Friday, May 07, 2010

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Eight: Imagination And Technology

The greatest opposition towards the series still lies in its theme of magic; parents feel that it promotes witchcraft. The series undoubtedly deals with magic, wizards, and witches, but does that mean it is about or promoting witchcraft? Might there be more to it than just that? Many critics in the field argue that the series isn't about "magic" at all, but that its deeper meaning is conveyed through the symbolism of magic. McVeigh speaks of Rowling's own declaration "that her books are not about 'magick' in the sense of Wiccan practice, but about imagination" (198). Imagination is a very suiting subject for a children's story, and what better way to get those imaginative juices flowing in a young child's head than by creating a world for him/her full of mystery and surprises. Imagination isn't the only theme proposed, though.
The magic of Harry Potter may also be symbolic of our own technology. In his article entitled "Harry Potter and the Disenchantment of the World," Michael Ostling critiques Rowling's novels as "no cause for concern for Christians, because it is not 'real', occult magic. It is instrumental rather than religious or mystical and parallels technology" (6). That may seem a stretch, but a closer look confirms that most of the magic in the stories mirrors current technologies or near-future technologies. A self-shuffling deck of cards is no more magical than the self-shuffling programming found in almost every household computer (Ostling 10). It is important to see that difference. Mystic, traditional magic is found in the stories, but on rare occasions. Generally, the magic we encounter is completely explainable in our own world. A flying car is a novel idea, but hardly worth noting compared to the jets and rockets we launch every year.

Previous: Part Seven
Next: Part Nine

1 comment:

Niels and Susie Jensen said...

Thanks so much for thinking of us, Papa on the Seattle deal!