Harry Potter V reviews

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Keble

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This is not going to be a great review, because I read the book at my maximum speed, which is fearfully fast. And it's late, and I just drove to Frostburg and back (6 hours plus round trip).

Much of what I liked in the earlier books is there: the distinctly drawn characters, the slightly mad humor, the wonderful names, the page-turning story. As with the previous book, this one takes a while to really get underway; lots that is intersting and amusing happens in the early chapters, but you don't get much of a sense of forward plot motion. When the plot really kicks into gear, though, it takes off like a runaway freight train.

This is no longer totally a kid's book; it has definitely stepped into YA territory. There is a lot of moral ambiguity, and Harry is forced into a lot of uncomfortable realizations. Harry goes through a lot of teenage agnst, and depending upon your perspective you will either find this very tiring or all too realistic.

In the end I liked it a lot, but I'm going to need more time to sort it out. The plot is quite complicated, and there's also a lot of data dump scattered through it (one reason why it's so long).
 

TomS

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My wife picked her copy up early Saturday morning. She finished it Saturday night. And read it again on Sunday.

But then again, when it comes to reading - she is obsessive!

 
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Hypo-Ortho

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<sigh> Once again, I have to wait until the DVD comes out! :(

Hypo-Ortho
 

Keble

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Hypo-Ortho said:
<sigh> Once again, I have to wait until the DVD comes out! :(
I see approximately zero percent chance of the fifth book being made into a movie. Maybe a mini-series.... They're already talking about having to split the fourth book into two films.

 

katherine2001

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I have to admit that I don't understand how a 900 page book can be read in 1 day. One of my co-workers did that too. I did get 200 pages read last night. I'm only about 1/3 of the way through the book. I like what I've read so far.
 

Asteriktos

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When did Harry Potter go from every Christian's favorite whipping boy to every Christian's favorite, gotta-have-it, work of fiction?

Justin

PS. I take no position regarding whether it's "good" or "bad," (and my spiritual father sees nothing wrong with it) I'm merely curious.
 

uturn

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I wonder what Father Seraphim Rose or great and revered saints, such as St. Theophan the Recluse, or St.Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, would think of dear 'ol Harry?


 

Keble

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Paradosis said:
When did Harry Potter go from every Christian's favorite whipping boy to every Christian's favorite, gotta-have-it, work of fiction?
I don't think it ever did. There's always been the knee-jerk reaction to the word "magic"; a lot of these people also object to Tolkien and even Narnia. The press covers these people heavily, out of laziness and because the press enjoys feeling superior to these people.

The impression I've gotten is that the mainline Christian community was neutral about the books at first, but has become more enthusiastic as the books have continued to appear. The most recent one is in particular morally very challenging (and a great invitation to discussing the issues with your kid), and the mainline churches want people to think about morality. The press is starting to listen to this buzz too (if for no better reason than that they need a constant supply of stuff to write about).

It's rather interesting some of the comments being made by the English teaching community. There's a lot of hope being placed in the books as far as getting kids (and in particular boys) into the reading habit (and also a lot of pessimism). Some of the stuff that comes up under "if you liked Harry Potter...." They all recommend Tolkien, of course. I saw one article referring to Narnia as more advanced, which is just isn't true. I've seen any number of people recommending the Philip Pullman books, to which any Orthodox parent is certainly going to have huge objections. I've not read them (my wife has), but the impression I get is that the first is OK enough and that the last is an out-and-out denunciad against everything Christian-- like The Mysterious Stranger but a lot worse. Literature recommended for teens is heavily laced with trouble teen books, which I have to doubt the wisdom of (and besides, by that age I had already read Jane Eyre anyway).

Telling detail: Harry Potter V grossed more over the weekend than The Hulk did.
 

DerekMK

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I wonder what Father Seraphim Rose or great and revered saints, such as St. Theophan the Recluse, or St.Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, would think of dear 'ol Harry?
FWIW, the monks at Saint Anthony's don't like it. This order comes from the top too, from Elder Ephraim. So I assume all the monasteries under his spiritual guidance (four on the Holy Mountain, 18 in America and a few more in Greece) are all opposed to it - and they truly live the tradition of above mentioned Saints. Here is a link to a pamplet on it http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/cgi-bin/cp-app.cgi?usr=50X1195489&rnd=8904178&rrc=N&cip=68.98.118.131&pg=prod&ref=3HARRYEP1&cat= I haven't read it yet, but maybe I'll pick it up next time I head down to the monastery in the next few weeks.
 

Anastasios

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Nektarios,

Please put long url's in url tags by clicking the picture of the globe on the second row of the "Add UBBC tags" that will say "add hyperlink".

I will correct this instance.

Thanks!

anastasios
 

Keble

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Nektarios said:
I wonder what Father Seraphim Rose or great and revered saints, such as St. Theophan the Recluse, or St.Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, would think of dear 'ol Harry?
FWIW, the monks at Saint Anthony's don't like it. This order comes from the top too, from Elder Ephraim. So I assume all the monasteries under his spiritual guidance (four on the Holy Mountain, 18 in America and a few more in Greece) are all opposed to it - and they truly live the tradition of above mentioned Saints. Here is a link to a pamplet on it link I haven't read it yet, but maybe I'll pick it up next time I head down to the monastery in the next few weeks.
Judging from the blurb, I don't have much confidence in it. Nobody knows what "real" witches did. It is true that much of her detail is "correct", but "correct" means that she is true to ancient and medieval lore. For instance, the properties rattled off by Snape in the first potions lesson reflect what medievals did believe about the items mentioned. They did believe that the shriek of the mandrake as it was uprooted would kill you. Her description of the basilisk itself is atypical, but her description of how it was formed is spot on. There was no religious content in these beliefs; it was what passed for scientific knowledge.

As far as modern witches are concerned, it has almost nothing to do with that. There's nothing occult about magic in Harry Potter; Rowling makes it out to be like a musically talented child learning to play the violin.

Also, the quote from Rowling refers to the bad guy. It comes from an interview in USA Today and refers to her depiction of Voldemort and his minions, not to Harry. Anyone who finds Voldemort attractive already has, in my opinion, a problem that avoiding the book isn't going to fix.

I'm not dismissing it out of hand, but the blurb suggests that it falls into the knee-jerk reaction against the word "magic" group.
 

DerekMK

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Anastatios,

Thanks for correcting it this time; I'll try to get it right next time. Although I think I am the only person in my generation that is somewhat confused by computers.

Kelbe,

I know they are not just knee-jerk reacting to this because it has fantasy and magic in it. For example they see nothing wrong with Lewis or Tolkien. Harry Potter is a much different story though...

 

Keble

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Nektarios said:
I know they are not just knee-jerk reacting to this because it has fantasy and magic in it. For example they see nothing wrong with Lewis or Tolkien. Harry Potter is a much different story though...
Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn't. I haven't read the pamphlet, so I can't make definitive statements about its claims. All I'm saying is that the blurb is consistent with an alarmist tone about occultism in general, of a sort which isn't concerned with the underlying moral message of the stories and which doesn't get its facts straight.
 

srenalds

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I think it's better to not read the Harry Potter books... Why trust JK Rowling and question Elder Ephraim?

I don't know the Elder's position on Tolkien or Lewis, but I have some doubt that he'd be in favor of people picking up and reading these books.

Throughout my life, I've been one of the biggest fans of this type of entertainment/literature. Most of these books feed a fallen imagination. Therefore, (hypocritically speaking) it's probably best to ignore them.
 
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Hypo-Ortho

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Personally, I am an adult Orthodox Christian without an Elder (Staretz, Geron) to guide me. Sometimes, however, I think this seeking after eldership can go too far and result in a cult around the Elder, even if the Elder does not encourage such, IMHO.

I do have my parish priest, who is also my normal father-confessor, however, and I do know a hieromonk and another parish priest fairly well, and if I have questions of a spiritual or moral nature, I raise them with them. But as far as the Harry Potter books, I don't see them as important or influential enough in my own life to even bother my confessor, the hieromonk or the other priest with such trivia.

Hypo-Ortho



 

Bobby

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Hi Hypo,

You state a good reply.

I too have noticed among some people, converts of course, that a "cult of elder" does in fact take place. I guess in some way this is expected as people generally are looking for guidance in a fallen world, thus the elder seems to embody elements of truth and godly qualities. Nevertheless, it is incredible annoying to hear some rant on and on about how their spiritual father said they could do this and that but not this.

While a good spiritual father is a TREMENDOUS blessing, I think if one is "stuck" with his parish priest he is still in good hands. After all a priest is a priest, and all can minister Confession to the ill. But like the rest of humanity, spiritual fathers are also of a fallen nature, and sometimes can be swept away in the pride involved when people look to you for guidance and support.

Just my opinions,
Bobby
 

Keble

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srenalds said:
I think it's better to not read the Harry Potter books... Why trust JK Rowling and question Elder Ephraim?
Because this is the wrong way to phrase the choice.

In the first place, if Elder Ephraim doesn't understand or for that matter even read Rowling's books, the value of his advice concerning them is at best uncertain, at worst presumptuous. You cannot serve the the truth from above by bearing false witness.

Rowling's books do not, I think, intend any sort of spiritual advice. Nor do I think they intend to provoke any interest in the occult, and indeed it seems to me that they ridicule the more shallow-end occultish crap (fortune-telling in particular), and that they are repulsed by more serious stuff. What they do intend to do, quite clearly, is promote a sort of moral awareness which Elder Ephraim could certainly then take advantage of and embue with spiritual graces.

In this sense the latest book is not trivial. But what it is teaching is an awareness of other people and an awareness of the difficulty of treading the right path-- not the path of holding to the right tenets about God, but the path of doing right. In one sense, her purpose is thus not to supplant Elder Ephraim, but to prepare people to meet him. Those who are unprepared to meet the elder are often enough prone to combine their faults with his and come away from the encouter worse than before. Rowling's purpose is to activate the reader's moral intelligence; and thus prepared, those who seek the Elder's advice are better prepared to embody that which is Godly in it, while seeing what is unGodly in it for what it is and setting it aside. SHe does not seek to be the Elder's enemy, but his ally.
 
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