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2053Re: [mythsoc] Harry Potter, an 11 year old view

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  • Ted Sherman
    Aug 2, 2000
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      And 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!)


      Stolzi@... wrote:

      > 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
      > and
      > 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
      > their
      > lives as an infant in a basket on their front porch. Mrs. Dursley’s sister,
      > Harry’s 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 Harry’s
      > birthday, a mysterious letter comes in the mail from a school that teaches
      > boys and girls to become witches and wizards. On the day it’s 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 boy’s 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 Voldermort’s 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 book’s satanic references were very disturbing as can be imagined. I
      > don’t think it’s 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
      > disappointing.
      > A friend of my mom’s 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 didn’t
      > know
      > 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. [Mom’s 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 Harry’s hormones are supposed to kick in. I don’t even want
      > to know what that’s 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,
      > badgers,
      > 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
      Mythopoeic Literature
      Box X041, Department of English
      Middle Tennessee State University
      Murfreesboro, TN 37132
      615 898-5836; FAX 615 898-5098
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