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


The “Harry Potter isn’t Christian” thing surprises me. The books are chock full of Christian themes, and explicitly reference Scripture.

Lord of the Rings has a lot of Christian themes as well, specifically Catholic, but on a surface level it could be accused of being pagan (some people do make that accusation.)


Tolkien deeply disliked allegory (and said so in the Forward of the Second Edition of LotR). His mythological cosmography is certainly Christian in form, and he viewed his mythology as fundamentally Christian. What the Ainulindale, the Silmarillion, the Akallabêth, and the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were were a sort of mythological account of creation and the first ages of the world. They were not allegory, but rather invention to sit in some unspecified epoch in our world’s history.

Indeed, in the last revisions of the Silmarillion he did in the mid-1960s, he enlarges the account of the origin of Men (as opposed to the other sentient races; Elves and Dwarves), and makes as plain reference as he ever did of The Fall, with the first Men being turned from Eru Illuvatar (God) by the intervention of Melkor (who was essentially Satan). That’s not allegorical allusion, but pretty much the Genesis account with names switched (he more wisely didn’t make it that explicit in earlier versions).

I find Lewis’s Narnia a bit more hackneyed, in part because it is allegorical, and in part because it does not have the internal consistency Tolkien struggled his adult life to impose on his mythos.


Speaking only for myself, I neither hate Harry Potter for magic, nor love the Lord of the Rings with its Gandalf.

Harry Potter is pretty insipid in the first couple of books, and I know it is a children’s adventure type book, but I am more bothered by the morality of the series. If little Harry Potter would stop blatantly lying to the faces of the adults he trusts, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Voldemorted would have been easily prevented from returning to power. :man_facepalming:

And The Lord of the Rings just puts me to sleep. :sleeping:
Every single book.
Every single movie.
Every time.


As are the Balrogs, and, possibly (there’s a lot of debate), Tom Bombadil.


One thing that bothers me are the orcs.

Tolkien himself changed his mind several times on their origins.


It’s a story and like all fiction and all media can teach us things. I heard the whole thing about evangelicals ‘burning Harry Potter books’ true or not, and its silly. We are adults. Decide what you read, listen to and think about. It’s on your conscience and for you to decide what is right for you, as a Catholic, to listen to.


Indeed, though I prefer to think of Bombadil as some other enigma. Tolkien, to my knowledge, always avoided categorizing him. Even Bombadil could handle the Ring without issue, where Gandalf feared to use it and Saruman was consumed with lust for its power.

Yeah, this irked me a bit, too. But it’s his world.


Not trying to hijack the thread, but since Tom Bombadil has been mentioned: one of the many disappointments for me in Peter Jackson’s films was the omission of TB and Goldberry. I think the filmmakers were quite right to excise them, seeing as how their aim was to focus the plot trajectory as firmly as possible on the Ring quest. Still, I can’t help missing that relaxed, pastoral, oh-so-English episode.


Because Gandalf is a Servant of the Secret Flame :slight_smile:

When asked what that meant, Tolkien replied that it was the Holy Spirit.

When writing, one of his editing passes was devoted to Catholic theology.

Aslan is not an allegory or a Christ-figure; he is literally Christ.



I grew up Assembly of God, and the church and associated school I went to were really against Harry Potter, but that was really just the start of it. They were also against Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Dungeons and Dragons, and Star Wars. Basically, anything popular was fair game if it was at all fantastical and not explicitly Christian. I think Lewis and Tolkien got passes for their Christian beliefs, but honestly, I really never heard about either of them at the church. My mom’s Anglican friend introduced us to Lewis, and it wasn’t until we started attending a Nazarene church that I heard about Lord of the Rings, after The Return of the King movie had already released.

That said, my family was rather consistent and we got rid of anything Narnia and LotR related. I did eventually get into a lot of the stuff later, though, as did my family.

The movies were a bit difficult for me. I can handle most long movies, but I felt that the LotR movies were just meandering aimlessly around, feeling both rushed and too long at the same time. I did enjoy The Two Towers a lot, and there’s a bit of end-of-journey enjoyment at the end of The Return of the King, but on the whole, that’s a trilogy of movies I don’t care much for.

Initially, I really didn’t like the books either. I felt Tolkien was too verbose and took way too long to get to the point, which detracted from the characters and world for me. Recently, I decided to retry reading them, considering my literary and storytelling tastes have changed a lot in the last 5-6 years since I first tried. While I’m still really early in The Fellowship of the Ring, I’m enjoying it immensely more than I did the first time around.


I don’t like either of them, for obvious reasons about witchcraft and wizardry and the such.


I respectfully submit that with regards to Tolkien in particular it is a very good idea to read him and his thoughts on these subjects before coming to such conclusions.


For those familiar with Potter, it is more obviously Christian than Tolkien… you have to really “get” LOTR to understand its Catholicism. Rowling’s Christian imagery hits you like a bat by the time you get to the seventh book.


This perhaps occurred less to me when younger as I did not consider the large number of people reading Tolkien without a Catholic upbringing. For me it was fairly obvious that a Catholic worldview informed the Professor’s works. Especially so when at around age 13 or 14 I read the Silmarillion.


Except they’re NOT ordinary boys and girls. That’s where the polemic always breaks down. Harry is special. It’s a major plot point that normal boys and girls CAN’T do magic. That’s why Harry grew up abused. She despuses Harry for his natural gifts because when she was a little girl it was explained to her that she could never do magic.


They are more akin to Marvel comics mutants or similar evolutionary offshoots from a variety of Sci-fi and fantasy backgrounds. I prefer Tolkien’s more low magic world myself or Robert E. Howards (thought I do not with some rare exceptions rate the latter as equal to Tolkien generally).


Yes the Marvel comparison is apt.


If a bit obvious and to be fair Rowling has remained more consistent with her themes of exactly how and why magic users are prejudiced against. Then again Rowling is not in the position of having hundreds of writers with different outlooks working in vastly varying eras handling her creations.


Gandalf is a REAL wizard. Harry Potter is just a wannabe.

In all seriousness I think both are fine from a moral perspective, although I understand others complaints against HP for trying to integrate it into our world, whete LotR is more a world of fantasy.

For a young reader I have to give a nod to HP. Tolkien, especially in LotR, is a much more challenging read; better suited to high school level.


Some people have trained their brains that anything that wasn’t around when they were kids must be evil.

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