Controversy Over the Harry Potter Term Paper

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The Realities of the Supernatural:

Any person who picks up a Harry Potter novel will surely come to realize that J.K. Rowling must have spent a great amount of time conducting research into the occult and the supernatural in order to produce such powerful and influential literary characters and situations. Obviously, Rowling has borrowed heavily from much older sources concerning the supernatural, sorcery and witchcraft, some dating back to Medieval times. As one of the world's oldest religions, witchcraft is a pagan faith, non-Christian rather than anti-Christian, and is based upon the belief that nature and the universe can be controlled and manipulated via magic and the invocation of divine spirits. As a practice, witchcraft has existed for many centuries, and before the 12th century a.D., sorcery and magic were generally overlooked by the church, but by 1300 a.D., witchcraft became equated with sorcery, at least in the view of most religious officials and was soon labeled as heresy by the Pope in Rome. As W.B. Crow maintains, "As long as humans continue their quest to control the universe, and to know God's wisdom, such practices as wizardry, sorcery and witchcraft will continue to flourish" (1972, p. 267), a statement that indicates J.K. Rowling knew far in advance that the Harry Potter book series would be a stunning global success.

Harry Potter and the Supernatural:

In many passages within Rowling's book series, Harry Potter and his fellow wizards confront the supernatural on a daily basis. For instance, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Professor Trelawney is described as being able to remove from under a chair "a miniature model of the solar system, contained within a glass dome... " (Rowling, 1998, p. 575) which brings to mind the image of an astrologer or a wizard using the supernatural to manipulate reality. Another instance occurs in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when Harry witnesses an act of transfiguration by Professor McGonagall who changes "her desk into a pig
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and back again" (Rowling, 2000, p. 134). Both of these events clearly illustrate that Harry Potter, his classmates and his teachers are all part of the supernatural world and that they possess the ability to transform reality into another reality of their choosing.

Censorship and Harry Potter:

This controversy has been successfully realized to some extent by organized religious fundamentalists who perceive the Harry Potter stories to be immoral and as anti-Christian and have thus managed to have these books removed from certain booksellers. In essence, these individuals are only attempting to inflict their own moralities on others and as a result, the censorship of the Harry Potter books and similar works have only discouraged other writers from pursuing similar literary models.

Conclusion:

The question still remains as to whether or not the Harry Potter book series leads young readers into the practice of witchcraft or some other occultic practice, but after a close reading of any of the Harry Potter books, it is clear that Rowling is only trying to tell an enjoyable story despite being heavily linked to the supernatural. Logically, it seems that if young adult readers really wanted to become a witch or a sorcerer that they would consult other material far more diabolical and allegedly evil than Rowling's novels. The ignorance of those against Harry Potter is obvious, for it would suit them far better to read the Holy Bible which also contains images and suggestions of witchcraft and sorcery with the almighty God as the master sorcerer and conjurer of unreality.

References

Bleiler, E.F. (1973). Supernatural Horror in Literature, by Howard Phillips Lovecraft. New York: Dover Publications.

Crow, W.B. (1972). A History of Magic, Witchcraft and Occultism. UK: Abacus.

May, Jill P. (1995). Children's Literature and Critical Theory. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rowling, J.K. (1998). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. New York: Scholastic Press.

2000). Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic Press.

Vandergrift, Kay E. (2004). Vandergrift's Young Adult Literature Page. Internet. Accessed June 15, 2005. Rutgers University of New Jersey.…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Bleiler, E.F. (1973). Supernatural Horror in Literature, by Howard Phillips Lovecraft. New York: Dover Publications.

Crow, W.B. (1972). A History of Magic, Witchcraft and Occultism. UK: Abacus.

May, Jill P. (1995). Children's Literature and Critical Theory. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rowling, J.K. (1998). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. New York: Scholastic Press.

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