Friday, January 7, 2011

I'll come back when you call me, no need to say goodbye. [For Anna]

Heeeeey guys!
Friday is finally here.
I think I'm going to enjoy not having a 9:30 am tutorial every week.. this way I can sleep in a bit.


Today I want to address a comment that I received on my post about my superbly awesome Harry Potter symbolism book.. [Which is totally BLOWING MY MIND, btdubs.] 
The comment comes from one of my followers with the username *BING*: anna :)
anna :) said...
erm, i dont read harry potter 'cause mom says it's witchcraft, butttt...yeah :P 
Dear Anna,
Let me start off my saying I think it's okay that you haven't read them! I obviously don't think any less of you. I still think you're great. Thanks for all of your comments. :) But I was especially struck by this comment in particular because my parents used to have the exact same rule! So I completely know how you feel. 
I'm not sure about you, but when I was growing up, HP popularity was just on the rise, and so all of my friends were into it... And I'll be honest, I felt a little left out. [This was before LOTR and TCON came out as movies, so my faves weren't so popular with my group of friends yet!] 
And because my mum is a reasonable woman, she decided to read the first book in the series, and then she would give a ruling about whether she thought it was appropriate. However, much to my dismay, her final judgment was that it was a little dark and that I wasn't quite at the maturity level to be able to understand that it was all pretend, etc, etc. The idea of witchcraft being something that we as Christians shouldn't mess with was also a part of her point. And let me tell you, I was disappointed. But time went on and I was less and less upset about it.
LOTR and TCON became popular so I had something to talk about with my friends... I wasn't as worried about it anymore. But then, I think I was fourteen.. or in grade 8? Actually, I think it might have been the end of grade 7. I don't remember. It was a long time ago, anyway... I was in London visiting my Dad's side of my family. Something that my siblings and I always did when we were young when we went to my aunt and uncle's house was watch movies while the adults talked and such [I don't have any cousins on that side that are kids.] So, A [sister], L [brother] and I sifted through the DVD's on the shelf until we found one that we thought looked interesting. We had seen most of the ones they had... Except for one: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. 
And so, I said to my mum: "It's the only one here that we haven't seen, can we please watch it?" and she sad: "Alright, but if you get uncomfortable, or anything makes you feel weird or afraid, then I want you to turn it off." I agreed and hurried into the tv room to put the movie on. 
When I was young, my parents monitored everything I watched or listened to. Some of my friends thought they were strict. But in reality, they helped me to develop an awesome filter. I now have the ability to look at things objectively, in a way that some others can't. So I thank my parents for protecting my young mind. And you should thank yours, too! No matter how much it annoys you at the time, it always pays off for your benefit. 
And so, we watched the movie. And I was captivated. I loved the story, the characters, the score [John Williams is the MAN.]... everything.
 So we went home and life went on as normal... I was very excited about this new found fictional world.
The next time I went to London, I decided that I wanted another dose of Harry. My aunt is a huge fan of the books, and so she had all of them on a shelf in the tv room. While my brother and sister played with my little cousin [my cousin's son], I walked over to the shelf and picked up Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. I began to read, and I was enveloped by the amazing magical world of JK Rowling. I got about halfway through the book before we had to go home.
 I decided when I went to school on the Monday after that weekend that I would get the books out of the library. And so I did. I read books 2-5 within the span of about two months. [Yes, I never read book one... a shortcoming that I have rectified since being at university.]
Book 6 came out that summer, and my mum had bought it for me for my birthday, but gave it to me early because I begged. I was in love with this world, and I couldn't wait for my next adventure.
The good thing about the fact that I read the books so "late" was that I got to pretty much read them all in a row, without having to wait how ever long for the next one to come out. I remember when book seven was released when I was in grade nine/heading into grade ten. I read it in... Two days? Which is pretty lame in comparison to the 13 hours it took me to read book six. But book seven was much heavier. It blew my mind.
Now, it is completely understandable that your parents, being God-fearing people, want to protect you from things they feel will harm you spiritually.  I am, however, here to tell you why Harry Potter will not harm you spiritually, but will in fact edify you in your faith. 
WHOOOOA. "How can that be possible?!", you ask in complete and utter confusion.
Well, one thing in the book that I have been reading that has blown me away is the way that John Granger describes the magic used in HP. He describes two types of magic: incantational and invocational. Granger explains that incantational literally means "to harmonize" or "to sing along with", while invocational means "to call in". What is the difference? Incantational magic is, as Granger explains it, a means of being in sync with a greater magic, or higher power. He then goes on to explain that invocational magic is often referred to as "sorcery" and is a means of calling in evil spirits to achieve personal gain, or power. After differentiating between these two concepts, Granger says: "Even the most evil wizards do their nasty magic with spells; not one character in any of the seven books ever calls in evil spirits. Not once." [4]
One example that Granger uses to further explain the difference between these two kinds of magic is Prince Caspian [which I thought you would find particularly interesting.] He discusses the magic used when Caspian blows Queen Susan's horn as being incantational [further using the metaphor of music] and the magic used when Nikabrik finds the hag in order to call in the White Witch as being invocational. He then explains that C.S. Lewis puts the distinction between the two very clearly.
This particular point had my head spinning.
The book goes on to explain different symbols of Christ within the book series, and a break down of JK Rowling's formulaic alchemical writing style, and how she uses conventions of English literature, comparative with writers like JRR Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Granger also reveals that Rowling herself is in fact a Christian [Anglican] and explains that because of the way she plans, plans, and plans before she writes proves that symbols and metaphors that she includes in her stories are there not simply by accident, but on complete purpose, in order to achieve her purpose, of allowing Harry to make the transition from spiritual lead, to spiritual gold. [I'll admit to you that I didn't really understand the whole alchemy thing until Granger explained it thoroughly.] 
Another point that Granger includes as to why HP is so widely loved is the fact that it addresses the biggest human questions, most importantly the question and fear of death. Granger explains that humans are spiritual beings by design, and that these books provide a kind of spiritual nourishment that all humans require, that we are deprived of as a result of living in a secular, naturalistic and materialistic world. [Of course, not to be a substitute for The Word itself.] A continuing theme and motif in HP is that Love always conquers Death. Granger then explains that this image is incredibly powerful because as Christians, we believe that Jesus is Love. And what did Jesus do?  HE CONQUERED DEATH.
This book has seriously blown my mind, and sermons have been formulating in my brain with pretty much every sentence. The best part is that he's got all kinds of scripture to back him up... [Trust me. I looked it all up.]
I don't want to spoil the plot for you if you ever do decide that you want to read them, but in all honesty, the next time I read HP, I feel like Rowling's writing will move me spiritually similarly to Lewis in TCON, now that all of my suspicions about HP having Christian under-tones have been affirmed and proved. 
Like you, TCON is a very large part of my life, and everytime I dive into Narnia, I come out with spiritual truths and feeling like I've spent time in devotions while reading an awesome story. I'm without fail brought to tears every time... And you wanna know something? I felt something similar while reading HP and just couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that made me fall so deeply in love with the story. And now I know!
Now, I'm not really sure how old you are, so I don't know where you stand in regards to being able to "make your own adult choices". Maybe if you feel like HP is something you would like to read, have a chat with your parents... Perhaps share my story with them. I'm sure if you approach it rationally then they will be open to discussing it with you! Another thing you could try is maybe having conversations with your parents about what you read when you're finished. This way they know that you're thinking critically about the things that you're putting in your head!
Again, thank you so much for your comments, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Please email me so we can chat more about all of this!
Sorry to the rest of you that this post is so long.. I was just so inspired!
Love Always, 
Emma Catherine 


  1. Don't be sorry. Sounds like it was a great read. I might have to check out this book. Thanks for the information.

  2. A post that is totally and completely FTW.

    i l y E. <3

  3. i see where you're coming from, i really do. but honestly, i feel like i'd be better off if i didn't read them. the Bible specifically says that witchcraft is wrong, and to stay as far away from it as possible. i don't think in lower of you, either, emma cate. we just have different view points.

    but i love chronicles of narnia and percy jackson. and nicholas sparks stuff *wink*

    anna :)