Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Obviously can't say much about the book itself other than that it is thoroughly predictable even as to the identity of the mysterious half-blood prince, and yet thoroughly enjoyable. Hopefully in what follows there are no spoilers.

What we learn:

(1) And the greatest of these is love
(2) Do not do what you do not know
(3) Evil always overreaches itself because it believes itself more powerful than good
(4) Make no promise that you are not willing to keep

All pretty good lessons for young people. I am hoping though that part of the overall message of the series does not turn out to be "The end justifies the means." A friend of mine suggested that the introduction of non-verbal spells may provide a way out of that dilemma. We have yet to see.

Rowling is not a great prose stylist--there are any number of problems with her writing, sometimes more glaringly obvious than others. What Rowling does do is weave a good, lengthy, complex story--by that I refer to the entire series rather than to the single book.

Another failing is that while Rowling often allows us to see action, her writing sometimes becomes muddled in the heat of action. And finally, she isn't really good at emotion. Harry angry is much the same as Harry sad. Dorothy Parker's quote regarding Katherine Hepburn applies.

Nevertheless, the books are interesting, fun, fast reading. They undoubtedly teach some very important lessons--although to that point there are other books that do it as well or better. However, these other books fail to engage young readers in the same way as this series. Yes, magic is used, as it is in innumberable works of children's literature throughout time. That's because the best children's writers have not forgotten that all around childhood there is a sense or a touch of magic. Those writers engage a child's sense of otherness. Hence, I believe the popularity of these books.

No, my prime objection to a child reading these books is simply that they might learn less-than-adequate prose style. Hardly a debilitating or incapacitating problem.

Those inclined to read it, get it and do so, I'd love to be able to discuss it. Those no so inclined--you're missing a little magic, but then you probably find it elsewhere--no great loss for you.

One last note--while this is shorter than Order of the Phoenix what she has served up for the last book promises a work four times as large. Given her at times torpid pace, I cannot begin to imagine how she will cover the necessary ground. But I can't wait to see it done.

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I come to you via dailymeditations. I'm stunned to see a promotion of Harry Potter...I'm stunned at alot of the secular idoltry epitomized here. Help me understand?

Are you Catholic? I'm an avid reader of the scripture meditations sent...but after landing here, via the link at the btm of the latest email...well, I'm stunned.

Dear Tricia,

Thank you for your visit and your comment. It has been a humbling experience.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 28, 2005 9:25 AM.

Kant and the Catgorical Imperative (Not Really) was the previous entry in this blog.

For all the Texas Mommies is the next entry in this blog.

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