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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2003 7:40 pm 
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I would just like to add a little bit to the idea of the increase in witchcraft and cults.........
I am a fairly devout Christian, and I love the Harry Potter books. I believe anything that inspires imagination in children is excellent. I teach sunday school classes at my church, and have heard many of the children talking excitedly of the books. They all realize that the novels are fiction, and none of them have mentioned a desire to join a cult. One second grade girl in particular told me that ever since she started the first book, she realized how much fun reading can be, and has since stopped watching television, and has begun to indulge in many different genres. I think, with their fast moving plots (although slightly repetetive or cliche), the Harry Potter books make a very enjoyable light read. I find it hard to believe that anything which causes children to want to read could be bad.

The one problem I have with the books, however, is how much Rowling has incorporated violence. In a series initally intended for children, there is quite a surprising amount of talk of killing people, and some rather gruesome curses. I believe the same quality novel could be achieved without quite so much bloodshed and brutality.

Just for the record, I have read each of the books, and seen each of the movies, and would recomend them to anyone!


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 Post subject: Potter or Piddler?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 9:30 am 
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Want to spend your dough wisely? To leave fruitless illusions and impractical fantasies to daydreamers? To get real and to think in terms of true emotions? Then look at Piddler on the Hoof by SI Fishgal (PublishAmerica Inc)- history through the potent fiction, entertaining, capturing, inspiring.
http://piddler-on-the-hoof.8m.com/
The derisive living truth and death emotionally awake a Jewish preschooler in the Red Army's Rearguard during the WW2.
"Damn good soul teaser," wrote a Barnes & Noble's reviewer. "No fruitless illusions, impractical fantasies and daydreamers. It's life, death, humor and true emotions. Coolest book on hottest topics, rich, vivid, fascinating, stimulating and gripping novel."


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2003 6:15 pm 
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Ok, so here goes a fan's opinion:

When I read the first book, Pottermania hadn't been created yet (in my country that is), and it was very frustating how I couldn't find anyone to talk about it, because I was immediatelly hooked. I have always been a fan of Literature, and I've read adult books since my teens, but that didn't stop me from falling in love with the books.
Yes, the story line of the first book is childish, but that's how it's supposed to be. The books are told from Harry's PoV, and as he gets older, the story becames more dark.

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The one problem I have with the books, however, is how much Rowling has incorporated violence. In a series initally intended for children, there is quite a surprising amount of talk of killing people, and some rather gruesome curses. I believe the same quality novel could be achieved without quite so much bloodshed and brutality.


Well, the problem is that, as Rowling said herself, they weren't intended for children - and she did say (before the 4th book came out) that the series would be darker, and that parents should choose if they wanted their kids to read it. All the "bloodshed and brutality" were planned before the first book came out and if you think it's too much - well, that's only the beginning, really.

I know very well that Harry Potter is way behind the level of (like someone mentioned) Wuthering Heigts - wich has a special place in my bookshelf - but I still find myself waiting inpatiently for the next book. One of the things that are great about the book are the characters. You can't deny that Rowling does a wonderful job at creating them. They are all very real and interesting and it's really hard to pick your favorite. They are all important, you won't find one that is disposable. The only bad part of that, of course, is when your favorite character dies when you least expected them to.

And my favorite book have always been and it is always will be "Prisioner of Azkaban" - the 3th. Besides intriducing the two most loveable and intriguing characters in all the series, this is the "grow up" book. In the first there's light trouble and a happy ending, in the second, there's some dark trouble and a character nearly dies, but it all ends well.
In the third, it all goes to hell. Unllike the others, this book in much more dark ever since the beginnig, the "danger" is a lot worse and there's no happy ending - quite the contrary. ( on side note one of my favorite books is The Count Of Monte Cristo - guess I have a thing for vengeance)

I do not, however, reccomend the movies.They completely ruined the story line and some actors also managed to destroy their characters. As far the whole witchcraft goes, you will find that no one in the Harry Potter fandon cares about that - it's very often taken as a joke that everyone has had enough.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:08 pm 
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You can't deny that Rowling does a wonderful job at creating them. They are all very real and interesting

But of course I will seek to deny you. Rowling creates a nice plot but fails to immerse the reader into her world; so that we are always on the outside looking in, and it is this thouroughbred fantasy that prevents any emotional attachment to Harry and co. at any point. This is not a series that is moving in any way, aside from the childish feel for adventure and heroism.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 12:22 pm 
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Fish Are Quick wrote:
But of course I will seek to deny you. Rowling creates a nice plot but fails to immerse the reader into her world; so that we are always on the outside looking in, and it is this thouroughbred fantasy that prevents any emotional attachment to Harry and co. at any point. This is not a series that is moving in any way, aside from the childish feel for adventure and heroism.


I am a huge Harry Potter fan, I won't deny that, but you said that there is no emotional connection and that JKR fails to bring us into her world. I have to say that I completely disagree with you. When reading any story you come to like a character or any number of characters. So when something happens to that character or characters, you feel for them, whether it be anger, sadness, happiness etc.

Secondly, she does a great job with her characterizations of people. Even though the books are long, if one paid attention to JKR's style, they would see that every word she writes is important, whether it be communicating a theme or foreshadowing, no words are wasted and you really get to know the characters.

Thirdly, unless you completely missed the plot (which would be very hard to do), you would notice that it is moving, and like I said above, every part is needed so you can't really criticize a book for length if you don't know that. So some points may be slow, but if you go back after reading everything, you'd realize just how important it all is to the ending. That being said, I'm sure if someone in here actually read all the books from the first book to seventh book (once it and the sixth one come out) and then reread it again, you'd see the importance of every word and page. Criticize how you like, but with such a complex plot, length is important. Hey, for us HP fans out there, we're not complaining about the length - the more HP the better.

Fourthly, she may write on "childish heroism" but it's much more than that. She also writes on prejudice, want vs. need, destiny vs. choice, and "shades" of evil plus many other things. Not all of the evils she writes about are black and white. You could say Voldemort is a clear cut evil, but with Dumbledore pitying him and his beliefs are not so clear cut. Power is not an evil, but too much is and that's what JKR is communicating to the reader. You could say that it's "childish heroism" but standing up against something evil for what you believe is right - whether it be prejudice, corruptive power, or a man out to kill - sounds like a mature heroism to me.

Lastly, on the topic of witchcraft, I have to say that it's completely absurd. Like someone said, what about other books that portray magic? What about the witch costumes on Halloween? Surely those costumes will turn our innocent youth over to Satan :roll: We're talking about a book that people of all ages love, not a guide to witchcraft. Children, although small, still have their own opinions and ideas and they do have a working brain! Take me, I'm a teenager, I'm at an influential time in my life, I'm fascinated with magic, but I would never go off and try it and I started reading these when I was nine. To be frank, thinking that children will run off to try witchcraft themselves is crazy. Sometimes, people fail to remember that children have a mind of their own and aren't as stupid as people make them out to be.

I think censorship, no matter what, is wrong. The person banning is thinking about what he or she thinks of the book, not what others think. But let's not get on that topic :)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 1:25 pm 
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I disagree with the generalization that JKR fails to immerse the reader into her world. It's all about the reader and how said reader reacts to the books. I, myself, am an adult. Married with a child and a full-time job and strong family bonds, nothing strange about me. But I enjoy the books more than my son because he is too young to really understand them.

When I read a Harry Potter book, I am in the book. I see Hogwarts through Harry's eyes. I walk the halls with him and Hermione and Ron. I am in the Potions classroom with Professor Snape. I am flying on his Firebolt, looking for the golden snitch. And I am with Harry when he is all alone wishing his life wasn't so difficult.

JKR is a very descriptive author. So, I know that Ron looks very little like the actor who plays him. And Hermione is not as pretty as the actress who plays her. I also know what a Hippogriff looks like, even though it is not real. It not all about moving staircases and pictures. When I can actually feel the frustration and anger Harry feels, so much that he is shaking from it--I can truly appreciate the author's talent.

For me, the books are for children and adults both--but in different ways. That is the true beauty of the books. Children can read it and understand it. Adults can appreciate the mythology, irony, and ultimate life-lessons behind it. Would a child suspect that a character named Remus to be a werewolf simply because of his name? Would a child laugh at the irony that Hermione was petrified because a Shakespearan character also named Hermione was turned to stone? Would a child understand the symbolism of a hippogriff? Or why Harry's best friend is named Ronald? Or that the conflict between pure-bloods and muggleborns parellels Nazi Germany? I could go on, but I think you get my point.

As for the whole "satanist" issue. It is no more damning than "Bewitched", "I Dream of Jennie", "Aladdin", "Snow White", "MacBeth", etc... If you are true to your own faith, a book is not going to change that. As for turning kids onto withcraft--if parents teach their kids about the difference between real and fantasy and right and wrong--there shouldn't be a problem. Parents should have faith in their own abilities and teachings about morality. And if they don't--don't let their children read it. Simple as that.

My favorite Harry Potter book is "Prisoner of Azkaban" (Book 3) for various reasons. Most of which have to do with the lessons learned in the book. It is the turning point in the Harry Potter series so far.

As for the other questions about how it has affected the outside world. Well, I maybe selfish in this, but I read the books for my own enjoyment--including the fact that I don't have to worry about the outside world while doing it.

Edited to compliment OliviaFrost on her wonderful, well-thought out post. I completely agree with you.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 1:51 pm 
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I bought the book collection for my daughter for Christmas. I have not read the books but I have seen two of the movies.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 7:07 pm 
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Quote:
I actually had a big problem with the theme. Being a Catholic, I despise the idea that there's a school for witchcraft out there (even in the fictional world, although I know that Rowling's not the first one to actually come up with this idea). Be that as it may, I am slightly hypocritical to the subject, as I am currently writing a manuscript that deals with Elemental magery and magicks... It's very odd, the way I feel about this topic... sometimes I actually enjoy a story about magery and about magic (like, Mercedes Lackeye -spelling?- with 'The Chrome Born' or Terry Brooks's "The Elf Queen of Shanaria") Other times, the thought of reading a book on magic (such as Harry Potter) sends chills up my spine. Wierd, eh?



Trix <><
[/quote]
I’m not sure you understood the theme from the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The theme was not ‘Go be a wizard. Do magic!’ The theme was that the love of Harry’s mother saved his life. On a bigger scale, the theme was: love saves lives. I fail to see how a Christian would have trouble with this theme. And while I’m on the subject of Christianity and Harry Potter, I would implore you to read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (the second book) and try to tell me that JKR is not writing Christian themes in her book. Harry saves a young girl from a serpent (Satan) with the help of phoenix (a phoenix is a bird that rises from the ashes, very often associated with Jesus). Throughout all of the Harry Potter books, JKR talks of love, forgiveness, hope, the afterlife – all things Christians believe in.

I am disappointed when people read books and only look at them at face value. Sure, these are children's books, and can - for a child - be read as just a fun advenure. But children gobble them up for a reason: they relate to the characters. And they learn something. JKR believes that children are smart, and she writes her stories knowing children can handle much more than most of us give them credit for. As an adlut, and one who reads adult fiction, these stories are so much more than just a good adventure (although they are that!). They have universal themes and are both touching and funny. They are rich in Mythology and Folklore.

Miss Rowling was a Classics major. She loves languages and playing with words. Go through and pick out how many names she throws in, in a seemingly casual manner, that give depth to her characters and show more about their personality.
http://www.sugarquill.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=4940
Here is a link to a forum discussing names in Harry Potter. It’s at Sugarquill.net, a site dedicated to Harry Potter. It shows just how much research goes into the books.

The Harry Potter world is one that both children and adults can enjoy. JKR has created a wonderful world full of believable characters with flaws and hopes and dreams. She is a very talented writer. To read her work is to look at a world full of mystery and excitement through the eyes of a boy who has problems, like every other child (or adult) in the world. And we watch him deal with these problems in a believable manner. She has created a group of stories that I will read over and over again, always taking something more away with me.

Jen


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2003 8:41 am 
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Dear OliviaFrost,

Quote:
When reading any story you come to like a character or any number of characters. So when something happens to that character or characters, you feel for them, whether it be anger, sadness, happiness etc.


I grant that every novel must have some charicature connection with the reader otherwise they'd be completly blank. But I think Rowling is bound by the very people she is writing for, in way of what she can allow herself to portray. What I mean to say is that we do not expect extreme acts or more mature themes to run through the series because it is <I>primarily</i> written for children. In this way we can assume that certain things will happen, Harry Potter will survive at least to book 7, as will Hermoine and Ron because let's face it they are probably the most important characters. I can't judge the 5th book in terms of tragedy and feeling so that aside, perhaps you'd care to highlight instances where you are particularly emotionally evoked.

Rowling's characterizations are adequate, they are by no means extravagent, perhaps because her language is less rich than other writers, but I do not know Harry as well as I know Roquentin for example, or Roark, Moriarty, Winston etc.

Quote:
Thirdly, unless you completely missed the plot (which would be very hard to do), you would notice that it is moving,


I recognize it to be moving, only in the sense that it is readable.

On the contrary I meant childish heroism to be more of a compliment that a damnation. What you described is exactly what I mean, ethics at a very basic level.

the dreamer,

Perhaps what I'm trying to say, is HP is a nice book, but it cannot match what we refer to as the classics. There nice touches, that adults can appreciate such as those that you have mentioned, but wouldn't it perhaps be nice that the depth of these subtle ironies extend itself to the characters thoughts and descriptions, of course this would make it into a more adult book, but isn't that what I have argued all the time?

Every book, I read selfishly but always with considerations for the external world, to read... to learn.

As for the matter of satanism in Harry Potter, I whole heartedly agree with you.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2004 8:46 pm 
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Wow, FAQ.... you have spoken well, and in most instances I agree with you, as I do when you say:

Quote:
HP is a nice book, but it cannot match what we refer to as the classics. There nice touches, that adults can appreciate such as those that you have mentioned, but wouldn't it perhaps be nice that the depth of these subtle ironies extend itself to the characters thoughts and descriptions, of course this would make it into a more adult book


This series of books deserves to be judged on its own merits, within its own class of literature....in this case, the class is "children's literature." As a book written for children. the HP series excels...as evidenced by the response of its target readership.
Quote:
I do not know Harry as well as I know Roquentin for example, or Roark, Moriarty, Winston etc
But, FAQ, do today's preadolescents know Harry and Hermione as well as you and I knew Encyclopedia Brown, the Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew?? I'm betting they do.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2004 2:45 pm 
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Quote:
But, FAQ, do today's preadolescents know Harry and Hermione as well as you and I knew Encyclopedia Brown, the Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew?? I'm betting they do.


Oh, I'm betting they do too, what with all the extra merchandise like quiz books you can purchase, I wouldn't even be surprised if someone could quote from memory the whole book, because it is that kind of craze. I could tell you quite a lot about The Hardy Boys, but that comparison is not the same as the characters I mentioned in my quote. There's simply not the depth there, with the aforementioned: I feel as if I know them so well that I know how they will behave in any given circumstance, not because of a predictability in their illustration but the volume and detail to each, that transcends towards a whole philosophy.

[/i]

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2004 9:33 am 
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Oh, I'm betting they do too, what with all the extra merchandise like quiz books you can purchase, I wouldn't even be surprised if someone could quote from memory the whole book, because it is that kind of craze
.

What you have to understand is that this "kind of craze" did not start with the first book, and not everyone who reads the books does it because of merchandise, but merely because they like it, as impossible as that may seem to you. And it's very common, when something becames so popular as HP did, for people to start dissmising it as thougth it's not worth anything.

Quote:
I feel as if I know them so well that I know how they will behave in any given circumstance, not because of a predictability in their illustration but the volume and detail to each, that transcends towards a whole philosophy.


:) Curiously enough, many people have used that same sentence to explain why they like HP so much.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2004 9:55 am 
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Dear Fogichina,

Quote:
What you have to understand is that this "kind of craze" did not start with the first book, and not everyone who reads the books does it because of merchandise, but merely because they like it, as impossible as that may seem to you.


Ahh, I think you misinterpretted what I was trying to assert, Harry Potter is definetly a craze, one can hardly deny that, but my reference to the thousands of other merchandise produced was only to prove that fans are likely to know Miss Rowling's characters as I am likely to know The Hardy Boys for example. I never insinuated that people will read the book after seeing the merchandise or the film and I never assumed that the craze started from the first book, albeit from the offset critical reviews were very much in favour of Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone. Furthermore, simply because I have professed to not enjoying the series, doesn't mean I can have no comprehension of it's appeal, as I have already stressed, even from my point of view I find it to be readable.

Quote:
And it's very common, when something becames so popular as HP did, for people to start dissmising it as thougth it's not worth anything.


I am anything but a non-conformist sir, I do not simply dislike Harry Potter irrationally or without reason, infact I'm not "dismissing" it from being a very sucessful series which has obviously infleunced children and adults alike, but as great novels.

Quote:
Curiously enough, many people have used that same sentence to explain why they like HP so much.


Is there an underlying philosophy I've missed in Harry Potter, if so, would you care to direct me?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:17 am 
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Laura has read all of the Harry Potter books. I haven't read them because I lack the suspension of disbelief to allow me to enjoy anything in the Fantasy genre.* But I greatly approve of them.

I went to the local Walmart at 1 AM to pick up a copy of the fifth book for Laura, and there was a <i>mob</i> of people waiting. Children, teenagers, adults. There were costumes, and it wasn't just the children wearing them.

It was all quite scary and I was inclined to scoff at the whole spectacle, until I realized something: there were mobs of children and teenagers standing in line for hours for <i>a book!</i> Not a movie or a concert, but a good old-fashioned literary <i>book</i>, and not a bit of 3rd-grade-level fluff like "Goosebumps" either.

In fact, in today's society where the average adult reads less than one book per year, just having <i>adults</i> excited about a 600-page book is an amazing thing.

Anything that brings that much attention to the idea of reading and enjoying books gets my approval.


* For some reason, I do enjoy science fiction and some rather preposterous mystery novels. No, I don't have an explanation.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2004 3:24 pm 
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1. Firstly, did you like the series, if so why, if not why not?
--If you are a fan, please name your favourite book.


I personally loved the series. See below. (My favorite book was "The Prisoner of Azkaban" because it has a different plot line that the other, a turning point)

2. Can adult readers appreciate Harry Potter as much as younger reader's?
--If you were J K Rowling, what age would you set the intended user?


Yes, but for different reasons. See below.

3. I recently read a discussion about this, do you think Harry Potter's global dominance has had a positive impact or a negative impact on the novelist world?

I think people are making too much of a deal out of Harry Potter. See below.
-----------------------------

Now, I have a lot to say on the subject, so anyne not interested in reading a longer post, well...

I first heard of Harry Potter a few years after it had come out. The Prisoner of Azkaban had just been realesed (sp?) and people were starting to get, well, "crazed". Someone had told me about Harry Potter and I decided to read it. I think I was about nine (now I'm fourteen) and I absolutly loved to read. I had read almost every kid's book in the library and was moving on to young adult. I figured I would give it a try.

After I had read the first book, I loved it. Rowling took our world and turned, switched, distorted, and re-shaped it into a new world, a different life. Tiny aspects of our life that we had never given a thought before turned into something different. So much detail made this book a reality. I read the books so many times, they now lie on my shelves with pages torn and binding worn from so much use. I found the world of Harry Potter calming, a place where I could escape and be free with Harry and his friends, where pictures moved and you could do anything with a wave of the wand. I now listen to Harry Potter on CD every night, but for different reasons now (not because I'm a fanatic of the book, but because I'm an insomniac and can not get to sleep any other way. I practically have all 5 books memorized by now, but that's not the point. The point is, I find it engaging enough to get my mind off agonizing every-day matters, but calming at the same time so I can let my mind drift off into slumber land).

Some people said they just couldn't get into the plot. I guess everyone has different tastes, but I was disapointed in the 5th book when Sirius Black, Harry's godfather, dies. I was mad at Harry when he got mad at the littlest things. That's the mark of a good story-teller: they make their thoughts come alive for you.

Regarding all this contraversy about the books: I really just don't understand it. It's a book, it's not real. I have not heard one child, teen, or adult, NOT ONE say they are going to join a cult because of what Rowling did. There is a definate reason why Harry is on the fiction shelf. We learned in pre-school to have an open mind, to listen to other's opinions and "to put ourselves in others' shoes". Is refusing to read a book because it have magic in it opening your mind? Now, I'm Christian, and I believe in God. I'm not a witch and have no interest in becoming one. I read books about myths and legends not because I'm looking for the meaning of life, but because I like the stories. Has everyone over-looked the meaning of Harry Potter? Has everyone been so used to finding all these symbols in a given object that they can't just appreciate the simple life lessons? No, I'm not a Harry fanatic, no, I don't wait at 12am at K-Mart to break down the doors, no, I don't have Harry Potter bed curtains, action figures, and school supplies. I like Harry Potter because it's simple, it's a world where terrorists don't exist, where minds can be simple and complex at the same time, where the only thing you have to worry about it Voldemort taking over thing wizarding world. Yes, there are some hidden backround things, such as names or creatures, but they don't need to be over analyzed so you can't just appreciate it for what it is: a story. That's all it is.

There are pieces or literature and there are stories. You can't compare them. People say you can't compare apples and oranges. No, I don't think Harry Potter will be literature. Yes, I think Harry Potter bakpacks are stupid. I hate what Harry Potter has become: a tool for rich people to get richer. But just because I hate what people are doing to the book doesn't mean I can't read it. Today's kids see the difference between real and not-real, true and false, good and bad. There's always a good guy for them, always a bad guy. Wait until Junior High or even late Elelmentry school to tell them there's a shady gray area.

As I look over this post, I realize it's very opinionated, even contradictory. I say to have an open mind, yet I have a strong opinion. But that's what makes us different from other animals on the planet: we can form complex thoughts, discover our own morals, and express them to others.

To Harry haters and fans alike,
-Len

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