BOOK CLUB: Harry Potter Series

Harry PotterWell, I knew attempting to read the entire Harry Potter series in one month was a bit ambitious. (And why did I pick the shortest month of the year?)

I only made it through 4½ of the 7 books. I’ll need to start March’s book club selection, Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, soon. But I’m going to see if I can finish the series by reading it here and there, before the release of the final movie installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, this July.

I’ve really enjoyed the series so far. I don’t find J.K Rowling’s prose very artful (although it’s hard to follow up with anything after reading To Kill a Mockingbird last month!) But it’s not dreadful either, and she is a master story-teller.

For years I’ve wondered what all the hubbub over Harry was about. And now I get it.

I’ve written before that I believe all great stories are great because they echo The Story…the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And Harry Potter’s story is no exception.

I remember when Harry Potter first became popular over a decade ago, there was a swirl of debate among the Christian community about whether the books were appropriate for followers of Christ. I can understand why a believer might not approve of the books—and I am a strong advocate that every person needs to decide for themselves and their families according to conscience. But I personally find the books quite compelling and even inspiring.

My 7- and 8-year-old boys have been asking to see the Harry Potter movies because many of their friends have seen them. I don’t think they’re ready for those for several years—some of the imagery is just too dark and intense for my little guys. (As a reference, they’ve seen Episodes 4-6 of the Star Wars saga, but not Episodes 1-3.)

But I told them they could read the books (or at least the ones I’ve read so far!) In my opinion, far too many of today’s male pop culture role models are goofballs. I love the idea of them reading about someone who’s not much older than they are, but is truly a hero.

My 8-year-old is really into the first book, and we’ve had some great discussions already. My favorite was about the significance of Harry surviving Voldemort’s death curse because his mother sacrificed her life for his. It’s not often I get such a natural transition to sharing the gospel with him

So who else has read the Harry Potter books? Did you enjoy them? What kind of decisions have you made for yourself and/or your kids about the appropriateness of the series? Who wants to go see Deathly Hallows, Part 2 with me in July?

Join me in reading March’s Book Club selection, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan!


6 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Harry Potter Series

  1. Hey Stephanie!

    I'm trying to keep up with you (and take Young Adult Literature this semester – yikes!) but let myself off the hook for this series, which I had already read. I got irritated after they delayed the fifth (I think?) movie's debut so it would be more “profitable” and read the series so that I could see how it turned out.

    Anyway – My girls (11 and 9) have taken an interest in the Harry Potter movies and want to see them. We have been super-conservative in the movies we allow them to see, so they haven't seen many live-action films at all, and certainly nothing as dark as Harry Potter becomes. I told them that they could see the movies after they read the books. So far they have finished the first two books (and movies). Maggie is on book 6, and Gracie is somewhere in book 3. This way they can ask me questions and kind of have some idea of what is going to happen in the films so that it won't be as startling. I feel like Gracie is losing steam, and I'm not going to push her to finish. I think it's getting a bit darker than she's ready for yet, but we'll see.

    Just as a note – my in-depth project for this semester is to read/watch three YA books that have been made into movies and critique the book to film adaptations. I wanted to find something that had not been as well-critiqued as Harry Potter, but going through the reviews I was curious where it fell in the age range recommendations. The recommened age range for the Harry Potter series is 10 – 12 in most book reviews.

    Oh – and on the way to church a few weeks ago, the girls were discussing Harry Potter and Gracie asked, “Do witches and wizards believe in God?” I gave it my best shot (books, imagination, good vs evil, the Bible says. . .) and later asked our children's pastor what he thought a the answer to that question would be – he said, “Yes, they do, but most of them don't serve God.” As a future librarian, censure isn't something I support, but as a parent I understand and accept that we have to be vigilant about what our children are exposed to at various stages.

    Well – that was more of a comment than I'd intended when I started. Enjoy your books!


  2. Wow, I'm impressed you read 4 1/2 in such a short period. I haven't read them but know they're quite fat! 🙂 -Renee


  3. S, I'm so impressed that you got thru 4 books–especially with all of the “house” drama lately. I read thru #2, and I started 3. I'm trying to decide if I should keep reading them thru March, or read “Beloved” (I have already read Joy Luck Club, and haven't read Beloved.) Anyway, I too love the stories in the books–I can totally see the appeal now. I especially loved discussing them with Erica–she LOVES them, and is reading the series thru for the 3rd time. I loved finally learning the meanings of terms I have heard in the HP culture–Muggles, Quidditch, etc. My favorite character is Hagrid, followed closely by Ron and Hermione. Rachel (almost 8yo) begs daily to be able to read the books, and if she gets her math grades up, I think she can read at least #1 and 2.
    Thanks Steph, love Theresa


  4. @Suzy – Let me know if you come across good books or movies (or combinations thereof) for kids in your reading for your class!
    @Renee – Don't be too impressed. Some of the books are very long (“Phoenix”, which I'm reading now, has 900 pages!) But they are very easy reads. I'm not even a very fast reader.
    @Theresa – What did you decide: “Beloved” or more “HP?” I'm pretty addicted to HP…it was hard for me to put it aside to read “Joy Luck”. But “JL” is really fabulous so far.


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