a children’s textbook on occult. Nowadays, the textbooks are supposed to entertain. So Rowling wrote her entertaining textbook and as you know the textbooks are never a high class fiction. Therefore, our librarians are correct, for they are used to well-written literature.
By Michael Dunaev (Adopted from Orthodox Conversation magazine, #2, 2006)
Just recently, the Greek movie theaters were flooded by children of all ages, waiting in line to watch Warner Bros' movie, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
The movie is based on Joanne K. Rowling's* first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, Bloomsbury 1997. This book and its sequels have sold 116 million copies and have been translated into 47 languages; they were on the best-seller lists for many long months; and they have received many awards. Researchers in the U.S. say that over 50% of children in the U.S., aged 6-17, have read at least one Harry Potter book. The Internet is full of Harry Potter fan clubs. The publishing house of Harry Potter in Greece, YucogioV says: “The revealing sign of the new fad, which is called Harrypottermania, is the number of letters, telephone calls and e-mails that the YucogioV publications receives daily for the Harry Potter book: the letters alone surpass 7,500!”
Moreover, the Coca Cola Company has signed an agreement to pay 150 million dollars to Warner Bros for the exclusive right of displaying Harry Potter on the packages of its products and its advertisements. We also learn that "school playgrounds abroad are awash with Harry Potter paraphernalia, books, cards, glasses like those worn by the young wizard," many of which we see now even in Greece.
Harry Potter even invaded school classrooms: teachers give the children assignments on Harry Potter books, handing out also extended references on witchcraft and occultism. In Athens, certain private language schools use the book in the original English text to improve the reading skills of the students. Many parents and school teachers, being rather ignorant of the context, are extremely happy that the book-phobic offsprings have now become manic readers... of Harry Potter. In view of the Christmas holidays, whole classes of Elementary, Junior-High and High Schools -- even entire schools – accompanied by the teachers, visited the movie theaters to watch the Harry Potter film. Consequently, certain children that had not found Harry Potter up to that time, returned home asking their parents to buy them the books.
These are marketed as children's books (the first is suggested for ages 8-13 and the second book ages 10 to adult) but they are being enjoyed by adults as well. The problem, of course, is in the spiritual nature of the books.
* Ms. Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born in Bristol, U.K., in 1965. She studied French Literature in the Exeter University, worked as a secretary, got married in 1992, abandoned her husband in 1993, and found herself in Edinburgh, without money and with very few friends, where she started writing her first Harry Potter book. In her 2000 interview to The Times she said that she had gone through a period of severe depression, and that the ‘lunatics’ (demonic creatures that torture humans in her third book) were not just characters but a conscious description of her depression.
Harry is a cute, young, orphaned, nerdy lad, who lives together with his unsympathetic, abusive, dull relatives. When Harry was still an infant, Voldemort*, the wicked wizard, killed his parents and tried to kill him also; but the baby, gifted with supernatural powers, escaped death. From this encounter, as a souvenir of the incident, he was left with the sign of a lightning bolt** scarred on his forehead, a sign that would make him famous later.
When Harry became 11 years old, he was "saved" from his bleak existence by receiving an invitation from the "Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," that offered him a scholarship to study witchcraft. It was then that he found out that he "was a warlock, and a very good one, but with some practice of course." So, Harry became a boarding student in the witch school.
Harry, along with the reader of course, becomes slowly initiated into the "craft," which is presented extremely seductively, full of mystery and challenges. In the world of witchcraft, and in its people, he finds the love, acceptance, and recognition -- even monetary benefits -- which he lacked when he was living with the muggles*** (read non-wizards), which in all the Harry Potter books are depicted either as slow-witted or full of hatred and evil. Up to this point, some people might have considered the whole thing as pure fantasy -- and why not? However, there is more to come. Read along!
* A former wizard, and now Protestant Pastor, David J. Meyer, said: “High level witches believe that there are seven satanic princes and that the seventh, which is assigned to Christians, has no name. In coven meetings, he is called ‘the nameless one’. In the Harry Potter books, there is a character called ‘Voldemort’. The pronunciation guide says of this being, “He who must not be named”’.
** The sign of the lightning bolt on Harry Potter is a symbol from the Runic alphabet, an ancient Germanic alphabet which gradually fell into disuse but acquired occultist significance in the Dark Ages, and signifies destruction. The same symbol was used by Hitler for his Nazi SS, his elite destruction corps, and also for the Nazi Youth. The symbol on Harry, who escaped a very powerful warlock, suggests that the lad is even stronger, that he is the Apollon, the Destroyer, the Antichrist; this assumption is also supported by the name of the hero himself. In the author’s British dialect, “Harry” as a verb means to “assault, devastate, ravage”, and as a noun (“Old Harry”) denotes the Satan, while “Potter” means to “bother, irritate, annoy”, some witches though claim that Potter was a Mesopotamian goddess of fertility.
*** Muggle, probably cockney (London slang) for marijuana. The world of Ms. Rowling is divided in the “initiated ones” and “sleepy ones”.
1. First of all, part of the problem is that witches and wizards do exist and they do cast spells as in the Harry Potter books.
2. The author herself, Ms. J. K Rowling, readily admitted in 1999 on The Diane Reihm Show that she researched pagan and witchcraft practices to make the books more realistic. She said that more than one third of her books are based on actual occult practices.
3. The growing trend has been described as "troublesome" by John Buckeridge, editor of Youthwork, a monthly Christian magazine. He said: "The growing number of books and TV shows like Harry Potter and Sabrina the Teenage Witch encourage an interest in magic as harmless fun. However, for some young people it could fuel a fascination that leads to dangerous dabbling with occult powers. So what starts out as spooks and spells can lead to psychological and spiritual damage."
4. Media officer Andy Norfolk of Pagan Federation said: "In response to the increased queries coming from youngsters we established a youth officer, not to promote paganism but merely to answer these queries and allow someone to offer advice and information." The aforementioned Federation also stated that the Harry Potter books, along with some TV series like Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, are responsible for this new wave of interest in the black arts. Kate West, a 42-year-old witch and vice president of the Federation, said: "When I was a teenager, there were only about 10 books on witchcraft around. But now there is so much information on the Internet which makes it so much more accessible." However, Andy Norfolk soothingly reassured the parents that they should not be alarmed by their children's sudden interest in magick.* "Paganism is recognized as a valid religion."
5. The Union of Teachers and University Professors in England rang the bells of warning for the extremely popular creations of Ms. Rowling, and called on both parents and teachers to be careful. The Union of Teachers has been for a long time suspicious that children are occupied with the occult. Peter Smith, the general secretary of the Teachers' Union, emphasizes: "The children should be protected from the extreme forms of occultism and should be taught a responsible and positive way about the dangers of trips into the unknown. The film of Harry Potter will lead a whole generation of children to the discovery of witchcraft. While it is important to prevent extreme forms of opposition the dangers are clear. More and more children are spending whole hours by themselves on the Internet in search of satanic web pages and we do worry about it because there is no one to check up on them."
6. A former wizard and now Protestant Pastor, David J. Meyer, said, "It was the Communist revolutionary Lenin who said, 'Give me one generation of youth, and I will transform the entire world.' Now an entire generation of youth has been given to a woman named J.K Rowling and her books on witchcraft, known as the Harry Potter Series. As a former witch, I can speak with authority when I say that I have examined the works of Rowling and that the Harry Potter books are training manuals for the occult. Untold millions of young people are being taught to think, speak, dress, and act like witches by filling their heads with the contents of these books. Children are so obsessed with the Harry Potter books that they have left television and video games to read these witchcraft manuals. How serious is this? By reading these materials, many millions of young people are learning how to work with demon spirits. They are getting to know them by name. Vast numbers of children professing to be Christians are also filling their hearts and minds, while willingly ignorant parents look the other way."
7. "On top of that," said Bill Schnoebelen (another former ceremonial magician), "many media report that children are not just reading the Potter books, they are rereading them over and over again! They do this because they are entertaining, but also because they find this world of sorcerers and magic beguiling and charming (both words rooted in magic) and because they identify with the wizards. This is eerily like Christians who read and re-read the Bible, except of course they are digesting the very Word of God. Whether or not they grow up to be sorcerers, they are immersing themselves in the magic world-view that does not fit with the Bible. You cannot be your own god and also worship the one, true God. This is why these books are more dangerous than they appear."
8. Consequently, expected opposition also came from the Christian world of all countries, as is demonstrated by the great many number of WebPages which one can locate with any search engine.
9. The Harry Potter books are among the most controversial, as reported by the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom. For the years 1999 and 2000 there are 1,188 signed protests. These protests constitute less than 1/4 of the actual number of protests in schools and libraries, asking the withdrawal of Harry Potter books on the basis that they are "occultic and satanic."
10. At least one school in England, the Grammar school of St. Mary in Chatman, banned the Harry Potter books in its library.
11. One of the biggest chain toy-stores in UK, the Entertainer, banned "Harry Potter merchandise" from their shelves. One of the owners, Gary Grant, admitted that this action might cost him profits of £500,000, but he explained that he was worried about the uncontrollable situation in which the children would find themselves.
12. In Greece, the Scientist's Association "Prooptikh" is involved in deep research on the subject, studying among other things the psychological and pedagogical facets of this new phenomenon.
13. In Athens there are responsive educators, parents, priests, and Sunday-school teachers, that are informed, or have already faced some of the immediate consequences of the subject (manifestations of fear, sleep disturbances, etc. in the life of the child), and are trying to avert this great danger that threatens youth.
Do these statements sound overly critical? We wish they were.
* There is confusion between “stage magic” (illusion), such as practiced by Houdini or David Copperfield, and real magic. For this reason, most serious practitioners of the art of sorcery prefer to spell it the old English way, as “magick”, precisely to distinguish it from pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
2. A FEW OBSERVATIONS
Even if someone could encounter in the books some humor, some elements of imagination, and a veneer of moral values, still, how can children read such books? How appropriate can these kinds of books be when they are plagued with such problems:
Things are unlikely to get better. One can even speculate that, with the mass youth indoctrination into the occult by the HP type of literature, a good portion of our own children will become even hostile to Christianity and alien to salvation. We think the following poem, written by a high school student, is apt:
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's "inappropriate" to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such "judgments" do not belong.
Study witchcraft, vampires, and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!