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Author Topic: Orthodox Christian View of Harry Potter  (Read 5656 times) Average Rating: 0
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sinjinsmythe
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« on: December 10, 2002, 07:05:19 PM »

I found this on Nick's ROCOR website and I thought that I would post the link here to the story.
http://www.rocorcafe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=83

AN ORTHODOX VIEW OF HARRY POTTER

FR ANDREW PHILLIPS

For some time now the entertainment media of the Western world have been obsessed with the immensely profitable adventures of the sorcerer's apprentice and schoolboy wizard Harry Potter.

Some Evangelical Protestants, with their usual lack of subtlety and culture, have condemned the whole phenomenon out of hand as 'Satanic'. Self-righteously they have snatched the books from the hands of innocent children who just wanted a 'good read'. This spiritual blindness has, as usual, done the cause of the Church no good, since secular people actually identify Evangelical Protestantism with the Church. Naturally, it is not of the Church, being a collection of Protestant sects. But even if it does not reflect the viewpoint of the Church, could it have a point?

Firstly, it has to be said that the author of these children's stories, J.K. Rowling, cannot be blamed. If you do not like the stories, then do not buy the books and do not watch the film. Do not shoot the messenger because you do not like the message. Blaming her for all evil is rather like Puritan moralisers who blame television programmes for all evil: the solutions are simple: a) we are not (yet) obliged to have a television in our homes, and, b) even if we do have one, they have 'off' buttons on them. Equally, if society had not taken to the Harry Potter books and nobody had bought them, they would have been pulped, and the film, with its tens of millions of dollars of profit, would not have existed. In other words, Rowling has simply filled a spiritual vacuum in society, meeting a social need.

And what a spiritual vacuum there is in contemporary Western society! Where can you go for spiritual food? To 'churches', full of happy-clappy modernists with their self-centred, man-pleasing, self-worship? Let us be frank, since the fall of the Catholic/Protestant world in the 1960's, it is now almost impossible to find spiritual food within those denominations. No wonder so many young people become 'New Agers', or shoe-bombing Sufi Muslims or join other Non-Christian sects or religions which actually believe in something (though often, not so much 'something' as 'anything'). We live in a spiritually gutless society. 'Magic', 'wizardry', what attractive words in the hollow heart of the spiritual void of present-day Western society!

Theologically, however, we should be careful. There are only two sorts of spirits, good or evil. There is no neutral.

Sooner or later Harry Potter could become a force for the good 'magic' of the Holy Spirit, through Christ, His Mother, the saints and the angels. But this is difficult because the 'magic' of the Holy Spirit is not involuntary, it requires our participation, our effort to improve ourselves. It is one thing for Potter apparently to fight evil, but what is the weapon he uses - magic spells? Where is the Name of Christ, so obviously underpinning the works of C.S. Lewis, or Tolkien?

Or else, indeed, Harry Potter will become a force for the evil 'magic' of the demons. And this is easy, because evil 'magic' does not require any effort on our part to better ourselves, it merely requires our passiveness before the face of evil, our placid acceptance of the work of demons. Spells in the name of the demon can work.

I am worried by the Harry Potter phenomenon, because it contains within it no specifically Christian symbols or message. It is the spirituality of the vacuum and, as such, it perfectly reflects and expresses the whole amorality and emptiness of contemporary Western life, degutted of all Orthodox, or even orthodox, Christian content. In conclusion: Beware; discern the spirits; by their fruits ye shall know them.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2002, 02:33:35 PM by sinjinsmythe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2002, 01:14:39 AM »

I dont think there's a problem with Harry Potter if children are explained that all is fantasy.

However, some of the symbols and things that appear in Harry's books, are clearly of masonic inspiration and could induce children to gradualy accept the teaching of freemasonry and its relationship with the world: the New World Order, the One World Religion.

Harry's world is a completely Pagan world, there's no place for Christ in his life, it is a life where God is totally abcent. The views of this book is totally consistent with the modern experience in Britain and the Western world. It is imposible to deny the probable connections between Harry's author and the "Wicca" Movement (a neo-pagan, masonic-inspired cult of celtic gods). Wicca is dangerous because it unites many faiths as the New World Religion.

The fourth tome of Harry fully reflects the relationship between Harry Potter and freemassonry: in it, there's a section dedicated to the sacrifice of a young boy, and rituals that are anti-christian and evil.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2002, 01:16:43 AM by Remie » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2002, 01:26:53 AM »

Taken from the Swiss magazine Alias, CP 71, 1950 Sion, Switzerland, by Father Niklaus Pfluger (latin author)

Who is Harry Potter?

Harry Potter is a young lad, eleven years old (he becomes a year older with each volume, thus growing along with his young readers), an orphan, raised by his relatives who mistreat him. His parents died in a car accident of which he survived, but was left with a scar, a cicatrice on the forehead, shaped like a bolt of lightning.

He later learned that his parents, renowned witches, had actually been assassinated by the wicked magician Voldemort (3) and that he himself was gifted with magical powers.

Fleeing the country of the Moldus - those who don’t have magical powers and who are looked down upon, he goes to receive training in a school of sorcery, somewhere in Scotland, where he becomes friends with a boy and girl who accompany him in all his adventures.

The central theme of tome 4 is an important magical contest organized by the three most prestigious schools of sorcery in Europe. Each school will be represented by its best student who must meet very precise criteria and will be “elected” by a goblet of fire to magical powers. However, to everyone’s stupefaction, the goblet of fire designated a fourth “elect” in the person of Harry, who, though he was a student with exceptional capabilities, did not meet the imposed criteria. This glorious feat threw the school in a state of turmoil: Treachery? Was it rigged? Was it a stroke of Voldemort? The powers of darkness?

 
The key to the success

What is the force that drags children, and adults (!), from their television sofas, from their electronic games, from their Internet, those of whom it is reputed can no longer read, and makes them literally pounce upon these books, the latest of which contained 700 pages, to breathlessly devoir them, after having waited in line for hours outside the bookstore?

One cannot be overly warned against these books. They are the means used by a genuine project of brainwashing, of which its principal victims are the children. This project is none other than one of the important plots of the revolution enforced by the New-Age.  

 There are some that come up with psychoanalytical explanations: The great myth of the child-god is coming back. Others have sociopolitical explanations: it’s a representation of the British society in the context of a magical world, a mirror offered to adolescents who recognize perfectly in themselves (in a “super-cool” language) the feelings of jealousy, envy, love-affairs and disputes, etc.) which justifies the study of this “piece of work” in college courses. Others, of the scholastic cultural symposiums, speak of the idea of an eventual return to the great literary tradition of fantastic classical tales.

It is claimed that we are once again dealing with the age-old battle between Good and Evil.

All praise “the wizard who reconciles adolescents through reading”. Unanimously, the story of Harry Potter is “adored and adopted” (4).

In any case, it appears that all the art of the author consists in wisely dosing out a subtle mixture of the material with the supernatural, the real with the unreal, the ancient with the modern, thus creating an extremely particular and strange climate which produces an irresistible seduction, a captivating fascination.

continue in next post
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2002, 01:28:58 AM »

The story “behind the scenes”

Such explanations, however accepted they may be, do not in reality clarify the phenomenon. Rather they conceal it.

And if by chance someone desires to give a more truthful explanation, immediately he is accused of incomprehension; the Tagepost, though a very reliable source, affirmed that “he didn’t understand” (5): “thoughts of esotericism or hidden interpretations are out of the question”. Wizards, magic, magicians have always had a part in worldwide classic tales. And even Rowling says that “love ends up in triumphing by force”.

Arguments such as these leave to obscurity (deliberately) an entire aspect of things, which thus veiled, conceal the dangers and the harmfulness transmitted and commonly developed throughout the stories of Harry Potter.

One cannot be overly warned against these books. They are the means used by a genuine project of brainwashing, of which its principal victims are the children. This project is none other than one of the important plots of the revolution enforced by the New-Age.

It becomes evident, in fact, if one proceeds to a critical reading of tome 4, that the spirit which reigns quite naturally, quite simply, as belonging to it, is a spirit which is entirely anti-Christian. It is also planted in receptive soil, the most fertile, basically that of children. Such success, with its stupefying dazzle, has no other explanation. We are confronted with the Empire of Darkness, with a world without God.

A few essential aspects of the world of Harry Potter demonstrate this.

 It is truly a pagan world, an anti-Christian world which is described all thoughout the story of Harry Potter. The world of sorcery, of magic and of esotericism is depicted and put forward to the imagination and the admiration of the reader as "a normal world". This world, which is that of Satan, is "facinating", - "...Because by your enchatments all the nations have been led astray..."(7).

A pagan world

Those who have not yet been taken in by the universal magic, the people Moldus, are by definition losers. Most of the time, they are depicted in a negative fashion, or are at least the objects of scornful pity and are very often ridiculed. However, Potter’s world of witchcraft is not completely exempt of  “old-fashioned” natural values and of Christian references. Ideas such as that of the family, father, mother, parents, faithfulness, friendship and even the spirit of sacrifice, of courage, etc., have there an important role. There is also mention of vacations at Christmas and Easter. Although in a magical setting, the numerous problems of actual life are introduced and developed. Thus, for example, the school suffers from a hostile gutter press, battles against racism and oppression, and is interested in democracy and solidarity. The world of the Moldus, representatives of the “olden days”, that is, the Christians, is entirely transposed into this pagan world of magic, totally cut off at its roots (from Christianity). The children do go to school, but to the school of the sorcerers. They are obliged to study and to pass important exams, of course not in math, or English or geography, but in subjects such as the science of the plants, of magical potions, the care of people under magic spells, divination, the history of wizardry, the science of metamorphosis, the knowledge of the language of serpents, the taming of dragons, etc.

Harry Potter absolutely cannot be compared to the classical tales, which, without exception, possess a real educative value, where the Good is always rewarded and the Bad is always punished.

In the absence of the true fight for the acquisition of virtues, abound all the vices and all kinds of evil. This explains the bad language of these adolescents, their crude and often vulgar expressions. Envy, jealousy, and revenge, but also hatred and the pleasure of killing form a part of this supernatural world and characterize its heroes. Thus, the “good” Harry could quite naturally wish all kinds of evil things on his teacher, whom he hates above everything else. He is seen to curse him and to eliminate him as he would a spider that he crushes and leaves to wriggle in agony. While crushing beetles, he imagines that each one of them has the face of his teacher. This is the “model”, the ideal, that is given to readers in the person of Potter. The teachers themselves are just as much liars, fakes, and hypocrites as their students. In the same chapter, Harry, foreseeing that his teacher plans to poison him, plans to defend himself by throwing a cooking-pot at his head, his “fat, greasy head”.

At this stage, it is evident that there is no longer a question of these books having “educative value”, “formation”, education in virtues!

 
Good and Evil

Because of the total rupture between the proposed values and the foundation in which they should normally take root, we have a reversed plot, a veritable inversion of its values. And this is why Harry Potter absolutely cannot be compared to the classical tales, which, without exception, possess a real educative value, where the Good is always rewarded and the Bad is always punished.

In the case which concerns us, there is indeed a battle between the Good and the Evil, that is, on the one hand, Harry, sorcery, the school directors, etc., and, on the other hand, Lord Voldemort and his bloodthirsty partisans, the necrophagous. But the Evil isn’t always conquered and the Good doesn’t win - except in appearance - and only by using evil methods. Everywhere one looks the Good, as well as the Evil, uses witchcraft, magic, as a means for combat.

Continue...
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2002, 01:29:34 AM »

Satan and his pomps

The goal of the education at the Poudlard School is neither beauty, nor truth, nor goodness. On the contrary, the subjects studied constantly, the ever-present topics are ugliness, vengeance and lies. For example, an entire passage gives the description of a repugnant plant, resembling a mollusk and having buboes filled with pus, which one must break open in order to gather with precaution their very precious contents and make of them a marvelous remedy. The details of the colors and the odors are described in minute detail. In another part there is most complacently depicted a monstrous creature, a sort of beast which is half toad and half octopus, without a mouth, but which must be fed (Harry asks himself how, - he has common senseGǪ) with ant eggs, frog livers, and pieces of snakes. These lessons of practical work take place in an atmosphere both malicious and nasty. The hideous dispute monstrously.

  In the 4th volume of Harry Potter the culminating point is an unequivocal description of a satanic rite which includes the death of a child, the profanation of the deceased in cemeteries, a bloody sacrifice and blasphemies.

 
White magic and black magic

Harry and his friends study different arts of witchcraft and we would like to humor her in letting ourselves be carried along by the author in this world of magic fantasy. Now we have men being changed into animals and vice-versa. And then we see, and this is not the most difficult, gold or delicious food made to appear. According to necessity, one can rejuvenate or age as one wishes. Teeth can grow according to ones desires, and of course they can also become more beautiful. With the magic cape one can become - or make others become - invisible, one can cover long distances in a few seconds (in case of car breakdown it’s the “magic command of car accidents” that intervenes). Letters and packages are distributed in the twinkling of an eye and those who make mistakes in their witchcraft appear immediately before the “Commission Against Bad Usage of Magic”, etc. etc.

As we can see, the imagination - the lunacy? has no bounds.

That is why these books are exactly the contrary of what one would call "inoffensive" or "recreational" books

 However, one discovers, dissimulated under what appears to be an inoffensive game, a spirit of seriousness, bloodthirsty and merciless, which shrinks from nothing in annihilating every rival. At the school and from the books of sorcery, the children learn the power of cursing and injuring one another. A professor teaches irreversible curses which assure a complete domination and an annihilation of the victim in an absolute sacrifice.

From esotericism to satanism

It may be nothing but an unsettling coincidence that this mortal curse is depicted exactly on page 666 (German edition). But it is not by chance that ugliness leads to hatred and hatred leads to death.

Who would dare to still speak of innocent games?

In the 4th volume of Harry Potter the culminating point is an unequivocal description of a satanic rite which includes the death of a child, the profanation of the deceased in cemeteries, a bloody sacrifice and blasphemies. Lord Voldemort, who personifies Satan, but who is never called anything but “You-know-who” (6), reunites his spirit with a human body, thus giving himself a new life. It is not appropriate to reproduce here the rite described. However, it can be affirmed that the formulas used in the rite are, without any possible doubt, formulas which are blasphemous and anti-Trinitarian and which claim to create life, to reproduce it and to copy it, imitating the divine act of creation in a diabolical manner.

Of course, the story shows Harry fighting against Voldemort; it is precisely this which permits the obscure and confused theories of “myth of the child-god” to be propagated, even though the Evil is never completely vanquished, but on the contrary is, in a subtle way, glorified.

Conclusion

It is truly a pagan world, an anti-Christian world which is described all throughout the story of Harry Potter. The world of sorcery, of magic and of esotericism is depicted and put forward to the imagination and to the admiration of the reader as “a normal world”. This world, which is that of Satan, is “fascinating”, - “GǪBecause by your enchantments all the nations have been led astrayGǪ” (7).

That is why these books are exactly the contrary of what one would call “inoffensive” or “recreational” books. It is strongly probable that the young readers (and the adults) do not understand clearly - and maybe not at all - the profound implications and the dangers that these works contain. However, the minds and the hearts are thereby prepared for a time when Satan will reign all-powerful, world-wide, and when, in appearance, he can no longer be conquered by Christ; for a time when the Moldus, the Christians, will no longer have the strength to fight against the Evil.

The author of the adventures of Harry Potter has in a certain manner acknowledged, declaring to a journalist of the London Times: “These books help the children to understand that this feeble and weak Son of God is nothing but a joke which still has nine lives, and that he will be humiliated, annihilated, at the coming of the deluge of fire.” (Cool

It is certainly not an exaggeration to affirm that those who conceive and organize the intense media hype which ensures the promotion of these books - the 4th volume came out just before Christmas, exactly at midnight - are perfectly informed of the underlying stakes involved and of the immense combat between Christ and Satan, and they know perfectly into which camp they have enlisted.

As for the Christian, he has gone with Christ.

At this point, it is evident that to differentiate oneself from this dangerous craze is not only a necessity, but also an act of testimony. - (Alias, December 16, 2000) "
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2002, 05:01:18 AM »

Hello my friends!
I agree with these Orthodox opinions and I would like to
underline that there is not white or black or ...green magic.
If someone uses magic and he is a real magician and not a fraud, he has collaboration with deamons, evil forces. satan is a monkey of Christ. Jesus makes miracles so satan makes
his fake "miracles", and this is magic. There is nothing true, nothing real. These things are all in the fantastic world, the world of devil. But do children understand these things?
We have incidents that children dressed up like the former
harry potter--Superman-- jumbed out from windows and were killed. I bring this example cause I would like to say that there is not only har. pot. but also Lord of the Rings,
or even 6th Sense, The others, The gift...Why dont we say anything about these films?Are these more serious?Ghosts, Dead people, Taros, fortunetellers... Are these according to
our Orthodox faith?
The evil forces have a program, are organised. They dont
give to the world all their satanic creations at once, but step by
step, little by little, so as to prepare the world.
Can we protect societies?Can we save the world?
NO. We can only protect our family, our friends, some
good souls, ourselves. Because this world makes all
the preparations, is waiting for the Antichrist.
So we will
see things that we dont even imagine. We must be prepared and strong.
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« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2002, 03:06:45 AM »

If, according to the orgingally posted ROCOR article, books like Harry Potter are filling some sort of spiritual vacuum in our post 60s and apparantly post Christian culture then where are the Orthodox likes of Lewis and Tolkien?

Is the writing in grenres of the fantastic discouranged among devout Orthodox Christians? Is fiction writing itself whatever the genre not well looked upon in modern Orthodox circles?

It would seem a reasonable answer to something like the Potter phenomena where its content is not considered appropriate for Christian consumption, would be for would be Orthodox novelists to be encouraged to write is this vein. Yet, I am not aware of any Orthodox fantacists of any literary stature.  

I've asked a couple Orthodox monks before about the need/desire for Orthodox fiction in the SFF realm and they did not think much of the idea. Suitible fiction literature with an Orthodox flavor died with Dostevsky. But then I've talked to a Matuska or two who are all for the idea. I don't know what to think.

I wonder if we will ever have someone of such Christian presence in the literature of the fantastic as were Lewis or Tolkien.  And even if we could I'm still not clear on whether we should.
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« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2002, 04:45:36 PM »

Well, who cares? Fiction is ultimately just that, fiction. I don't base my faith on the Gospel according to SS Tolkien or Lewis. I think we tend to read too much into fiction (especially the allegorical kind). Just sit back and enjoy whatever it is you're reading/watching! Supposedly Tolkien criticized Lewis for his overly allegorical fiction, but yet everyone claims LOTR as a sort of Christian work, filled with refrences to Christianity for those who have read them. There are most certainly evil books/movies that contain anti-Christian messages, but aside from those, I think we're all mature enough to realize that fiction is fiction.

In the Incarnate Lord,

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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2003, 04:42:10 PM »

If, according to the orgingally posted ROCOR article, books like Harry Potter are filling some sort of spiritual vacuum in our post 60s and apparantly post Christian culture then where are the Orthodox likes of Lewis and Tolkien?

Is the writing in grenres of the fantastic discouranged among devout Orthodox Christians? Is fiction writing itself whatever the genre not well looked upon in modern Orthodox circles?

It would seem a reasonable answer to something like the Potter phenomena where its content is not considered appropriate for Christian consumption, would be for would be Orthodox novelists to be encouraged to write is this vein. Yet, I am not aware of any Orthodox fantacists of any literary stature.  

I've asked a couple Orthodox monks before about the need/desire for Orthodox fiction in the SFF realm and they did not think much of the idea. Suitible fiction literature with an Orthodox flavor died with Dostevsky. But then I've talked to a Matuska or two who are all for the idea. I don't know what to think.

I wonder if we will ever have someone of such Christian presence in the literature of the fantastic as were Lewis or Tolkien.  And even if we could I'm still not clear on whether we should.

St. Herman's Press publishes a book called The Purple Mantle.  The book is a historical novel set in the Roman empire during the period of Diocletian.  That is the only piece of Orthodox fiction that I know of in English.  My guess is that there are other Orthodox flavored novels, but in languages other than English.
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2003, 12:20:20 AM »

Satan and his pomps

The goal of the education at the Poudlard School...

<rest snipped>

Poudlard?  The school in the books is "Hogwarts".  "Moldus"? is the writer referring to "Muggles"? Those are the non-magical people and not necessarily Christian (looking at some of the behavior) also not all of them are looked down upon and indeed are mostly scorned by the "Bad guys". I do not read German, but the book the article in "Alias" is discribing does not sound much like the English version. There seem to be a number of odd mistakes in the article posted, though some could be related to poor translation. However there is one out right urban legend/falsehood.  The purported quote from J.K. Rowling:

The author of the adventures of Harry Potter has in a certain manner acknowledged, declaring to a journalist of the London Times: “These books help the children to understand that this feeble and weak Son of God is nothing but a joke which still has nine lives, and that he will be humiliated, annihilated, at the coming of the deluge of fire.” (Cool

Is from a parody article in "The Onion" a satirical web publication.  She never said it. See http://www.snopes.com/humor/iftrue/potter.htm at the Snopes Urban Legend site.  

Another thing...the long article says the fourth book "came out just before Christmas, exactly at midnight " This is also incorrect at least in the US, England, nd other countries. It can be easily found that the book came out in July of 2000.  Yes, some stores sold it at midnight, just as many movie theaters had a first showing of "The Two Towers" at midnight on the day *it* was released.  The German release was some time before Christmas 2000 to go by this article
http://www.cesnur.org/recens/potter_074.htm which stated that the French publication was in late November 2000.

If one dislikes or disagrees with something, at least use real facts. One further quote:

"It may be nothing but an unsettling coincidence that this mortal curse is depicted exactly on page 666 (German edition). But it is not by chance that ugliness leads to hatred and hatred leads to death."

Re the page number, do we now leave out page 666 from lengthy works as some buildings omit Floor 13? :-
« Last Edit: January 07, 2003, 12:28:04 AM by Ebor » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2003, 08:33:36 PM »

Ladies and gentlemen,
Has it occurred to anyone that many of the evils decried herein occur in the stories as tell-tale signs of the bad guys? That Rowling has gone out of her way to advise the noble reader that what Voldemort does is bad, ought not to be done at home?  That Potter is a good guy because he does not want to sacrifice people?  Isn't anyone reading this book as a piece of British fiction?  
Take, for example, the mean Muggle, Mrs. Dursley.  I taught alongside her in another country and was charmed to see her rude priggishness captured perfectly, safely in the pages of a book I can put down.  Rowling lampoons typical British attitudes all throughout the novels in a thoroughly British tradition.  In fact, the secret to her fame in England may be that she is making fun of obnoxious attitudes that did not disappear under the withering commentaries of Dickens or Maughm.  When she is not ridiculing snobbish attitudes or castigating truly evil attitudes, she is poking fun at other frailties in all her characters.
Another point--there are too many to choose from in preceding posts--concerns the danger of children turning to magic a la mode Hogwarts.  My dear wife grades papers for schools.  Among the papers she scored was one whose student-author remarked that it had never occurred to her to try magic after reading Potter until she read editorials by people worrying that it would happen.  I hope that the Fundamentalists voicing those fears were not themselves responsible for that girl's possible decision to apply to Hogwarts, because it would be the mirror opposite of Calvin's theory of vessels of wrath.  
(The last point reminds me that an interest in Latin is taken by some as prima facie evidence as interest in witchcraft; speaking as a Latin teacher, I am enormously amused.  Nevertheless, people ought to know that Wiccans are displeased at the representation of _their_ business in Rowling's books, so do let's be careful speculating about Harry's usefulness to their cause.)
Finally, there is the issue of No Room For Religion.  Fantasy novels are usually not interested in religion per se, as they want to conduct all their business obliquely.  (My opinion is that fantasy simply continues the Homeric tradition with an evolving [No, I am not an evolutionist!] repertoire of literary devices and concerns, wonder being heavily emphasized throughout.)  But how many novels does one read in which all adventures and conflicts are brought to a satisfactory close by everyone's conversion to Orthdoxy and subsequent entrance into monasteries and convents?  Or have some of us already reached the point of the Puritans, who would not read fiction on religious grounds?  
Do any of Rowling's detractors understand what I am saying?  Hopefully, Daniel
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2003, 02:26:58 AM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
        It is a mute point to believe that Harry Potter is Orthdox Christianity, any more than it is to say that The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien or  the Chronicles of Narnia are Orthodox Christianity--they are not.  Their authors although  devout Anglicans or Roman Catholics  were not  Orthodox Christians of True belief. Do they have a message that is good?  Yes!
        While the Chronicles of Narnia become more and more openly an allegory of the christian message.  The Lord of the Rings  subtley reveals a similar tome. Good versus Evil.  In the end  through being true to each other and through inteventions of a force for good greater than themselves  truth and good triumph even though a price is often paid.
         In  the previous article it was noted "Sooner or later Harry Potter could become a force for the good 'magic' of the Holy Spirit, through Christ, His Mother, the saints and the angels. But this is difficult because the 'magic' of the Holy Spirit is not involuntary, it requires our participation, our effort to improve ourselves. It is one thing for Potter apparently to fight evil, but what is the weapon he uses - magic spells? Where is the Name of Christ, so obviously underpinning the works of C.S. Lewis, or Tolkien? "
          One of the interesting things posed in the second book and likewise in the movie was a particular point made by Professor Dumbledore to Harry when he saw the simularities between himself and the boy who became "Lord" Voldemort---both were born of a "muggle" background, Both were orphaned as infants, both, had remarkable skill, and yet they "CHOSE" differing paths---Voldemort chose the "win by any method" house of Slytherin with its romance with "dark" evil magic---Harry on the other hand chose "the loyal and honorable method" house of Griffinfdore, known for its loyalty to others , working for the good, and caring for those unable to protect themselves.  Dumbledore states that what makes the difference is the choices that we make to follow good or foolow evil. That is the difference. Once again we have the classic Good versus evil plot that made the stories of Narnia and the Ring so wonderful to their many readers.
      The reality is how to we process these three series with our children. Those of us with an Orthodox World view will use that view to process any of the three series of books thus making them a bridge for Orthodoxy.  As Harry Potter series is written to grow as the child grows in reading skill offers to many parents the unique aspect of putting an Orthdox filter that the child may then use to filter other books that they read.  In my grandson's case, it sped his reading ---he is reading 2 grades above his school level.  He has started to open other books, surprisingly enough, he loves to read his prayerbook now and uses it daily to pray (he is 7).
     As we process the Potter books, I present the  Orthodox  Christian World view.  He opens up and we have had many long discussions about God, the sacrifice of Christ, and our redemption as well as the fact that there is evil in the world that will attempt to tempt us. (In Book One and  Four---look at the  great Tempation of Harry to bring back his parents or to save his life by simply  following "Lord" Voldemort)
        As to the referred "sacrifice of a child" and desecration of the grave of Voldemort's Father, anyone  reading that chapter would see that it was evil rearing its head and seeking to destroy the good.  Harry was the child Voldemort tried to sacrifice and kill---Harry once again escaped--the Father of Lies (oops Voldemort Wink)was again revealed as not as powerful as good.
       In the end, I would say that Harry Potter can be as Orthodox as your own ability to use it to open the Orthodox World View to your children and grandchildren---if you are not up to that, I would leave it alone if I were you.

Your Brother in Christ,
Thomas Smiley

P.S.  The new book coming out this Summer uses the Phoenix, an ancient christian symbol of resurrection, as in its title "the Order of the Phoenix".  It has been let out that this order has a lot to do with those who fight the "Lord Voldemort"
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2003, 10:07:25 AM »

An excellent posting and analysis, Thomas. Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2003, 11:16:33 AM »

Orthodox radio show Come Receive The Light has this guest speaker on 2/8/03:

Topic : The Hidden Key to Harry Potter

Guest: John Granger

What is all the excitement about Harry Potter that has children of all ages mesmerized with the latest Harry Potter book and movie series out by J.K. Rowlings?

Author, John Granger tells us all in his newest book The Hidden Key to Harry Potter: Understanding the Meaning, Genius, and Popularity of Joanne Rowling's Harry Potter Novels. In The Hidden Key Granger delves into the deeper meanings of the Harry Potter stories and explains that these stories are actually Christian based rather than anti-Christian.

Granger has been lecturing and writing about the Potter phenomenon since 1999. The Hidden Key is "must" reading for Potterites, whatever their religious orientation. Be sure to tune in to this program as it is sure to be very intriguing and enlightening, especially for all those who have been curious about what is all the hype about Harry Potter.

Future programs can be found at  http://www.receive.org/indexnew.php?menu=1&submenu=2  on our website.
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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2003, 02:26:30 AM »

As far as why everyone's crazy about Harry, it must be admitted that Rowling's books are not great literature and may not even be good literature:  I would put them on about the level of Agatha Christie, so maybe we will be saying Dame Rowling someday.  Rowling has the three gifts in modest measure exhibited so extravagantly by Wodehouse (minus his brilliance with language):  characterization, satire and plot.  She excels Christie in one respect exactly by the possession (however fleeting) of  Longinian sublimity, which can impart to the reader the intuition of grandeur or greatness, of heights unsuspected, of nobility, accompanied by the desire to be noble oneself.  To some degree all genuine literature is capable of combining true intuition about life itself with sublimity.  More than that, I argue that it is not merely life that is intuited, but the whole fabric of our salvation that is truthfully spun out in tale.  Some literature focuses on the felicity of paradise (utopian literature, lots of sf and fantasy), others on the greatness of our fall (Dostoyevski), others on the natural virtues proper to man (Johnson's Prince Rasselas), others on the inevitability of our vices in a fallen world (Dickens, Maughm), others on the "madness and horror" of man-made paradise (Camus' absurdity), etc.  All moments of salvation from the beginning to heaven are possibly the only fit themes of great literature.  Minor literature fails to treat these great themes or does so in a trifling fashion.  I am inclined to put Rowling in the Johnson category of moralizing literature, although she like Christie tends to excel more at writing techniques than at the themes of the same.  My family is listening to Rowling on audio (read by the British fellow--Jim Dale) while I am reading Solzhenityn's second knot of the Red Wheet; let me say that the contrast is staggering!  But it is truly staggering the venom Rowling has stirred up in some circles--chiefly perhaps in those whose members have a need to see the devil behind every bush in order for their lives to have any meaning and never in our own hearts, where he dwells tranquilly, swinging his legs at leisure and without disturbance.  Surely we Orthodox do not need to hanker after conspiracies to feel that jolt of hormones as our reward (does anybody remember the respect enjoyed by the Protocols)?  Cheers, Daniel
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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2003, 02:23:14 PM »

I don't think that the "Harry Potter" are meant to be Great Literature(tm), but then again, has anyone tried getting a 8 year old boy to read many of the great books?  

There's such a thing as age appropriate.  I could try to read Dostoyevsky or "Bleak House" to my children (all under 11) and I predict that they would be bored, cubed and squared, and then what has been accomplished?  Right now, along with other books we are over half way through "The Lord of the Rings" and they like it.  It has seized their imaginations.  It has given us places to talk about mercy and Good and Evil and redemption (the death of Boromir for example).  And in "Harry Potter" there is the same.  It also helps that the main characters in HP are children, albeit older then mine. That holds their interest, just as it has in many good children's books: The "Green Knowe" books, Edward Eager stories, Narnia, E. Nesbit's works, etc, etc.

I also offer as my not so humble opinion that compared with a number of series and single books for children and young teens these books are Good Literature.  There is alot of schlock and drivel out there.  Some has to "Teach A Lesson" without subtlety but by beating the reader over the head and explaining it all in place of the writing rule "Show, don't tell".  Or they are just bad, bad writing, bad characters, bad plots.  I'll take "Harry Potter" over "Goosebumps" any day as a way to get children and especially boys to get used to reading so that they will keep at it as they get older.

Ebor
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« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2003, 05:57:50 PM »

Sorry.  You are right to bring the question of audience to the fore.  Speaking as a Latin teacher, I have drawn a great deal of umbrage to myself for not having students read the Roman Greatsin Latin--I have had them read Winnie Ille Pu, Roman graffiti, ghost and werewolf stories etc.  My rationale is that a 16-year-old is more likely to work through a Latin text in order to find out what happened to the werewolf than he is to find out what Cicero said next.  I really do believe that literature written by grown-ups for grown-ups is best read by grown-ups, at least as far as foreign languages are concerned.  Also, I had forgotten that students read anything beneath Agatha Christie!  Of course Harry Potter is far superior to the non-literature like Goosebumps, and what for me is fairly amusing is simply gripping for my young son and the first training in sense and sensibility to boot.

I have been thinking some more about the first "Orthodox" view of Harry Potter.  What bothers me the most is just the high-pitched panic and pallor propagated by people shrieking about the Masons, brainwashing, “myth of the child-god” etc.  The same panic and pallor are equally demonstrated by intolerant Muslims on the jihad-path (so to speak), by intolerant Fundamentalists ranting about the end-times, by chicken-littles whining about the impending Y2K meltdown.  In short, I think that there is some truth to the psychology of the "True Believer," the sort of person who, whatever his exact mental location, is not happy unless he is all shook up about something in a fine, fanatical fashion.  Harry Potter, on my interpretation, is simply the lightning rod catching the contumely of True Believer Orthodox.  (Does anyone remember who captured the identity of the True Believer?)  It is interesting to speculate what the author of this thesis would say of Orthodox saints, who are disparaging of their own efforts, hard on themselves, easy-going on others and generally cheerful, when not downright merry, as occasion allows.  It threw me for a loop when I read about St. Nektary of Optina reading Rider Haggard's "She" and drawing from it instructions on the Jesus prayer!  But why should St. Nektary assume that everything written outside the monastery is diabolical?  Why should we?  Regards to all and sundry, particularly sundry--Daniel
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« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2003, 09:16:22 PM »

I apologize, Daniel, if my last post sounded like I was taking umbrage.  I did not mean any upset directed at you.  Along with Winnie Ile Pu, "The House on Pooh Corner" has been translated into Latin as well as "Alicia in Terra Mirabili". Smiley There are probably some children/young people who would be engrossed in Julius Ceasar's writings or Seneca in the original, but others won't.  That is excellent that you offer books that will catch their interest. There are werewolf stories in Latin?  Original or modern ones translated?  Either way that's very interesting.  I must confess to owning both of Henry Beard's books of modern phrases translated into Latin for the sheer fun of it.

Even before my children were born, I had a collection of Children's literature and I know some authors. There is a lot of it out there, much that is good, but also painfully bad.

"The True Believer" is a book by Eric Hoffer. Do I win?  Grin I think that you're on to something with the TB mind set.  I have noticed some rants against Harry Potter by people who say they've never read the book and never will.  Then *how* do they know what is actually in the books?  They don't, but they've been told.  

I had never heard about the Optina saint reading Haggard.  That's excellent!

Respects and Reading,

Ebor
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« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2003, 10:02:40 PM »

Nah, it was the Latinists who were hopping up and down with umbrage.  Thanks for reminding me of Eric Hoffman's name--I wanted to say it was Abbie Hoffman but could not bring myself to do it.  The werewolf and ghost stories are ancient; they are interesting because a number of persistent themes in this genre first surface in them (dragging chains, e.g., due to the fact that the ghost was that of a slave).  The first Potter book is supposed to be translated into Latin, so some day fans will have that pleasure in my class.  Cheers, Daniel
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« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2003, 12:19:33 AM »

Daniel Sunuiprachu<< The first Potter book is supposed to be translated into Latin, so some day fans will have that pleasure in my class. >>

Aha!  That must be the real reason the Vatican has just approved the Harry Potter books for Roman Catholics!  Tongue
(In all seriousness, the Vatican approved the books because of the dichotomy between good and evil in the Potter series.)

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« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2003, 05:57:50 PM »

Eric Hoffer to Abbie Hoffman... very different!  Grin

I don't suppose that the ancient stories you mention were ever translated into English.  I regret to say that my Latin is of a most rudimentary sort.  They stopped teaching it the year before I started High School and started again after I graduated.  And just how do you translate Ron Weesley into latin?   Smiley

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« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2003, 03:05:41 PM »

Q. "And just how do you translate Ron Weesley into latin?  "



A. Ran Visli
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« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2003, 03:08:54 PM »

ackshully, a famous general's phrase --

"Veni, Vidi, Visli"

has NEVER been accurately translated into Koine Greek!

(Vernacular renditions woerfully stopped short at :

.

.



"Yo!  Ron!  HowzitGOIN?"

.

.


but their accuracy can neither be confirmed or denied... )Cry
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« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2003, 05:16:49 PM »

Thank you, Habakkuk3.  Smiley

Any ideas on: Gilderoy Lockhart or Diagon Alley?

Ebor
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« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2003, 09:10:09 PM »

The approach by neo-Latinists is typically to resort to semantic-sphere-substitutes.  E.g., the couple that translated the Grinch used Laeluli (the joyful ones) to translate the Whos.  But I would expect Ron W. to remain as it was in the English (following medieval precedent).
Dan
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« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2003, 11:17:45 PM »

Ah. Thank you for explaining that, Daniel.  Are any of the ancient ghost stories available in English?  

Ebor
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« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2003, 05:08:55 PM »

I have not read all the posts to this topic (shame on me), but I have read all of the Harry Potter books.

I enjoyed them. I could not find anything inherently evil about them, although I am not completely comfortable with the whole witchcraft/wizardry thing.

They are entertaining, but that's about it. I think that was all they were meant to be.

There is a strong contrast between good and evil in the books which makes them suitable for kids, as long as the kids understand that HP is fantasy.

I probably like HP more now that I know the Fundies have condemned the series. If they are down on it, it must be good!

Seriously, though, they are not wrong about everything . . .

Are they?

I think they were right about something . . . once . . .

I just can't remember what it was.
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« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2003, 09:09:41 PM »

Dear Ebor,
I am so sorry about the ghost stories.  Please email me at stporfiri@cs.com so I can remember to ferry the said books home and translate them into English--no chore at all, since they are short and easy (for me).  Cheers, Daniel

Dear Linus,
As far as the wizard/witch thing is concerned, keep in mind that the ability to do magical things is strictly genetic in HP:  you are born with it or not.  Recall the episode in the wand-shop:  you and I would wave every wand in the shop to no avail.  Had magical ability been something that you and I could in the context of the story acquire, things would be very different indeed; it would be like Frodo using the Ring for power.  And we all know where the Ringwraiths came from:  Hogwarts rejects who destroyed themselves in their lust for power.  I also think Galadriel's explanation to Sam about her "magic" is appropriate.  Sam could no more acquire Elvish magic intrinsically than a rock can acquire vision.    
Also, keep in mind that Rowling is using the wizarding world as a satirical mirror:  silly things which we do every day seem so much funnier when wizards do them.  In this sense, without being nearly as deep or convincing, HP is part of the grand English tradition instanced by Gulliver's Travels.  In particular, she is spoofing English mores (e.g., the obsession with respectability, which is an obsession whose frequency in literature I never understood until I taught alongside British myself).
Cheers, Dan
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« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2003, 10:01:03 PM »

The respectibility issue is present in both the "muggle" and "wizarding" families.  The Dursleys want no magic in the family while the Malfoys sneer and despise any hint of muggle (referring to those not of 'pure' wizard lines as mud-bloods).  Harry has friends from both worlds and is in the middle of the 2 extremes.  

There are little jests at things like British sweets (chocolate frogs "They only have one good jump in them.") and the whole private school world like the list of items required, the measuring for school uniforms (in this case the robes), the precise fussiness of Mr. Ollivander in the wand shop who remembers Harry's parents and their first wands and the technical aspects of each one.  

That is an interesting thought parallelling HP with LotR. I must think on that more before I can contribute.

Ebor
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« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2003, 11:35:56 AM »

Salvete!
Last night as my family was (American usage)/were (British usage) listening to HP, Lord V. stated as his objective immortality.  I do not believe that it is possible for a bad guy to draw a deeper, darker line separating himself from everybody else.  Didn't the curse of the One Ring involve just this issue?  I am certain I have read that the men who became Ringwraiths also sought immortality.  Naturally, Adam and Eve sought to become as gods on their own terms.
The only other persons who sought to enjoy this trip in HP was a couple who voluntarily relinquished the philosopher's stone which conferred it on them; after living for hundreds of years, they were ready to put their affairs in order.  As it happens, this renunciation of a man-made extension of life was interpreted by certain fanatical individuals as suicide.
Cheers, Dan
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« Reply #30 on: February 27, 2003, 09:20:50 PM »

Dear Daniel,

Thank you for the offer to translate the stories.  

That is an interesting point about the desire for immortality.  I do not remember anything about the Nazgul wanting immortality. I'll have to look it up.  In the movie prologue Galadriel refers to men as "who above all desire power."  The power over death could apply here.  Of course, the possession of the One Ring gives an extension of life to lesser beings, but it is wearisome after a time.  Bilbo feels "All thin and stretched." Gollum may have had the Ring for 500 hundred years, but they were mostly in deep caves with raw fish to eat and no Joy.  

Regarding Nicholas Flaumel in HP and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone.  One difference is that I get the impression of Mr. Flaumel as a sort of academic researcher alchemist.  He's studying and working on it for scientific reasons and not for the focused purpose of immortality.  When he finally makes the stone he and his wife just potter along cheerfully enjoying the pleasent things rather then clutching at not dying.  Sort of like:
 
"Oh, look, darling. I had a jolly good day in the laboratory today and finally made the Philosophers Stone."  

"My Dear! I'm so glad for you. I know you've been working on it simply for ages.  Isn't it lovely!."

"Yes, and it does some wonderful things like change things to gold and makes the Elixir of Life. That means that we can afford that trip to Spain that we've always wanted.  And we'll be able to enjoy the great-great grandchildren and really have time to get the garden just right!"

So when it is seen that the Philosopher's Stone is too dangerous to have about, (even in the safest bank in the world) due to being used for Evil, the Flaumels can let go of life gracefully since they did not concentrate on mere existance rather then living Life.

Whereas Voldamort is set on being immortal and also the One In Control.  I am suddenly reminded of "The Screwtape Letters" and how the stronger consume and live off of the weaker. I'm not sure where that thought will go, but we'll see.

Ebor
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« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2003, 01:34:56 AM »

As far as I know no one sought any of the magic rings for immortality.  The orignal rings were made by the Elves to help them protect their lands.  When Sauron made the lesser rings of power, he gave them to men and dwarves so that they would be ensnared after he revealed the One Ring.  The kings of men who wore the rings were easily ensnared, but as the dwarves desired riches over power, their rings never turned them towards Sauron.  After a while, most of the Dwarven rings were lost or destroyed.  

As far as the One Ring, Sauron imbued it with a large portion of his power so that it would magnify his natural power.  As a Maiar, he is naturally immortal.  Since the ring has a great deal of power from an immortal, it makes sense that the ring would prolong the life of the wearer, but at a cost.
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« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2003, 12:45:57 AM »

You are right about the One Ring.  What I was recalling dimly was a passage in "Of the Rings of Power . . . ," in which it is said that "those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old.  They obtained glory and great
wealth, yet it turned to their undoing.  They had, as it seemed, unending life, yet life became unendurable to them."  The Three Rings "could ward off the decays of time and postpone the weariness of the world."  Voldemort also has as his aim immortality as well
as power, which reminds me again of Tolkien's remark that the dark side of the Elvish folk in Middle Earth was their position of obvious superiority to the mortal folks (and the Moriquendi).  Dan
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« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2003, 08:41:53 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ! Smiley

Have any of you been able to  Read a recent book by an Orthodox writer, John Granger called "The Hidden Key to Harry Potter"? The book's premise is that J. K. Rowlings has written "the most charming and challengiong  Christian fiction for children since Lewis' CHRONICLES OF NARNIA.  'The Hidden Key" demonstates that all the Potter books teach Christian soctrine, sometimes with subtlety, often boldly - in their plot, imagery, and character development."

For an Orthodox Christian there are several references by classic Christian and modern Orthodox Christian writers. In his preface he particularly thanks presbyterva Frederica Matthews-Green for her assistance and direction.

I am about 1/2 through the book but have been very excited by this Orthodox world view on Harry Potter being given.  If you get an opportunity, the book is available through Zossima Press  231 S. 7th Street, Port Hadlock, WA  98339 or by e-maili at www:john@zossima.com

I would enjoy others comments after they have read the book. May you all have a blessed and Holy Great Lent!

Your brother in Christ,
Thomas
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« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2003, 12:21:31 AM »

I had not heard of this book. Thank you for the reference.

Ebor
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