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Bad influence of Harry Potter

Idun

Member
I heard and read many opinions that Rowlings' books exert harmful influence on children, for instance that the books have occult elements, don't teach how to distinguish between good and evil and so on. Some schools even do not agree to purchase Harry Potter books for school libraries. What do you think about such opinions? Are they in any way justified or rather totally groundless?
 

Halo

New Member
I certainly don't think this argument is justified. How anyone can say that they don't distinguish between good and evil is beyond me! How plain can it be? Voldemort=evil, Dumbledore, Harry et al=good! ;) Okay, I know that's very simplistic, but I really do think that the HP books are a good influence on children on the whole. Traits such as loyalty, courage, friendship and teamwork are shown to be a desirable way to behave. Those that behave badly or are bullies nearly always get their comeuppance, eg Malfoy and pals. In the latest book, Harry learns a valuable lesson in not pre-judging people and looking beyond how others treat them (Luna).

In my opinion, the occult accusation is utter tripe. I cannot believe these books encourage kids to get into "magic". This is FICTION, not reality. They should try shouting "accio broom" and see what happens! :rolleyes:
 

funes

New Member
Absolutely right, Halo. The ideas of Good and Evil are clearly and carefully demarcated in the Potter books. In fact, Rowling takes care to have characters who might seem evil, but are merely weak, or venal, or something. Only Voldemort is truly evil. But then true evil is rare in real life, too. This shows that there is a difference between "bad" people and "evil" people, which is an important distinction.
Beyond that, the "occult" elements of the books are nothing more than window dressing. The books aren't about "magic", they're about a bunch of kids in an English boarding school.
 

Natalie

New Member
I also agree with Halo. I daresay, such rumours are always made about famous books, also about "The Lord of the Rings". I don´t think, that the book has a bad influence on children. It´s the same with violent movies.. it´s is always said that they are a bad influence because someone copies violent scence in reality. But I think, these people would have also become violent without watching the movie.. and it´s the same with books.
 

murphyz

New Member
I was speaking with an ex of mine recently and she had just returned from a business trip in Canada. It appears that some schools over there will not buy books for their library if, for example, the books feature children who live besides the seaside.

Why?

Because it discriminates against the children in the school who don't live besides a seaside!

I'm not sure if they purchased Harry Potter, as it may discriminate against those children with no magical abilities. Actually, I'm not sure what books their library will have exactly.

Mxx
 

Idun

Member
You know, Murphyz, these schools which you mentioned are REALLY weird... Their behaviour is rather an absurd, than upbringing.

However, coming back to Harry, all that you wrote is apparently right. But there is a significant difference between Harry and most old, good fairy tales and modern fantasy books. A classic tale begins with words: "Once upon a time", which also means "not here", "in the middle of nowhere". These expressions clearly state, than the events described in the story are not normal, real, couldn't happen to you, dear reader, because it's just your imagination, and nothing more, under no circumstances.

While reading Harry Potter, you get an impression that your classmate can be a wizard. Why not? It is happening now, in our reality.
Don't you think, that it may make it difficult for children to distinguish the real world from a magical one?

I'm just wondering...
 

Dawn

kickbox
Don't you think, that it may make it difficult for children to distinguish the real world from a magical one?
Are you serious?

If so, let me say this, if a child is old enough to read Harry Potter then, in my opinion, that child is old enough to know the difference between the real and the imaginary. My son read the first HP when he was 8. I would think that kids rarely read HP younger than that, since it's a "chapter book" and has no pictures. Of course I read the first one aloud to him before, so he had a good idea what was going on. An eight-year-old has no difficulty distinguishing between the real world and the magic world. There's alot of wishful thinking and alot of questions, but that's a good thing, isn't it?
 

funes

New Member
Not only that, but, let's face it, the kind of "magical world" we see in Harry Potter simply does not exist . Certainly any child that is old enough to read Harry Potter is old enough to understand the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Besides (and I can't stress this enough), the Harry Potter books are not about magic, or casting spells, or any of that baloney. They are about a young boy who has been through a rough patch and is bearing up (rather well) under a huge burden with the help of a few good friends. We are not talking about Aleister Crowley here.
 

murphyz

New Member
If you're worried about kids not being able to tell the difference then don't get them to read The Magic Faraway Tree because that will really trip them out. The whole point of a kids book is that they are seperate from reality and you are at a time in your life when you do not have boundries to your imagination and do not have to deal with any serious issues of the mature content from adult readership.

Watership down - don't read in case you think rabbits will talk afterwards.
Marianne Dreams - don't draw anything, ever, because when you sleep they will appear in your dreams and try to kill you.

I don't think so. Kids need to be given credit that they can tell the difference between the world we live in and what they read in books, play in games, or see on TV.
Otherwise let them go ahead and scream Wingardium Leviosa at the top of their lungs and see where that gets them.

Mxx
 

Idun

Member
Dawn wrote:
Are you serious?

Sure I am.

I only want to stress, that I never stated that the opinions I mentioned above are mine. As I said, I heard much about Harry, and many (not all of course) assessments were negative. I hoped that you people, who seem quite engaged in the subject (proof: number of answers in the discussion about the Order of Phoenix .:cool: ) would give me some concrete arguments, whether for or against Harry, like examples from the book or something.

Besides, I wanted to spark a discussion. Since it's often deadly for a conversation when all the speakers agree, I decided to describe some more controvercial statements.

On the question of children's beliefs in magic, maybe they are perfectly able to distinguish the real world from the magical. However, I think that kids are rather prone to perceiving Santa Claus or monsters as real, aren't they? I heard of a child who jumped out of a window to be like Gummi Bears. Certainly, the direct cause of that behaviour was the child's mind, not the tale, but still this particular series played some part in this accident.
 

murphyz

New Member
You are implying that Santa Claus is not real?

When the guy, his name escapes me, walked into Dunblane Primary school and shot many children several years ago 'Natural Born Killers' , due to be released the Monday after the incident, was stopped, not due to the sensitive nature, but because it was deemed to have been the cause. This guy must have seen it, for it to be the cause, 6 months previously at the cinema as the video was not released. The same with the Jamie Bulger case when 'childplay' was taken from the shelves and received the blame. Media is not to blame, and Gummi Bears is also not to blame, just as much as if the child had watched Superted and wanted to stop a train. There is something wrong with the mind of the individual, through society or upbringing, that make them act this way and, even if they say they were copying the book/film, it is not fair to place the blame on that, because thousands of other people who have read/watched it have not reacted in the same way.
Placing the blame on the media is sweeping the situation under the rug and hoping it will go away, when what needs to be done is to get to the root of the problem and find out what really triggered the deterioration of this persons mind.

I think banning Potter in school libraries is absurd, especially when my school had within their collection things as macabre as The Wasp Factory and dong so will result in more people wanting to read it because it is 'forbidden' and the views of the book to gain a certain notoriety that it doesn't deserve.

I know the views stated above are not your own, it's easier to form a response, though, as if it is directed at one person. I, personally, welcome any negative potter comments, not because I don't like it (I have stated enough times that I do enjoy the series) but because I would personally prefer children to read other things. That, in essence, is the only good thing that will come from schools banning it. Children may, then, choose to read something better - although will they actually bother to read at all?

Mxx

P.S - I was kidding about Santa :)
 

Idun

Member
I agree with you on the question of not blaming only films for acts of violence. It's comfortable, but totally unjustified simplicity not to look for the real cause - or rather numerous factors and their correlation - of such complex deeds. Clear pointing "the one to blame" just looks good in news.

It would be very intriguing to check which other books the school libraries possess. If they are not famous, nobody really cares, whether there are brutal, potentially harmful scenes in them, or not. I'm not sure if anyone checks the content of bought books. Do they???

Coming back to the main subject, could you explain why you would prefer children to read other things than Harry? I'm interested in the point you mentioned.
 

murphyz

New Member
I would prefer children of my own to read other books first, simply because I feel that other material on offer to children, and often overlooked, has better storylines and character development, better use of language and style, and offer something thought provoking about the world we live in.

For example, Goodnight Mr Tom is a well written piece that offers a little insight into World War 2 as well as bringing to the childs attention that the world is not a nice place and that children are abused by those who should love them (Harry Potter does this too in a way and that I feel is the most redeeming feature of the book).
I would like them to read Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men, Alice in Wonderland and Marianne Dreams - all of which are accessible to children and are, in their own way though provoking.

Of course, I wouldn't deny my child the right to read Potter, they could read whatever they want and I would buy the book for them as I enjoy them myself. But I do think that Potter is a book a child should come to after experiencing other books so that they see how much the Potter stories take from other literature. This is a selfish request from me in that I feel my children would not appreciate, say Alice in Wonderland, as much after reading Potter as they would reading it first. Why? Because the magical idea presented in Alice is tainted by that of the world of Harry Potter.

Mxx
 

Dawn

kickbox
Harry Potter was a springboard for my boys. I'm very grateful for that. They don't turn up their noses at books anymore and, I think, they understand now why I love to read. It's true, however that's it's difficult for me to get them to try anything new. Thankfully, though, they will try a book that one of their friends has recommended. Those don't come often enough for my taste.
 

Ell

Well-Known Member
Harry Potter was a springboard for my boys. I'm very grateful for that. They don't turn up their noses at books anymore and, I think, they understand now why I love to read.
I think this is an important point.

Although I agree with Murphyz that there are other children's books that are better, it's good to remember that many children don't like to read. For whatever reason, they have been 'turned off' reading. If it takes a Harry Potter book to introduce them to books and reading as an enjoyable activity, then I'm all for it! My hope would be that they'll eventually discover there is more to books than just Harry Potter and then the entire world of books and literature will open up to them.
 

h_carnahan

New Member
I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little further down our particular path than we have gone ourselves.
Harry Potter if anything promotes goodness the books have good conquering the bad. I know many people, even those who hate to read or can't, are reading the books or having them read to them and are enjoying them, looking foreward to the releases of the movies and even having Harry Potter themed birthday parties.

I believe that every school library should possess at least one copy of Harry Potter books. And if the reason that the schools were not providing the books that the childern are reading, is because they think they incourage the undistinguishable between good and bad then the school systems need to realize that these childern are waiting to read these books at their libraries or have them at home. Harry Potter books are incouraging to people, young and old, because they invent a society which teaches good morals with magic. It downgrades those who follow Lord Voldermort (the bad guy) while encouraging loyalty, courage and goodness in the ways that books considered to be good childerns books do. ;)
 

phil_t

New Member
Just tried what Halo suggested at the very start of the thread and yelled 'Accio Broom' very loudly - the only result of which was my Dad giving me an extremely strange look and shuffling off to another part of the house :)

So, in conclusion, Harry Potter does not make you weird, but shouting random things out in front of your family members does! :D
 
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