2053Re: [mythsoc] Harry Potter, an 11 year old view
- Aug 2, 2000And we're supposed to believe the writing below is that of an American 11-year old.
I have 21-year olds who don't write half as well in my college (and graduate!)
> Summer Reading: Harry Potter--
> By Elizabeth and Michael Foss
> HERALD Columnist
> In light of the recent Harry Potter craze, my 11-year-old and I decided to
> do a little critical reading together. We read the first book in the series
> I asked Michael to write a review. Here, he shares his opinions and a
> suggestion, too:
> My experience with Harry Potter was very decisive to say the least. It took
> me just one book to decide not to read the rest of the series.
> Eleven-year-old Harry Potter lives with the Dursleys, his aunt and uncle,
> and their spoiled son, Dudley. The Dursleys despise Harry for coming into
> lives as an infant in a basket on their front porch. Mrs. Dursleyâs sister,
> Harryâs mother, died alongside her husband. They were both wizards. The evil
> Lord Voldermort came to the Potter household when Harry was one to try to
> bring the Potters to the dark side. When the Potters refused, he killed the
> couple but Harry was too powerful for the lord and only was scarred.
> The boy grows up thinking his parents died in a car accident. On Harryâs
> birthday, a mysterious letter comes in the mail from a school that teaches
> boys and girls to become witches and wizards. On the day itâs time to leave
> for the school, Hogwarts, the real adventure begins. Harry learns to make
> potions, how to transfigure rats into hairpins and other useful things.
> The book consistently stumbles on the topic of right and wrong. For example:
> Harry and his classmates are learning how to fly on broomsticks when the
> teacher is called away for a while. She tells the students to stay put and
> not to fly! Well, the school bully, Draco Malfoy, decides to pick on one of
> the students by picking up the boyâs broomstick and flying off. Harry Potter
> flies after Malfoy and just as Harry zooms up, the culprit goes down. The
> teacher catches Harry up in the air and she pretends to scold him in front
> of the class but then commends him for his flying ability behind closed doors.
> These kinds of mixed-message incidents happen throughout the book.
> The book takes a very sinister, troublesome spin when Harry comes face to
> face with Voldermort. When the dark lord failed to kill Harry, he lost all
> his power. So he looks over the world trying to find someone to possess.
> With the body of a man in his control, Voldermort attacks Harry. The boy is so
> strong Voldermortâs hands blister and burn when he touches Potter. The power
> is so great the body perishes but the dark lord filters into the air to find
> another victim.
> The bookâs satanic references were very disturbing as can be imagined. I
> donât think itâs appropriate for little kids. The author also portrays the
> muggles (non-magic folk) to be idiotic bumblers that have no clue about
> anything. The children in this book as well as the adults are very
> disrespectful. There is a lot of lying and cheating by both adults and
> children that goes unpunished. Many controversial things in the text were not
> needed, and they did not add any glory to this book. It was very
> A friend of my momâs told me that in the second book, Harry and his friends
> bury a screaming mandrake root. The more the root screams, the more dirt
> they dump on it. A mandrake root looks like a baby. In case the reader didnât
> that, there is a picture of it at the beginning of the chapter. I wonder why
> the author picked a root that looks like a baby to bury. [Momâs note: our
> dictionary says that the root of a mandrake has been traditionally used to
> promote conception. Why did she choose a mandrake?] The author says that in
> the fourth book Harryâs hormones are supposed to kick in. I donât even want
> to know what thatâs supposed to mean.
> [as those of us who've read it know, it doesn't mean an awful lot - though I
> was worried too. - ms]
> Instead of Harry Potter, I recommend the Redwall series of books by English
> author, Brian Jacques. The books are about abbey mice who live around the
> medieval time. The mice live in a great sandstone abbey. The hero of the
> books is Martin the warrior (a mouse featured in all the books). Martin
> defends Redwall Abbey from villainous ferrets, weasels, stoats, foxes, and
> rats. The warrior mouse appears alive in four books, and comes to new
> champions of Redwall as a guide in dreams (much like Obi-Wan Kenobi in the
> Star Wars films).
> The book has a very distinctive feeling of good and evil. The good abbey
> mice and their colleagues, portrayed by otters, moles, hares, hedgehogs,
> and squirrels, are exposed to many evils but always persevere through it
> all, never once dropping to evil's level. The books usually have very fierce
> battles that are described very graphically. The battles are very gory, and
> always the mice try to stop bloodshed from happening but once they are
> threatened to the point where combat is the only option, they fight. Always,
> mind you, the mice learn from the experience of war. The mice lose many
> friends and family during the wars but at the end of the book they always
> start to rebuild.
> The books have very rich literary style and are very entertaining for kids
> and adults. The language really improves your grammar immensely.
> The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
Dr. Theodore James Sherman, Editor
Mythlore: A Journal of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams and
Box X041, Department of English
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
615 898-5836; FAX 615 898-5098
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