There’s one topic this blog has not covered and that’s Harry Potter and Joanne Rowling.
Main reason is that though I’ve watched clips from the films, I’ve not read any of the books and so rely on secondary sources. Given my stance on Christianity, on moral relativism but also with a certain libertarianism and given readers at this site are vaguely divided into conservative rationalist [majority], straight libertarian and conservative Christian, with a certain number of the left-leaning still putting up with N.O., it does seem like a hiding to nothing to make any statement on Rowling and her agenda, if indeed she has one.
That is – until her current Scottish No vote push and how the establishment has embraced her for it. This struck a chord because I was reading just now about her establishment connection leading to the spiralling success of Harry Potter, not jsut as a popular series but as a whole way of thinking about things, as another Lord of the Rings for this current time.
As always, IMHO, people who automatically poo-pooh suggestions of collusion and agendas: “Oh, get a life, are you wearing your tin-foil hat today?” are the most ignorant of all as they let the words trip off the tongue or the keyboard without any substantive backup, i.e. it’s all just assertion. They don’t want it to be so – therefore they go in for the scathing spray.
Which is not to say that those alleging an agenda are “all there” in the head – I’ve just read one anti-Rowling piece and it became apparent after two paragraphs that this lady was way off the planet, joining dots and tying in all manner of things without – and this is the key point – anything substantive to back it up with.
On the other hand, when a supposed “ex” witch writes that there are triggers all over the place, not unlike with Disney’s sexual references which you can see for yourself in the screenshots – that seems to me to be worth a read. So this post is a look at various writers’ take on the Rowling phenomenon.
Harry Potter: The Bewitching of Society, Mary Louise July 15 2003
Joanne (Jo) Kathleen Rowling (pronounced rolling) is a skilled writer, who knows how to capture the reader´s imagination to instill familiarity with the occult. More than 30 million copies of her books have been sold, supposedly making her wealthier than the Queen. Her advice to aspiring young writers is, “Read as much as you can, like I did…. Start by writing about things you know about, your own experiences and feelings. That´s what I do.”
JK Rowling´s biography, [link to home.freeuk.com] based on her interview with the BBC Arts program Omnibus also includes film locations, Harry´s guide to visiting castles, learning magic and spells, and commentary. Also included is a news clip, with a photo of Prince Charles pinning an honour on Joanne, the Order of British Empire, for her contributions to literature. On a separate occasion, the Queen is shown visiting Bloomsbury Press (publishers of HP) to see Jo, who apparently has become a very important person, even to the Monarchy.
It is particularly educational to hear individuals speak on this subject, who used to be in the occult and have first-hand knowledge based on personal experiences. Before renouncing his involvement, David Meyer lived in the mysterious, shadowy realm of the occult. He was absorbed in Wicca witchcraft during the 1960´s, when witchcraft was beginning to come out of the broom closet. JK Rowling´s books according to David Meyer, “Are orientational and instructional manuals of witchcraft woven into the format of entertainment. These four books by JK Rowling teach witchcraft!”
“[Some] Christian” leaders … defend the Harry Potter books by saying that good magic always wins and overcomes evil magic, which is the oldest con game ever, hatched out of hell. When real witches meet as a coven, they greet each other by saying “Blessed be” and part with “The Force be with you”. Both sides of this “Force” are Satan (a house divided against itself cannot stand). High level witches believe there are seven satanic princes, the seventh one assigned to Christians has no name and is called “the nameless one” in coven meetings. The character “Voldemort” in the Harry Potter books is described in the pronunciation guide, as “He who must not be named”.
William Schnoebelen, www.withoneaccord.org/store/Biography.html, is also a former witch and a recognized authority on the occult, listed in Who´s Who in Religion. He spent sixteen years teaching witchcraft, Qabalah, and ceremonial magick until 1984. Bill had decided at the age of five to become a priest and partially because of the influence of seminary professors, he also studied spiritualism, ESP, and white witchcraft. By the time he achieved his bachelor´s degree, he was a full-fledged Wiccan.
Continuing to investigate various aspects of occult power, he and his wife came in contact with physical and astral beings or “Spiritual Masters”, through travel and trance channeling. They were told that different currents of power were necessary to totally fulfill them as authentic seekers on the Path of Wisdom. This included Freemasonry, cultural spiritualism (Voodoo, etc), Thelema (Aleister Crowley cult), Rosicrucian´s, the Catholic priesthood, Mormonism, and various Eastern philosophies. Eventually, they were led through a gradual seduction process into the Church of Satan, then underground “Satanism”, having received high levels of training in various areas.
´Straight Talk on Harry Potter´ by Bill Schnoebelen should be required reading, especially for those who think it is just harmless fun…. www.withoneaccord.org/store/potter.html. “Muggles” is the Harry Potter term for non-wizards who don´t like or believe in magic and are portrayed as being cruel, boring, and biased.
Most serious practitioners of the art of sorcery prefer the old English spelling “magick”, to distinguish it from stage magic. This usually refers to “high magick” or “ceremonial magick”, which involves complex rituals that require a lot of preparation. Some of the activities in the Potter books are fantasy, but many are not. In his article, Bill explains how it all works and clarifies the actual meanings of terms, names, and differences in beliefs and practices.
The true goal of every wizard is to become his own god, whereas the main point for most serious witches is devotion to the gods or goddesses of their religion. They practice “folk magic”, which is very different from ceremonial magick, usually associated with wizards and magicians. Most magicians are either agnostic or athiest and the technology behind magick is mental, emotional, and demonic in nature. The magic world-view sees the universe as a machine that dispenses favors in response to the right ritual. Besides having strong anti-family undertones, the Harry Potter books enflame a spiritual interest in occult knowledge and power.
Essentially, a godless universe is presented, in which the most powerful wizard wins. These books are more dangerous than they appear, because whether or not the readers grow up to be sorcerers, they have immersed themselves in the magic world-view, intellectually and spiritually. Gradual and subtle changes in beliefs will become a part of the mindset, of those who identify with the world of sorcery and find the magic beguiling and charming.
These are some of the themes adressed: Animal sacrifice, blood sacrifices, rituals, cauldrons, possible demon possession, werewolves and vampires, astral projection, casting spells and levitation, crystal gazing or divination, communion with the dead, people exist ing without souls, mood-altering drugs of real herbs used by witches and shamans, use of magic charms and grisly occult artifacts, lying, stealing, etc.
The Ecumenical Movement has long strived to bring all “religions” into a One World Religion, all except for true Christianity that is. The Church of Satan, Wicca and Neo-Pagan, New Age Christian, and other various religions are welcomed to be part of this conglomeration, along with mainstream religious institutions. Countless wrongs have been done in the name of man-made religions and the labeling, marketing, and regulating of religionism as a commodity, is just another form of mind-control and bondage.
Nowadays, almost everything is convoluted and upside down, but no matter how rejected and unpopular it may be, the truth is still the truth.
That gets the standard reaction, of course:
OMFG … it’s a damn book for fun …. written by a signle struggling mother, partially inspired to move forward after the loss of her mother ….. now a self made billionaire keeping children reading at advanced levels at early ages rather than getting an advanced vocabulary of pop culture and drug culture buzz words. get a fucking grip.
Ignoring the central idea in that quote – the values being transmitted He goes on:
Sometimes. I honestly WISH that I DIDN’T hate Christians so much. NOT that the Christians don’t richly deserve my hatred. But rather, the problem is that hating Christians takes up so much of my time. I wonder if there were similar assholes for Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Disney or The Wizard of Oz? I bet these same whiners LOVED those movies!
Which pretty well nails where that is coming from and also defines the opposed forces on this topic.
Not having a tele and not going to the cinema, I’ve missed a lot which might have reinforced the case one way or the other. I did, however, see The Golden Compass and if there was ever a pushing of relativist values and ideas turned on their heads, that was it. The evil is portrayed as the misunderstood good, the forces for good as the rigidly authoritarian bad guy. The giveaway is that the supposedly misunderstood monster is made acceptable by a “wise man” who then goes into some ritual sacrifice of his own but that’s OK because he’s the film’s good guy. The point that someone in that ritual was raped or died is inconsequential in the film.
A similar technique was used in the Dan Brown film. You’d almost sympathize with the keepers of the mysteries if it wasn’t for that murder and sexual ritual spied through a window. Puzzling that – that they’d allow it into the film to undermine their own message of who was good and who was evil.
The very presence of all this occult stuff these days flies in the face of the rationalist contention that if one removes the evil of religion from the public consciousness, then what fills the vacuum is the spirit of human goodwill towards one another.
No it doesn’t – the space becomes filled with the gobbledegook of the other side, that’s all. Far from kids, in this brave new world, soberly sitting about discussing philosophy and pursuing science, they’re actually banging away at 12, clubbing to the zombie beat and gaming.
Even this, sent by Chuckles, of the craze for toplessness is along the same lines as tatts and pagan child-of-the-earthishness, a regression away from civilization. It was outlined in Lord of the Flies as to how the descent begins and it maintains that the beast is always there ready to enter the space vacated by the exiled good.
To return to Rowling and Potter, the straight bio itself is interesting, this one by Derek Murphy:
On December 30th, 1990 Rowling’s mother passed away after a 10-year battle with multiple sclerosis. This was a traumatic event for Rowling.
9 months later, desperate to get away, Rowling took a job in Portugal teaching English. There she met and married Portuguese television journalist Jorge Arantes, and in July of 1993 their daughter Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes was born. Soon after, however, Rowling separated from her husband, and in December 1993 Rowling and her daughter returned home to live near her sister in Edinburgh.
During this period Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression, and contemplated suicide. It was the feeling of her illness that brought her the idea of Dementors, soul-sucking creatures introduced in the third book. Before she started teaching again she was determined to finish her book; so when her daughter was sleeping she crafted her novel in nearby cafés, surviving on state welfare support.
After some initial rejection, Rowling found her agent, Christopher Little. The book was submitted to twelve publishing houses; all of which rejected the manuscript. Then in August, 1996, Christopher called to tell her that Bloomsbury, a small publishing house in London, had made an offer.
He goes on to observe:
Harry Potter’s world is full of prejudicial ideas, though not the ones found in our world. In Harry’s world, people are not discriminated against for the color of their skin, religious affiliation, or sexual identity; it is all about blood – pure, half or muggle. Teens easily identify with characters and are able to relate to the idea of prejudice in the magic world. These books allow us to explore inner feelings about people who are different without identifying anyone as a real-world racist, which can lead to a better understanding of ourselves and begin to build respect for those who are different.
So the process involves saying to people – all these prejudices along racial, ethnic or gender lines are bad and so we’ll substitute a different set of prejudices drawn from the occult. Why from htere? Never mind, keep your mind on the question of discrimination, not what else is coming in through the portal.
Naturally, the fundamentalists, whom I think are trolls for the other side, such is the negativity their activities create, jumped in, alleging the worst and the media eagerly publicized every excess by the fundamentalists, in some sort of journalistic symbiosis:
The continuing debate among Christian communities over whether children should be allowed to read the Harry Potter series has frequently been reported by the media; for example in news reports of lawsuits attempting to ban Harry Potter books from school and public libraries, or the even more startling accounts of public book burnings.
Aside from evolution, Harry Potter is one of the most controversial subjects in the heated debate over what we should be teaching our children. (While these issues are predominantly constrained to U.S. politics and culture, the spread of evangelical forms of Christianity abroad have debated similar issues). On August 2, 2000, Education Week reported that
The American Library Association reports that at least 13 states witnessed attacks on the Harry Potter novels last year, making them the most challenged books of 1999. Given the enormous publicity and forecasted sales of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we can expect the attacks to escalate when schools reopen in September.
Sites such as The Onion and The Daily Mash usually play their role in ridiculing opposition to the left-agenda and this was no exception here. The Onion spoofed the notion of opposition to the opposition.
Derek Murphy continues:
It is tempting to simply dismiss or discredit these reactions as fundamentally misinformed or baseless. However, there is a very real anti-Harry sentiment among conservative Christian churches – and it has a biblical foundation. Thus it is important to look more deeply into the issue and to understand what the religious debate against Harry is all about. As esteemed author Judy Blume points out, it would be a mistake to overlook the real impetus behind the protests.
To a skeptical reader who doesn’t believe in magic, this controversy might seem exasperating; but the root of the issue is that Christians do believe in a super-natural world (and hence, the possibility of magic), and also that the Bible outlines appropriate responses to that world. A literal reading of the Bible makes it clear that magic, spell-casting, divination and communion with spirits are not only real, but also very dangerous.
[A] criticism raised against the Harry Potter series has been that there is no absolute moral authority. Although there are good characters and bad characters in the books, there is also a lot of moral ambiguity and no supreme authority for establishing and policing universal ethical laws. Moreover, ‘good’ characters often behave very poorly – being angry or jealous for example. Harry himself often lies and breaks the rules, is rude towards authority figures and prone to violent encounters with his enemies.
The interesting thing to me is this continuing phenomenon, mentioned above, that in a vacuum caused by the removal of the Christian world view, there is no vacuum remaining but a filled void with a very different set of scriptures still alluding to the notion of good v evil, still allowing of a spirit world. And even a Christian view of the spirit world:
At the end of the last book, we have a dying and rising Potter – he has to be killed to deliver the world from the evil personified by Voldemort. There’s a Christian pattern to this story. It’s not just good versus evil. Rowling is not being evangelistic – this is not C.S. Lewis – but she knows these stories, and it’s clear she’s fitting pieces together in a way that makes sense and she knows her readers will follow.
In other words, it’s not just a product of an active imagination, plucking ideas from the ether but is an almost verbatim repetition of well established occult concerns and imagery. It’s not science fiction, creating an entirely new world and set of physical laws but simply a shifting from one side of an ancient battle to the other, darker side, naturally presented as jolly good fun along the way.
So that lurid dismissal quoted above – the oh FFS, it’s just a story – is undermined by how closely the tale and its values do ape the occult. It may well be that this is just Christian oversensitivity but the parallels are pretty close for someone on either side of the good v evil saga – though not for the irreligious who see nothing untoward at all.
In the end, the irreligious person without a vested interest may well ask, “Well so what? What if it is a portal to the occult – not that I agree it is – but so what if it is?”
Clearly, a detractor of Rowling and Potter has to now establish that there is psychological or social damage resulting from such values getting a grip on youth. And he can well point at the rise in bizarre crimes, murders, rapes, the rise of lawlessness and violence in a country supposedly ruled by law, the emergence of the new savagery, the bugger you Jack, I look after N1.
And detractors counter that there is not one shred of evidence for the concern – the same reaction to hardcore pornography’s ubiquity on the web. A reaction itself without one shred of proof.
Rational people will look at both sides and say that of course twisted values must inevitably result in some sort of twisted world view over time, particularly if they are the only values on offer and being pushed. It’s hardly healthy, they say.
The libertarian comes in and says that to ban Rowling’s books and films is the far greater evil. And thus protected, these values and this world view continue unabated into the Brave New World.