Sunday, July 15, 2007

John Granger's Book is Ludicrous?

I was glancing at the Sunday edition of the NY Daily News (yes I'm a barbarian for not reading the NY Times, sue me) and I noticed the insert of USA Weekend. On the cover it said, "How will Harry Potter end? Muggles weigh in". Curious, I turned to the page and was treated to a barrage of predictions by various muggles including Emerson Spartz, founder of Mugglenet whom I seen in person at a Barnes & Noble but sadly never met. The predictions are a treat but what really got my attention was the opposite page. It read:

Some Potter goods we could live without

We adore the Harry Potter books and movies, but Hogwarts' hero also has been exploited for a lot of junk that makes nose-biting teacups seem useful by comparison. Among the ludicrous Potter products we won't be sorry to see vanish:

Scores of absurd tie-ins include If Harry Potter Ran General Electric, Looking for God in Harry Potter and our personal favorite, Harry Potter and International Relations, in which the boy wizard is linked to real-life globalization and geopolitical issues.

Other products were mentioned from crazy costumes to wands and brooms; the exact specifics not important to this discussion. The fact that the author of this two-page piece, Jeffrey Ressner, has John Granger's book Looking for God in Harry Potter, proves that he is merely judging a book by its title. I highly doubt that Ressner read Granger's book (ditto for the other two titles he mentioned) for a small piece in an article that focuses exclusively on "Harry Potter Predictions". Now why would Granger's book be labeled "ludicrous", "babbling", "junk", and something "we could live without"? Could it be the possibility of a religious underpinning in the Harry Potter series? After all J.K. Rowling has went on the record before and said that her faith is a clue to the end of the series. What is so "absurd" about looking for God in a series about wizards and Dark Lords?

I also take issue with Ressner's statement that Granger's book is exploiting Harry Potter. Granger in his book has written that as a homeschooling father, he was wary of JKR's novels but after reading them he changed his opinion of them. Granger's reason? "These stories resonate with the Great Story for which we all are designed". Granger's intention in writing this book was to show why these novels are popular. Is it exploitation to write a book discussing the Christian meaning behind the Harry Potter series? After all JKR has said that she is a Christian and that she attends church. Once again I ask what is so "absurd" about looking for God in Harry Potter?

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