Oh, how I love the Harry Potter series! I suppose it's time to start the seventh (or is it eighth) re-read so the books are fresh in my mind before Part One of Deathly Hallows comes out in November. A new trailer was released yesterday. Have you seen it?
Do you love it? Is it November yet? Why can't it be November yet?
I was hooked on Harry Potter after being forced to watch the Prisoner of Azkaban at the dollar theater with some friends. Yes, I was a little late to that party (blame my innate suspicion of all things hyped) but I have more than made up for it since with incessant revisiting of both the books and the movies. I think they are exceptional story-telling.
Keith was also a little skeptical of HP at first. His first encounter with the series was the book, Prisoner of Azkaban, for a children's lit class in seminary. He was initially turned off by the trio's blatant rule breaking, their constant defiance of authority, and the exceptions and allowances made by those authorities on their part because Harry is (or is he?) the Chosen One. Seemed to Keith that this did not set a very good example for children and young adults to follow.
Of course, on closer consideration, you realize that while the trio certainly are not rule-followers, they do display excellent moral character- standing up for the weak, the marginalized, befriending house elves and half-giants. The children show remarkable lack of bias, insatiable curiosity, compassion towards others, and of course, strength of character- all of which are essential to the events of the final book. Harry, Ron and Hermione have to be willing to break some rules when it comes to standing up against the authority of the ministry of magic. They have to be curious enough and strong enough to keep fighting as the fight gets more and more dangerous and demoralizing. They have to remember and respect the rights and freedoms of those they're fighting for- muggles and centaurs and house-elves and just regular old witches and wizards.
The heroes of Harry Potter are true heroes. And while the books may not encourage strict rule-keeping they do constantly embody virtues like goodness, kindness and mercy; friendship and bravery and learning. And when you consider that strict rule following can lead directly to things like the Death Eater's rule or even Nazi Germany, well, I think I'd rather raise children who have strong moral character than children who fall in line and are afraid to make waves in the face of troubling circumstances. All that to say, I think Harry, Ron and Hermione make fine role models and I am more than willing for my children to read about them, love them, and emulate them when the time comes.