Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Harry Potter and the Promotion of Witchcraft

Do the HP books and movies promote witchcraft? IMHO they promote Christian themes far more than Wicca or witchcraft. Why do I say so? 'Cause magic in the HP books and movies are dealt with in a rather scientific manner- to achieve this effect you have to do this and that (utter or think of a specific word, raise your wand, etc.) There is nothing supernatural in the way these acts are portrayed (no summoning demons, no ritual sacrifices, etc.) In fact, the magic-using people of HP's world are pretty much irreligious- there is nothing in the books suggesting religious affiliation. Though there is mention of Christmas and saints, the way these are referred to are more cultural than religious (much in the same way secular Britishers would celebrate Christmas and talk of saints). In fact, the whole culture of HP's people reminds me of medieval Europeans- the superstitious way they treat Old Voldie aka Lord Voldermort, the way the whole Ministry is subverted yet no one peeps a protest, the us vs them way they treat the Muggles, and so on. I wonder how the US magic-using people would have dealt with Old Voldie...
The Christian themes in Book 7 are extremely obvious (from the Bible verses to the "death" and "resurrection" of Harry Potter). What's more, watered-down versions of these themes can be found throughout the whole series. Now (other than in book 7) admittedly these themes are no more obvious than the ones found in most fantasy novels, but the magic found in the HP books and movies are explored in similar ways as the way those novels explore magic. I mean, wizarding schools are quite ubiquitous in the genre, and so are spell-casting rituals. Rowling simply chose to make hers more witch-like.

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