The Deathly Hallows – My Personal Take

Last night, shortly after midnight, I finished J.K. Rowling’s’ latest (and sadly last) installment in the adventures of Harry Potter and his companions from the wizarding world.I’m not giving anything away of the plot when I say I was very satisfied with the ending. My admiration for the writing ability of Ms. Rowling increases each time I read her work. She does what so many of us would like to do: create a world and a cast of characters readers truly care about. And at the same time she gives us rollicking adventure, humor, and important moral lessons.Much as been said about the phenomenal growth in the number of juvenile readers since the first Harry Potter book came out. For that reason alone J.K. Rowling deserves the praise and rewards she has received. But she also tapped into a world that appealed to the child still living inside adults.I hesitate to describe a book about wizards, witches and magical creatures as “real”, but on some level, she is able to make that world very real in important ways. How wonderful is it that today’s children can read something so imaginative and still learn so much. Ms. Rowling based much of her wizard world on myths and fables that have been around for hundreds of years. And yet she breathed new life into them in ways that both charm and inspire the reader to learn more.

I find it sad that there are people out there who condemn these books as dangerous for young minds. We can only assume that these folks have not read the books for themselves, relying instead on second-hand reports of what they contain. The central message of the series has been that love is the most important element in life; that honor, truth, and helping others is essential to the soul’s survival in the afterlife. You learn that greed, hunger for power, and betrayal of your fellowman is the path to the soul’s destruction. I fail to see how this can be dangerous for children or adults, for that matter.

Count me as glad that years from now, young children will have the pleasure of discovering these books for themselves, and can begin the adventure of reading and developing their imaginations. My hope is they will be encouraged to read the books first, then enjoy the movies as a supplemental visual journey. By the end of this decade, all the movies will be made and available on DVD (or whatever medium is in vogue by that time). If you find yourself in a position to influence the learning of a child ten or fifteen years from now, I hope you will give them the first book, followed by the first movie, and then progressing along with the next book, next movie, until all have been experienced.

The child who learns to read books (and I mean real books as opposed to picture books or comics) will be set on a path of lifetime learning and creativity. And maybe, just maybe, our society will survive.

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