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Customer Review

91 of 100 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I read Harry Potter. Did Abanes ever read it?, May 25, 2002
This review is from: Harry Potter and the Bible : The Menace Behind the Magick (Paperback)
I think not.
The author of this book twists and distorts the Harry Potter books into an almost unrecognizeable shape, and then criticizes the inaccurate representations he created. His arguments are one straw man after another. Here are just a few examples:
Page 16: "Muggles are consistently portrayed by Rowling as a narrow-minded and callous group of persons unable to grasp the glory of magic." This is entirely untrue. Harry's best friend is Ron Weasley. Ron Weasley's father is a low-level bureaucrat in the wizarding hierarchy, whose duties lie in hiding the use of magic from muggles. He is repeatedly amazed at the ways muggles manage to accomplish things without the use of magic, and finds muggle items like telephones to be absolutely ingenious. After Ron Weasley, the second major supporting character in the Harry Potter books is Hermione Granger -- a muggle who comes from a family of muggles, and is the first person in her family to ever study magic. The only person in the books who holds muggles in contempt is Draco Malfoy, a student at the school who comes from a long line of wizards, and who Abanes himself describes on page 17 as "mean-spirited, arrogant, and deceitful." Draco Malfoy, not J.K. Rowling, consistently holds muggles in contempt, and the protagonists of the stories argue against that notion at every turn. There's no way a rational person can miss these facts in reading the Harry Potter books.
Chapter 2 of this book supposedly deals with the occult elements in Harry Potter, but only 4 of the first 31 references are from the Harry Potter books. The other 27 are from other sources. Abanes blows smoke like this throughout the book -- he will mention the Harry Potter books, then make citations about some other book, then mention Harry Potter again, and make another irrelevent citation. It's an attempt at guilt by association. He also cites connections to Greek language and mythology as though they are ties to the occult.
Abanes's other main argument in this chapter is that Harry is a bad role model for children because he displays poor ethics in the book by repeatedly breaking rules at Hogwarts. Pinocchio had Jiminy Cricket, The Little Mermaid had Sebastian, and Harry Potter has Hermione. This is a fundamental character structure found throughout children's literature -- the flawed main character disobeys authority and is constantly reprimanded by a supporting character who serves as the protagonist's conscience. The interactions between Harry Potter and Hermione that Abanes cites on pages 34-36 are identical to those in Pinocchio or The Little Mermaid. If Abanes intends to condemn Harry Potter on these grounds, then he is making a sweeping condemnation of virtually all classic children's literature. And if he thinks heroes who make poor ethical decisions are unbiblical, he obviously has never read the bible. Adam, Moses, Jonah, King David, Joseph's brothers... Need I continue?
To show how magical fantasy stories can be done consistently with the bible, Abanes cites Tolkein and C.S. Lewis, and claims on page 234 that "Tolkein's stories do not include episodes of good characters doing bad things (e.g. lying to friends or stealing from authority figures) in order to accomplish a good task." Once again, however, Abanes is 100% wrong.
In The Hobbit, Bilbo lies repeatedly about the magic ring to the dwarves and to Gandalf, until he is forced by circumstances to reveal the truth. And later, when Thorin Oakenshield is searching Smaug's lair with the other dwarves for the Arkenstone (which rightfully belongs to him), Bilbo steals the Arkenstone, hides it from the others, and lies about it for days. Then, after lying once more to his friend Bombur who was on sentry duty, Bilbo hands the Arkenstone over to Thorin's enemies in order to force Thorin to negotiate for its return. There you have multiple examples of Tolkein's characters doing precisely what Abanes claims they never did -- lying to their friends and stealing from authority figures. How did he possibly overlook these when he made that patently false claim?
It seems to me that Abanes began by concluding that Harry Potter was bad, and tried desperately to find justification for his position in the Harry Potter books. If you've never read Harry Potter or Tolkein, Abanes is probably very convincing. But if you have read these books, you've got to wonder whether Abanes ever did.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 6, 2007 3:52:27 PM PDT
molly says:
Excellent and well-thought-out (and well-explained) review. I've never read this book, and I hope in heaven's name I never have to.

Posted on Jun 12, 2009 9:21:54 AM PDT
I also find it funny that Abanes criticizes the main characters for doing "bad things". I am a devout Christian and I really enjoyed Harry Potter. I have also read the Bible and let me tell you, a lot of the "good guys" in that do VERY bad things. They DO suffer the consequences and they very often have their own "Hermiones". King David had Nathan the prophet, Pontius Pilat had his wife, etc, etc. The Bible DOES say that involvement in magic is wrong, but I don't consider reading a book about make-believe magic and make-believe people to be "involvement in magic". It's just a flight into the imagination.
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