Children should draw their own conclusions

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, January 11, 2004

In response to Mr. Liliedahl's response to Mr. Ashton's letter about "Harry Potter" and the "Lord of the Rings": As an avid LOTR fan I am obliged to speak and proffer my carefully calculated convictions. First of all, I think that Mr. Ashton's question, why are kids allowed to watch Potter and not LOTR is a valid one. Equating LOTR and Potter on the terms of magic and fantasy is also valid because we are not talking about an adult; we're talking about kids and a wizard, elf, dwarf, black rider, or anything in LOTR will conjure a similar sense of fantasy, as a trip through Hogwarts will. I agree that LOTR has a little more depth and violence to it, but that's because Mr. Tolkien spent a little more time on Middle-Earth than Rowling did on Potter (his whole life). The beauty of LOTR is that anybody can enjoy it: Kids for its fantasy; adults for its virtues; Christians for its religious allusions; artists for its cinematic sequences and uses of color; and music buffs for the awesome score. "Harry Potter" is slightly more one-dimensional as it targets only the childish part of us.

I also want to say that LOTR is not a Christian text. The nature of a text is not as determined by the author as it is by the reader and his interpretation. I'm not religious, so I don't interpret LOTR in the same way as Mr. Liliedahl does, but that doesn't hinder my enjoyment of it. I think that's also the reason why parents are restricting kids from seeing "Harry Potter." They assume that there is a single interpretation of the movie (fantasy is fun, thus good) and only one way to apply that interpretation (forget homework, I'm a wizard!). Perhaps parents should loosen up and allow their kids to draw their own conclusions about "Harry Potter, or else they won't be accustomed to thinking for themselves and won't be ready to when they have to. The reality is that these movies are just movies and fantastical ones at that. They really have a small bearing on what happens in reality.

Byron Wild


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