I became a Harry Potter fan shortly before the sixth book came out. The third movie was about to come out, so my wife and I watched the first two movies in preparation. They were pretty good, but we were puzzled as to why this had become so popular. But the third movie (The Prisoner of Azkaban) was absolutely brilliant. I wanted more.
That is when I decided that I should actually read the books that were causing such a furore. I signed them all out from the library (five were available at the time) and mowed through them quite quickly. The books were, of course, far superior to the movies, and grew increasingly complex without succumbing to a molasses-like pace (I’m looking at you, Robert Jordan). Shortly after this, the sixth book came out, and left us with a ridiculous cliffhanger prior to the seventh and final book.
The seventh book wrapped up the series in a positively brilliant fashion, leaving me satisfied with a story well-told and yet disappointed that I will not venture to Hogwart’s with Harry, Ron and Hermione any more.
Oh, and about six months prior to watching one of the movies for the first time, I was convinced that Harry Potter was a diabolical influence on today’s children and society. I bought into this ridiculous idea through the culture-fearing Christians I was then surrounded by. ‘Witchcraft? This is nothing for Christians,’ they would say, and I nodded along sycophantically.
Then I decided to find out for myself. That’s why I watched the first movie. I figured that I should at least know what I was up against. What I found was that I was not up against an evil wizard. I was up against a ridiculous, fear-driven Christianity that didn’t even bother to read the books it opposed.
Maybe that was the start of my journey out of uber-conservative Christianity. Maybe it had already begun. But I’ve come a long ways, because a post coming soon will show how I think that Harry Potter has fantastic theology.