Regarding Harry Potter... I believe on this forum we have demonstrated the following:
1) There is nothing Christian or Orthodox about it, but some Christians will go to much trouble to try and justify this work of fiction. They will also stoop to justify their opinions by comparing SAT scores and talking about whether or not they are cradle-Os or converts.
Nothing of the kind has been demonstrated. I've read the books-- all of them. Nobody else here has even claimed to read the fifth book, though I'm sure some have.
HP is not overtly Christian in the way that many of the Narnia books are, or in the way that parts of the Silmarillion are. It is much more obviously Christian than the Lord of the Rings is.
For my part, the "much trouble" I've gone to has been directed at those whose rejection of the book is ill-founded. It is, after all, in one sense just another book on the shelf, just another story for kids to read. Unless one is prepared to reject fiction in general (and I consider such a position to be too preposterous to argue against) it has to be considered on its merits. Those who attack it simply on the basis of the words "magic" and "witchcraft" do so out of ignorance and something approaching superstition.
2) It has a very deep influence on those who read the books. I would almost say it has a greater impact on adults than children. I haven't met anyone yet who hasn't gotten totally wrapped up in them.
Well, there's impact, and there's impact. People get wrapped up in it because (at least on one crucial level) it is well-written. It's hardly perfect, but it is a very enjoyable read.
As far as the impact on adults is concerned: it is a story which is enjoyable enough for adults, and indeed, the successive books have been written on more and more of an adult level. But also, there is the issue of just getting kids to read at all. I know people who write childrens' and YA books, and who know some of what goes on in the industry. Before HP, the last big thing was the Goosebumps series, which by all accounts was not great literature. Yet they sold and sold. Then all of a sudden, in one month sales dropped by something like a factor of ten. It nearly put Scholastic out of business. It became apparent that people were buying the books, but they weren't reading them.
Getting boys to read books has been a battle for years. So when something like HP comes along that boys really want to read, adults get excited about it.
3) There is a near cult-like religious following of readers who will undoubtedly buy, read and keep reading all the books. Some have read the 900 page book multiple times since it was released. All in the name of entertainment... How can this be a "good thing?"
It is not near cult-like, and it is not religious in this sense. It is just the normal course of celebrity. It is perfectly ordinary to re-read books; almost any book I like I will re-read, just because that's the way I read. Plenty of people are that way, and plenty of other people never read anything more than once. If this difference means something, it doesn't mean anything about Rowling or the HP books.
If you want to be entertained... we certainly can watch our life tick away, feeding our own fallen imagination while we escape into a realm of JK Rowlings fallen imagination... However, let's not argue about whether or not the books have merit beyond a purely worldly and pagan work of fiction. There really is little difference between JK Rowling, Steven King and/or Robert Jordan.
Or between JK Rowling and Dostoevsky, if it comes to that. Or Lewis, or Tolkien, or Charles Williams, or George Macdonald, or.........
... or what we are doing now.
This is after all a kind of entertainment; we will see that if we are honest with ourselves. I refuse to even consider the notion that entertainment is of itself sinful and unhealthy. It is a basic human need. We were placed first in a garden, a place of delights, in its way a great entertainment.
Surely some entertainments are good, and some are bad, and even those that are good can end up as indulgences. But which are good and which are not depends upon their nature, and in the case of books, their actual contents. Those who make a case for the Christian morality in HP make good arguments and base them on the real books; those who say "Ooooh! Magic! Nasty!" make poor arguments out of ignorance. To speak the Spirit, you have to speak the truth.
So far I'm the only person who has actually read the book and posted a review. If anyone else would like to post an actual review of the book, I'd be interested in seeing it. The discussion of eldership is interesting in its own right but it ceased to have anything to do with HP almost immediately. The boilerplate disapproval isn't interesting, but predictable and not grounded in anything like reality. Anyone who thinks that HP is basically like Stephen King novels hasn't read both of them.