Why is Harry Potter hated by some Catholics for magic when lord of the rings has Gandalf who was a wizard?


#1

Serious question. I mean how is Harry worse than Gandalf


#2

Hmm…well, I love both series (books and movies for both) but for quite different reasons. Harry Potter is so much of an adventurous page-turner. There are positive archetypal themes in HP, but mostly I think it’s just a great adventure story. LOTR however, is on another level in terms of literary depth. You wouldn’t know how deep LOTR goes except by reading the books. I mean, he’s right there with Austen, Melville and Dostoevsky in terms of exploring the depths of the human condition. It’s almost wisdom-literature. So very deep and rich at exploring so many aspects of humanity.

But, in a way, they’re both archetypal stories that have created alternate worlds in which magic is a real thing. So, from that perspective, I’m not sure why one would be opposed to HP.


#3

Tolkien was a devout Catholic and this shines through a lot of his writing. If you’re familiar with Tolkien’s world, you’ll actually find that Gandalf was not a man or elf at all, but a Maia, which is basically a lesser angel, who is capable of things beyond what mere mortal men or even immortal elves can do. (Sauron, too, is actually a Maia)

I have no issues with Harry Potter myself. It’s all good fun, imo. But in Harry Potter its ordinary girls and boys running about casting spells. Rowling ties historical witch trials and such into her world. People worry that Harry Potter will lead kids into the occult. There’s basically nothing really occult in the Harry Potter books, though the class of Divinization is probably most problematic, even if it is played for laughs.


#4

For some people, it’s the same, and Tolkien (and Lewis with the Chronicles of Narnia) are just as suspect.

If you’ve read Lord of the Rings, then this question is actually answered to some extent in The Fellowship of the Ring, when Sam asks Galadriel about magic, and she responds to him that she is not sure what he means by magic, because the word is used to describe both good works and healing and “the deceits of the Enemy.”

Gandalf is a “wizard,” but in Tolkien’s world, that means he is not human, but a different order of being altogether (a rough analogy would be an angel.) So the fact that he can do things that mortals cannot is not a twisting of nature. Harry Potter is supposed to take place in our world, just a fictional part that is unseen by non-magic people, and the spells are roughly Latin in origin and “interfere” with the laws of physics as we know them. Some people think that’s evidence that it’s occult.

I think both are fine from a moral point of view, but Tolkien wrote better fiction. :nerd_face::wink:


#5

In many ways Gandalf is a type representing Christ, while as far as I know there is no such figure in the Harry Potter series.


#6

Personally I don’t care for either Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings, but that’s just because the “fantasy” genre has no appeal for me, either in books or movies. I took my grandson to see one of the Harry Potter pictures once, and I didn’t much care for it as entertainment, but I saw nothing to object to on religious grounds.


#7

Harry himself, actually.


#8

Because one exorcist that people always cite is against Harry Potter and they take his word for Gospel. You get that over and over again on this forum. Nothing you can say will change their minds.


#9

I don’t read any of them. Really could never get into all that fantasy and Christian-allegorical stuff. I tried, but it just wasn’t interesting. If my kid or family member wanted to read any of the books, I wouldn’t mind, unless they started getting way too into it. I’ve seen people for whom LOTR was very destructive, regardless of whether it has some character like Jesus or angels in it.


#10

I always thought Harry Potter to somewhat be that figure. He was the promised one, he must die, the resurrection stone…


#11

Harry is the figure representing Christ in Rowling’s series.


#12

Tolkien is known to be a respectable Catholic so gets no flack.

Yet Rowlings thought up her books sitting in a chapel crying her way through a massive depression.

Both are in fact respectable Christianity wise.


#13

Protestant fundamentalists lump both Rowling and Tolkien together, calling the latter a hell bound Roman Catholic.


#14

Do they attack cs Lewis too then?


#15

Yes they do. Several fundamentalists regard mainstream Protestant Churches as the harlot daughters of the RCC. This includes the Anglican Church of which C. S. Lewis is a member.

There was this particularly wacky blog of a woman who was a Dominionist. She said that C. S. Lewis used pagan and mythological creatures in his stories which she said was sinful.

Some people say his use of Turkish delight in his first story, The Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe encouraged drug use because apparently hashish was one of the main ingredients of Turkish delight.

I usually respond that writing a stories with brownies in them would encourage marijuana use since everyone knows marijuana is one of the main ingredients of brownies. :roll_eyes:


#16

I would think the original question could only be addressed one person at a time. Neither complaint makes no sense to me, and I doubt any two people would have the same reason.


#17

Because Gandalf is cool and snarky and Harry is an annoying emo teen


#18

The themes in Harry Potter don’t have Christian allegory like LoTR, and the general tone of the novels “feel” a bit closer to the actual wizardry/new age stuff that people dabble with in real life.

As a kid, I was playing Dungeons and Dragons and reading much more heavyweight fantasy novels than Harry Potter, so Harry Potter seemed light in comparison. Combining my experiences from youth with my adult life as an RCIA Catholic, I would say this: fantasy does have dangerous potential because you can fall in love with it, become obsessed with it, and escape into it so thoroughly that you prefer the fantasy world to real life. And I definitely wouldn’t say this describes a fringe minority of people. There are a lot of people can develop that obsessive-level interest with the fantasy world and that is not good because as Christians we should not be lost in our own minds and fantasies. We need to be truly present in the life God has given us. Real life is more epic than fantasy.

(And yes, people can become obsessed with all sorts of things besides fantasy. Like most things, it depends a lot on how you choose to let it affect you).


#19

Why is Harry Potter hated by some Catholics for magic when lord of the rings has Gandalf who was a wizard?

Oh, not all of them accept Tolkien’s writings either. I think it might have been Fr. Shannon Collins or Fr. Philip Wolfe who gave a somewhat infamous sermon railing against LOTR…


#20

Probably just a matter of timing. Most backlash occurs at the height of a book’s popularity.


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