Friday, May 18, 2012

Why Do I keep Re-reading Harry Potter

It is a strange thing, but I keep re-reading Harry Potter. I am now reading it for the 3rd or is it 4th time. I do not remember. I am now on the number 4 and am reading it aloud to my family. It works great as a read-aloud. I thought it was crazy when I heard that kids and Adults were reading it multiple times, such as ten times or more. I do not know If I will read it that many times. Why do people keep re-reading Harry Potter?

One reason is it is a pleasure to read. It is a sad situation that people don't read for pleasure. I have been told by many friends they do not re-read fiction books. Why not? I guess if you are reading for the plot, one reading is sufficient. So why do people keep re-reading Harry Potter since they know the plot. Rowling is a creative author. She is steeped in the classics and draws from many classic works. Jane Austen is her favorite author and she has read Pride and Prejudice several times. By the way, C. S. Lewis enjoyed Jane Austen too. Rowling even said Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia has had a great influence on her. Harry Potter operates on many levels so one can keep finding more in it in repeated readings.

Even Samuel Johnson said, "I am always for getting a boy forward in his learning for that is a sure good. I would let him at first read any English book which happens to engage his attention ; because you have done a great deal when you have brought him to have entertainment from a book. He'll get better books afterwards."

One thing I have noticed is that certain views changes after repeated-readings. For example, because of my evangelical background, I was first concerned about the magic in the series. After the second and third readings I noticed that magic is not really what the books are about. They are merely vehicles to tell the story. I think most people who are against Harry Potter because of literalistic thinking. They do not understand the concept of imaginative thinking. For example, Prof. Treelawny is actually critiqued in the books. If Harry Potter is about magic, it is the magic of love.

One aspect of the last book I have find quite interesting is the quest of Harry Potter. Harry Potter's task is to search for Horcruxes to destroy for them. This assignment is given to him by Dumbledore who is now dead. The interesting thing is that revelations have shown Dumbledore to have been not exactly as everyone believed him to be. Harry Potter struggles with doubts and his image of Dumbledore. Can he trust him? I think Rowling is depicting the quest for God and dealing with doubts and unbelief. She has referred to her own struggles to believe in God. I find this quest encouraging in my own quest for God. Another person that searches for God is Binx in Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, but that is a topic for another blog.

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