Escaping Harry’s Grasp No Easy
By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director
CBN.com - “Four
channels!” I bellowed. “I never thought I would see
the day again where we could only get four television channels.”
“Yes, and one of those is the Fox affiliate in Detroit,”
my brother laughed wryly.
In addition to the aforementioned four fleeting pillars of civilization
on our television set, we also discovered that our motel room,
a stone’s throw from the pounding surf of the Atlantic,
did not have a phone. Cell phone coverage was virtually non-existent.
Completing our scene of technological tranquility, it would not
have been out of the ordinary to see a moose go wandering down
the street virtually unnoticed.
On the road with my favorite brother (ok, he is my only brother)
for the first time in nine years, we had journeyed to the far
fringes of eastern Canada to retrace our family’s paternal
roots. And while we found everything we came looking for, even
uncovering several family relics we hadn’t expected, I came
away from our adventure disappointed. For you see, we could not
escape Harry’s grasp.
Allow me to illustrate. In a general store across the street
from our humble motel, far removed from the hustle bustle of what
we consider civilization, a local merchant was furiously trying
to keep up with the demand for the latest Harry Potter book. Tucked
in between camp stoves, groceries, and assorted fishing tackle,
were a quickly dwindling supply of the distinctly emerald colored
“Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince”.
“I would like 27 copies of the new Harry Potter book,”
I joked, as I stepped to the counter to pay for my Diet Coke and
beef jerky treats. “I want to make sure all the children
in the village have a copy before I leave town tomorrow. Consider
it my contribution to literacy in this fine community.”
Not amused, the haggard looking shopkeeper pointed to a spot
in the far reaches of the cozy store and said, “Whatever
we have left is back there by the meat case.”
I just smiled, gave the shopkeeper a knowing wink, and paid for
what I had placed on the counter.
Later that evening, at the only fine dining establishment in
this tiny seaside village, my brother gave me a nudge as we perused
our menus. Having observed my interaction with the shopkeeper
earlier at the general store with a great deal of amusement, he
apparently wanted to see my reaction to what was transpiring behind
me. I turned to see an attractive, vacationing family of four
… a father, a mother, a daughter, and a son, preparing to
eat a scrumptious looking lobster dinner. However, there was a
slight problem. The daughter, approximately 11 years old, refused
to put down the all too familiar emerald colored book to eat her
lobster. Despite the cajoling of both parents, the young girl
was so engrossed by the contents of “The Half Blood Prince”,
that she consumed not a single morsel. Why? So she could churn
out about 50 more pages of the young wizard, Hermione, and the
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft before bedtime.
Because the next two days were spent in and out of family cemeteries,
my brother and I had little, if any opportunity to be dazzled
by “Harry Fever” (not to be confused with hay fever)
as it swept through the Maritime Provinces.
That all changed upon our re-entry to the United States two days
later. Visiting the small town on the Canadian border where my
brother and I had been born, we opted to poke our heads into a
small, antiquated, independently owned bookshop at the epicenter
of the downtown area. For perspective, it is the kind of place
where a hand-operated cash register is the norm not the exception.
The shop’s door had not even resettled on its hinges when
a distinct, authoritative voice, boomed, “You want Potter?”
My brother and I turned to face a wispy, gray haired man, approaching
us from behind a merchandise weary counter. He continued brusquely,
“Because if you do, we don’t have any. Sold it all
on Saturday. I have never seen so many of those little rascals
in my store at one time. Kind of a weird bunch. A lot of them
were wearing those round glasses like the Potter kid wears. A
few even said they could cast a spell on me. Well, let me tell
you, no little 10 year old wearing round glasses is going to cast
a spell on Harvey Henderson.”
My brother and I couldn’t help but chuckle, knowing full
well that Harvey had been a victim of the runaway marketing blitz
of Scholastic Books and J.K. Rowling. It had reduced a stalwart
merchant in the local community to a boisterous, argumentative,
As I left Harvey Henderson’s little book shop that afternoon
I couldn’t help but wonder why Jesus Christ does not have
the same type of effect on people that a fictional school boy
with direct ties to the occult seems to have. Why aren’t
stores struggling to keep the Holy Bible on the shelf? Why aren’t
more children refusing to eat their dinner so they can read more
about Him? Why aren’t gentrified shopkeepers complaining
about 10 year old evangelists proselytizing in their stores?
The evidence in Harry’s favor seems to be undeniable:
First day sales of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
were undeniably high, 6.9 million copies sold in the U.S. and
two million more in Britain alone.
Potter purists contend that the “magic” of the J.K.
Rowling series lies in its cross generational appeal. Simply put,
the books work on all levels as both children and adults can easily
lose themselves in plots of mystery, intrigue, and a fantasy world
of potions and spells.
Finally, Rowling’s books serve as a window to the world,
illuminating current events in full detail. One needs to look
no further than chapter one in “The Half Blood Prince”
to discover reports of widespread terror in London.
Pundits claim the Potter books are all about good overcoming
evil through the aid of loyalty to friends and of course love
for our fellow man.
But one rather critical element is missing. There is no hope.
While the Harry Potter series provides children (and adults) with
the amazing opportunity to improve upon their literacy while becoming
immersed in a world of fantasy, the simple truth is Jesus saves
and Harry doesn’t.
In the Old Testament book of Jeremiah (29:11), it says, “For
I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts
of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
The light that illuminates darkness is hope. Our dreams for tomorrow,
our expectations, our desires – all define hope. Hope also
includes trust, confidence, and refuge in God. As Christians,
we know our future belongs to God, for now and ever more.
He listens when we pray. He answers when we call upon Him. When
we search for Him, He can always be found. God personally cares
for each and every one of us.
No offense Harry, but you do not provide any shred of hope. You
may have your half blood prince but Jesus Christ is a full blooded
Portions contained within this article from
the Transformer Study Bible.
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