Monday, September 24, 2012

Harry Potter is Demonic

Welcome to the magical world

Sorry for the delay on this post, but my sister was a slacker, and the library still didn't have any Harry Potter books (crazy, right?). Nonetheless, here we go.

Holding the DVDs because I don't own the book(s)
Also, I live in a basement. Much like
how Harry lived in a closet...
As a young and impressionable youth, I found my footing in the world though the threshold of a church. I went to youth group every Wednesday, played tambourine in the church band, and attended church camp during the summer months. For a long time, I didn't swear, didn't drink, didn't do drugs, or have sex. Really, I was an all around upstanding kid (aside from that time I locked my friend in the basement...).

One day as I was walking in, the pastor's wife got my attention. (I can't remember exactly how the conversation went, so I'm going to use the CREATIVE portion of creative non fiction so you guys get the idea.)

She had soft wavy brown hair and large glasses that completely covered her eyes. "You like to read, right?" she asked.

"I do," I said. "I just heard about these books, Harry Potter, have you read them?"

A worried look crossed her face, and then she said, "I've heard of them, and they're demonic. You shouldn't read them. They have magic in them, and magic comes from the devil."

"Okay," I said, and I took the message home to my sisters. "Don't read Harry Potter, you'll go to Hell!"

So...rather than read the books, years later, my oldest sister took me to the movies, and from there I continued watching (most of) the rest of them (I still actually haven't seen the last one, though twitter and Facebook has already ruined the end for me). In 2011, though I wasn't a huge Harry Potter fan (yea, sure the movies were fun, but sometimes I lost interest) I drove to Orlando, Florida for Leaky Con's LitDay to meet amazing authors, and hear panels about the industry.

The atmosphere was infectious. They were releasing the last Harry Potter movie, those in the audience were going to be the first ones to watch it, before the rest of America even got the chance. Everyone was buzzing with excitement, and lost in the mass of kids and adults dressed like they were ready to attend Hogwarts, I found myself getting excited, too.

Though I'd originally planned to bail out after the authorly panels were over, I found myself in a cushioned seat in a large room as the crowd hushed. Arthur Levine (the man who edited all of the Harry Potter books) entered the room. As he took the podium, cheers erupted, I'm pretty sure some people in the audience cried, and I looked at them like they were crazy (or, possibly, devil worshipers).

"When I met Jo, she looked hungry. As many of you know she was on foodstamps..." and from there he told the tale of meeting a starving author, with kids, with a lot to lose...She'd been rejected by several publishers and agents. No one believed in her story, but she did.

My sister. She is sad, too.
He told the audience about how Harry was hungry; he lived in a closet, was hated by the family he lived with, and he wanted food, and friends, and to belong somewhere. He was hungry for other people, hungry to actually experience life. The wizardry was just an added perk.

As he spoke, I had that Oh my God, moment. The one that tells me I spent x-amount of years missing out on something big because my church, a church I loved whole heartedly, told me those books were devil worshiping. I missed out on reading a great series, on being a part of something that truly moved people, and connected them to each other. Most of all, I missed out on something that got people and kids to read.

By proxy, my sister also missed out because I was a zealous Christian girl, upholding the word of God (nowhere in the Bible does it say don't read Harry Potter). (She is still kind of bitter about this one...)

All Harry wanted to was to be loved. In the end, I think that's what a lot of kids these days want. I know that's what I want. Well, that, and a nice package of mint oreos...

As I've been working on my memoir, I've been becoming increasingly angry with the things the church told me. For the record, I am still a Christian. I still pray on a daily basis, and love God (or my Higher Power for those of you who attend Alanon or AA).

Within the last year, I've become adamantly pro-choice and am becoming more vocal about it by the day. In College, one of my friends jumped from the Mackinaw Bridge, and I stopped believing suicides go to Hell. A boy who helped lead me toward God recently came out in the last few years, and thus, I stopped believing gays go to Hell, because he was the most passionate Christian I have ever met. The church taught me a lot about life, and I'm slowly starting to see that what I was told may have been vastly incorrect. (I'll be taking some of these topics on through this blog, hopefully you'll stick around through the journey.)

After Mr. Levine's speech, I no longer think that Harry Potter is demonic. Though I still didn't stick around to watch the movie with everyone, or attend the dance party, one of my life goals is to read the books, and at long last take part in something that has influenced my generation.

The moral of this post is: don't be afraid to read. Don't be afraid to be a part of something. Books are there to help you find what you're looking for, to test your beliefs (in a safe, non-cocaine type of environment), and take you on adventures the laws of gravity don't allow you to.

And for those of you writing the books, keep writing. Never stop pushing boundaries because your words may someday help save lives.

Happy Monday.

22 comments:

  1. Sad that your church said that. Harry Potter is so beloved by so many. It really is worth it to keep being yourself even when everyone tells you not to.

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    1. I know. I think my new year's resolution will be to read the books. It's about damn time!

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  2. You probably haven't picked this up from my blog (because I don't often mention it), but I used to be a youth pastor. However, I have always had issues with church authority because I did this thing when I was 16 that most people have never done: I read the Bible. I don't mean I read a few verses; I mean, I started in Genesis and read the whole thing. I did it again in college. Both during high school and during college, I used to get into it with people (like my youth pastor or ministerial students) about things they thought were true (because someone told them it was and they had just accepted it) but which the Bible didn't agree with them on.
    I'm a Christian, but I'm not in good with the church. I actually have started a book about my experiences growing up in a Church (not my specific church but the Church in general) that lies, but it's been sidetracked for a while. At some point, I'll get back to it.

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    1. I did not know that! For a time I wanted to be a pastor, or something similar. My memoir is now actually titled: The Right to Live: A Christian Girl's Struggle through Abortion, Losing Her Mind, and Recovery...

      I'm starting religious rants on Mondays. If you have any topics you want to hear my views on, please let me know, because though I am still Christian, a lot of beliefs have changed. (I also read the Bible when I was a kiddo. Not front to back, but a lot of it)

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    2. Nah, I have no topics in particular. I'm likely to have a lot to say about anything you bring up. heh

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    3. Hahaha, well, I think I'll be having Mondays as my #ReligiousRants days, just to warn you :)

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  3. I actually started reading the series around the time of the fourth book, mostly because I was being a contrarian and didn't want to read the "kid's books" that everyone else was reading. When I finally did get around to them, I never went obsessive fan-boy but definitely did develop a soft spot for the series and read every single one on top of seeing the movies. I like to compare it to how Victorians treated Sherlock Holmes stories--never considered the high point of writing in their day, but having a devoted, euphoric fan base that lined around the corner for the next installment and freaking mourned the end of it all.

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  4. I loved your "moral of the post" paragraph. SO good!

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  5. What a great post! I have certainly read books that have changed my life in a very big way.

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    1. Me too! Or at least made me question how solid my beliefs are in things (How I Live Now and incest)...yea. Books rock.

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  6. Very well put! I think fantastical elements can help get across a story that is trying to say something important or is a reflection of something people need to hear. I think it's unfortunate when the imagination is stymied by anything, religious or otherwise.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. Agreed. I wish I would have had that understanding when I was younger.

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  7. When you told me about this post, I was hoping that this was exactly the sort of post that would show how many authority figures screw our kids up by banning good books, but ultimately we find ways of reading those banned books.

    I'm not against Church, or people going to Church, or believing in something. I believe in God, I've embraced my family's religious background, but I don't get the need for another human being to sanctioned me or the way I connect to God or the world. So I get especially annoyed, when I read about fellow human beings banning books.

    JK Rowling was unemployed and a single mother of one who dared to believe, who dared to spread a message that has been running rampant through our world since the first humans appeared. Love. That is the basic message that she carries through every character. The love of his mother protected him, the love that others felt for him protected him and ultimately themselves. Their hearts were pure, because of love, and able to battle the evils. This is the message that is not so hidden within the magic of the books.

    I'm extremely glad that you have decided to read the series, as the movies don't do it justice.

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    1. "I don't get the need for another human being to sanctioned me or the way I connect to God or the world"

      That is the best statement, in the entire world. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

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    2. If I may, I would like to add my voice to that sentiment as well. Excellently stated!

      My husband and I are some of your customers at your day job! He asked you for the address of your blog again this week and here I am! You and I had a tiny bit of this same conversation about evil when I saw you a few days ago. As I may have touched on when I saw you last, both my husband and I were raised in very strict religious backgrounds. But, as we got older, we saw that life is not as is taught in the church. I also lost a friend to suicide and some of our best friends are gay (the reverend who married us and the best man at our wedding too). We've lived in small towns like this one and big cities and there are just too many points of view for them all to be wrong but one. We have found that the people who talk about evil the most are the ones who are doing the most to hurt others and usually out of fear of themselves. Keep working hard and going in the direction you are going. You are going to be fine!

      Betty and Victor

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    3. Aww yay! Thanks for stopping by!

      "Life is not as it is taught in the church," I can't agree with that more. Things in REAL life are much more intense, and as much advice as the Bible offers, some of it is no longer applicable. It's frustrating finding footing when you're afraid you may be wrong...ugh.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

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Please know that if you comment and I don't respond, it's not because I don't love you. It's because I don't have wifi, but I do have a bad memory.

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