by Jennifer Bowman
Whether you love it or hate it, Harry Potter has certainly left some sort of scar (lightning bolt shaped, perhaps?) on the literary world, becoming the best-selling series of all time and making J.K. Rowling richer than the Queen of England. As much as irritatingly ignorant people like to scream about its wickedness, I don't think there's a single reported case of a child turning to the occult because of the infamous fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Rowling is herself a Christian and a member of the Church of Scotland, but that's an issue for another day.
People have worried about the children, who continually remain some sort of twisted icon of the fears and insecurities of adults who really want something to complain about and a reason for complaining in the first place. I daresay that if a kid can actually manage to read a chunky 896 page book, like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I would not only think that he or she is advanced enough to be able to tell the difference between "good" and "evil," but I'd be pretty impressed with his or her reading ability as well.
Why is it as soon as a book becomes popular enough to encourage reading of a worldwide sort, some stupid parent has to cry about the "effects" the books may have on his or her over-nurtured, clinging child? I am extremely lucky to have had parents who have never once told me I couldn't read a book and encouraged any sort of reading whatsoever. It wasn't the case with movies, music, or television - but I could read anything I wanted. And I did.
I've always been drawn to the supposedly "bad" books that always end up on the banned books list, such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Animal Farm and Anthem and many, many more. To me, they aren't "bad." They're absolutely captivating. The message they hold is way more important than the occasional curse word or the violent scene. I've never really been affected by violent scenes in movies one way or another, and I think it's because I've learned to look past that and accept a deeper message. I learned that from reading.
You can't expect to protect your child from reality when you won't even allow them to understand fiction. To deny someone mental stimulation is despicable. Faber says in Bradbury's great Fahrenheit-451: "So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people only want wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless." I'm not comfortable being expressionless, for one. If only people had actually taken Ray Bradbury's advice.
So how does the Harry Potter saga end? Well, I think I'd have to insist that you read it yourself, though you can find it pretty much anywhere on the Internet. Let me just say, that with all great books, it always ends the way it should. I wouldn't want to have to go Avada Kedavra on Ms. Rowling, now, would I?
I leave you with an anonymous quote, now, to wrap things up. Courtesy of the Internet.
"A dirty book is seldom dusty."