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Fantasy and Your Family: Exploring the Lord…
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Fantasy and Your Family: Exploring the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and…

by Richard Abanes

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Fantasy and Your Family, by Richard Abanes, was one of the books I read for research for a speech class. I had to present an ovjective view of a controversial topic, and at the time, Harry Potter was very controversial in Christian churches.

In this book, Abanes discusses his love for fantasy, and he does so from a Christian perspective. In this book, Abanes offers a critique of some fantasy books, but he focuses most of his time on the Harry Potter series. He clearly does not support Harry Potter, and he offers some other classic fantasy stories in its place: The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia.

This book does a good job of summarizing the main concerns many Christians pointed to regarding Harry Potter. The most common concerns are similarities between the magic in Harry Potter and real-world magick and the potential concerns over morality and the types of role models the main characters would be to children.

In this respect, Abanes truly captures the concerns Christians have voiced, but he is, unfortunately, less than fair in his treatment of the examples he offers.

For one, he does a poor job of summarizing what is happening in the Harry Potter books, choosing to offer the worst possible portrayal of a situation as he cites it. For example (and spoilers may follow for any book referenced), he makes reference to the scene in "The Goblet of Fire" when Voldemort is brought back to his full-bodied form. This requires a spell in its various parts, and the shriveled form of Voldemort (which is said to resemble a baby in size) is dropped into the potion. Abanes doesn't clearly explain this, leaving those who have not read the Harry Potter books to imagine an actual baby being thrown into the potion. Obviously, this is a more negative image than the Potter book portrays.

One example of what is, in my opinion, unfair treatment occurs when Abanes mentions swearing in the Potter books. He points this out as being a negative influence on children who read the series. What he fails to mention, however, is that the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia, "The Magician's Nephew," uses the "d" word three times. By his argument, this should be considered a negative for that book, yet it never comes up.

I gave the book three stars because it is well-written, and it accurately conveys the concerns raised by Christians. It is best, however, to read this book only after having read (or while reading) the books mentioned and compared, mainly The Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia, and the Harry Potter series.

It is also helpful to read some positive examinations of the Harry Potter series by other Christians, such as Connie Neal's "What's a Christian To Do with Harry Potter" and John Granger's "Looking for God in Harry Potter." Then one is better prepared to understand both the positive and negative views of the Harry Potter series all from a Christian point of view. ( )
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0875099750, Paperback)

Fantasy and Your Family by bestselling author Richard Abanes presents a much-needed assessment of fantasy—its benefits and its drawbacks. Abanes begins with an in-depth look at folklore, myths, legends, and fairy tales, and their connection to fantasy. Part one also discusses issues involving child development, the affects of literature on children, and how those affects can ultimately change the course of society. Additionally, Abanes examines pop culture, the media, mass marketing, and the commercialization of children’s literature by corporations interested primarily in making money.

This volume then looks at the life of fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien, the popularity of his fantasy works, their content, and what separates them from other fantasy volumes such as Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and the children’s horror books by R.L. Stine. A particularly interesting survey of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings includes a thorough analysis of its storyline, characters, and morality. These are compared side-by-side with Harry Potter.

Finally, Abanes gives an overview of our culture’s growing obsession with the occult, paganism, and witchcraft. Why is it happening? When did it begin? How is it influencing today’s youth? All of these questions are answered through a concise, easy-to-understand writing style. Especially fascinating are the numerous sources of documentations that shows children are indeed being drawn to the occult via Harry Potter. Included are dozens of quotes by Wiccans, neopagans, and occultists that clearly express their belief that Rowling’s fantasy will do much to further witchcraft and the occult.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:08 -0400)

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