Chapter 8 is a gem: “Harry Potter and the Triumph of Self-Sacrificing Love” (pp. 125–46). It’s the best treatment I’ve read that (1) responds to Christians who think that the Harry Potter series is evil and (2) exults in its dominant (Christian) theme—self-sacrificing love. [Read more…] about Exulting in Harry Potter
Jenni and I have enjoyed listening to it. We’re about 12 hours in to this massive 60-hour book. (Warning: The opening part about the priest is s-l-o-w [and we used double-speed!], but it picks up after that.) Jenni read it several times in her teens, but this is my first time through the unabridged version.
The narrator is not bad. You can sample the audiobook here. [Read more…] about Audiobook Sale for Les Misérables (2008 Translation by Julie Rose)
After living in Narnia with our daughter for about the first half of the year, we moved to Middle-earth.
C. S. Lewis would approve. He wrote this in a letter to a girl named Lucy in 1957:
I am so glad you like the Narnian stories and it was nice of you to write and tell me. . . . Do you know Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings? I think you w[oul]d. like it. (C. S. Lewis Letters to Children [ed. Lyle W. Dorsett and Marjorie Lamp Mead; New York: Macmillan, 1985], 75.)
We’ve lived in Middle-earth for about four months, and it’s been a delight.
Middle-earth has been more challenging than Narnia since only one of J. R. R. Tolkien’s four books is for children (The Hobbit) and since The Lord of the Rings trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) is so long and complicated. But we persevered, and it was worth it.
Here are ten resources we used to enjoy Tolkien’s world:
1. The Unabridged Books
These are classy, sturdy hardbacks with a smattering of illustrations: [Read more…] about Ten Resources for Enjoying Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
John Granger. How Harry Cast His Spell: The Meaning Behind the Mania for J. K. Rowling’s Bestselling Books. 4th ed. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2006. 304 pp. (34-page sample PDF)
I actually read a few others, too:
- Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader
- One Fine Potion: The Literary Magic of Harry Potter
- The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles
But they weren’t as captivating as this one (at least as this one starts out—it fizzles a bit).
I didn’t plan to read to read it straight through. I checked it out via my public library’s inter-library loan, and I planned to give it about 30 to 60 minutes. But after reading the first few chapters, I bought it in Kindle format and marked it up as I read the whole thing straight through. Chapters 1–10 and 19–20 are more interesting than the others.
The book is popular, not academic, and sometimes it is a bit corny. But its insights are worth the read. I don’t follow all of the symbolic connections Granger makes in this book: some of them seem like too much of a stretch (especially when deriving hidden meanings via tenuous etymologies), but most of them make sense.
I didn’t know that there are “Potter Scholars,” but TIME calls John Granger the “Dean of Harry Potter Scholars.”
One point that Granger demonstrates very well is that all seven Harry Potter books are filled with implicit and explicit Christian themes. He begins to unpack his argument in this sample PDF, but the rest of the book relentlessly and overwhelmingly proves that argument.
This week Jenni and I finished re-listening to Jim Dale’s masterful reading of the Harry Potter series.
We enjoyed it so much the first time that we read the books again two years later, and the timing was just right. We loved it right out of the gate in book 1. We made so many more thematic connections the second time through that we missed the first time. (We initially focused on putting together the broad storyline.) What a pleasure.
Children often have this experience:
- the Harry Potter saga has wrapped up,
- the Anne of Green Gables tales are done. [Read more…] about Successful Rereading: Maintaining the Magic
My oldest daughter just finished hearing The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time. After we finished The Last Battle, Kara asked wistfully, “Daddy, are there any more Narnia books?” I had to confirm what she already knew: there are only seven Narnia books.
But she’s already looking forward to reading them again and again and again.
We utilized ten resources to enjoy Narnia, and I recommend them all:
These are essential. All other resources merely supplement them.
It is pure pleasure to read these aloud to your children. [Read more…] about Ten Narnia Resources
Last weekend my wife and I watched the film Courageous, which opens at 900 theaters nationwide on September 30.
About the Film
- Videos and photos
- YouTube Channel
- Created by the makers of Fireproof, the #1 independent film of 2008
- This is the best of the four films that Sherwood Pictures has produced in terms of filming, acting, and storyline.
- It focuses on multiple aspects of fatherhood and depicts that weighty responsibility as a high calling. It makes a strong counter-cultural statement about fathers courageously leading their homes rather than selfishly abdicating their responsibility. [Read more…] about Courageous