The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 68 - 11/25/2001
Are You Wild About Harry?
Have you seen the movie? What did you think of it? Do you think that the movie will bring more people into Paganism or to the study of real magic(k)? Do you think that this is a good thing or not? Do you think that the witchcraft and magic and spells as depicted in the movie accurately (though exaggerated) reflect the basic premises of Witchcraft and magick and spellwork as we know it? What do think a good response would be to both those who want to 'do it like Harry' and to those who believe that Pottermania is anti-Christian or enticing children into the 'world of the occult'?
| Reponses: There are 80 responses posted to this question.
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| I Have Not Yet Seen The Movie, But Am Dieing To. I... ||Nov 19th. at 5:58:56 pm EST|
|Raven Whitewolf (Hanford, California US) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I have not yet seen the movie, but am dieing to. I have heard great things about it, and of cource, any movie that does not portray witchs as evil, satan-worshiping old hags, always gets a few brownie points in my book. I have read all 4 of the books at least 3 times over (each), and loved them each and every time.
I believe that it will be very hard for this movie to live up to everyone expectations, because the books are done in such detail and everyone's vision is different. I am hopeful that it will live up to most people's expectations at least in part.
| Sorry, This Isn't Going To Be About "harry", Haven't Seen It Yet... ||Nov 19th. at 6:44:00 pm EST|
|mik63033 (Ferguson, Missouri US) ||Age: 41 - Email |
Sorry, this isn't going to be about "Harry", haven't seen it yet, plan to thanksgiving. Wish me luck. Even though this is technically a few wks. coming (in other words, late), it does have to do with how "Witchcraft" is portrayed by the entertainment industry, so I hope this post stays posted.
I didn't give much thought to the "recommendations" Perspective, though I did run across a video yesterday that deserves mentioning. From time to time I play Wiccan watchdog in my local video rental chains, interested in any movie with Wicca or Witchcraft as it's subject matter or in the title, and how it's being portrayed to the general public. I ran across this little semi-precious gem in the "Horror" section at my local Hollywood Video. Never mind the fact that it's a comedy (more on this later).
It's called "Equinox Knocks", and going by the hokey cover on the video box, I expected this to be more trash from your typical anti-Wiccan bitter little man with misogynist tendecies who's socially retarded and just plain slow. I was very pleasantly surprised.
The filmaker admits before the movie actually begins that she knows nothing about Witchcraft among other things. What's important is that first, she was honest; second, a lead character who's a witch is portrayed in a VERY positive light; and last but not least, I got a kick out of it. It was a hoot! And anyone familiar with highschool will relate. Of course there are some silly elements (pardon the pun) ala "Charmed", and I'll admit there's this whole sub-plot that's way Cheech and Chongish, and o.k. - the witch is suspiciously like Willow of "Buffy" fame. That doesn't matter though. It's fun! Check it out and enjoy.
By the way, I told the manager that anyone renting it expecting a horror movie would be disappointed because it's a comedy. I wouldn't count on any video rental store having any movie in the right section. Go to the check-out where the computers are and ask if they have "Equinox Knocks" and have some laughs.
Love, winks, and plenty of popcorn
| The Movie Was Excellent; Under The Prodding Of My 14 Year Old... ||Nov 19th. at 9:02:32 pm EST|
|Gale Price (Starkville, Mississippi US) ||Age: 48 - Email |
The movie was excellent; under the prodding of my 14 year old I read the first book of the series a year or two ago; I think I will find the time to read the rest of the series soon.
It is strange, but the children's books that have likely brought the most young people to Paganism were written by active and thoughtful Christians (the Lord of the Rings & the Chronicles of Narnia). As for whether this series, a standard British boarding school series, graced by fine writing and Halloween-style regalia, encourages anyone toward Paganism --- time only will tell. The work's only approach to the occult, so far as I can see, reflects the play-fascination of imaginative children and the child's fascination for worlds where the rules are "all different." Not much Gardner, or Golden Dawn, or Crowley to be found in Harry Potter --- just kids at play.
Harry Potter is, however, a wonderful antidote to the closed mind. As a book that kids want to read, as a celebration of the imagination, and now a delightfully intriguing film, it is great stuff. I am rather more interested in persuading kids to use their brains than in "enticing" them toward anything --- I am of the opinion that Harry Potter, in book and in film, encourages children of all ages to open their minds. I love Harry Potter, as I will love anything that leaves my children seeing more, dreaming more, and imagining more. "Occult" has nothing to do with it.
| How Many Attracted Through Potter? How Many Attracted Through Mists Of Avalon... ||Nov 19th. at 10:37:25 pm EST|
|Tarostar (Toronto, Ontario CA) ||Age: 59 - Email |
How many attracted through potter?
How many attracted through Mists of Avalon? J.R.R. Tolkien?, or the book MORNING OF THE MAGICIANS?
Those who feel the call of the deep will search it out. Those who only enjoy fantasy won't.
I see the anti-potter hype only serving to draw attention
to the books and film. I often wonder if not some smart publicity agent doesn't put out the fundy hysteria him/herself?????
I was more concerned with the depressed puppies, who might be moved toward the occult by the movie The Craft, than with Potter.
Also, I usually leave the room, when someone comes into The Occult Shop asking for Sliver Ravenwolf's Teen Witch Kit. Don't get me started!!!!! BB
| A Lot Of Praise Out There For Potter, And Rightfully So--- The... ||Nov 19th. at 11:18:53 pm EST|
|breeze (pasco, Washington US) ||Age: 40 - Email |
a lot of praise out there for Potter, and rightfully so--- the movie remains surprisingly true to the first book. after reading responses here and on other witchvox pages, i'll add the following unsung praises and criticisms: excellent casting of alan rickman as snapes, john hurt as ollivander, fiona shaw as aunt petunia and zoe wannamaker as madam hooch---they were perfect for these roles. a stunning set for diagon alley, brilliant paintings 'come alive' throughout the halls (wonderfully subtle effect), and good costuming all around. negatives: really poor CG effort on the forest centaur and fluffy the wonderdogdogdog (coca cola polar bears from the early 90's were more impressive), and the soundtrack was a huge disappointment (no memorable melodies throughout the entire film--test yourself, can you hum any of it after your first showing?)--- john williams does a blatant reconstruction of his former work (plenty of Schindler's List at Hogwartz). do i think the movie reflects on wicca and neo-paganism? no more than dorothy and the wizard of oz.
| Blessings, I've Read A Fair Amount Of Reviews On The Net And... ||Nov 20th. at 2:47:55 am EST|
|GaiasForestChild (Plymouth, England UK) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I've read a fair amount of reviews on the net and for whatever reason it seems that the pagan ones tend to be somewhat more forgiving and positive.
I must admit I never read the books which is probably why I found the film plot disconnected and patchy. The director leaves a lot of unnecessary things in and leaves out some important parts (hey, come on, of course we all loved the baby dragon but he didn't serve much of a purpose!). That wasn't at all helpful to me, not having a background in Potter.
Then again, as I understand it there isn't much of a plot in the book either - it's basically a huge introduction to the characters with a bit of action stuck on the end.
Oh, they really could have spent a little more on cgi both time and money wise; I mean just compare quidditch and the pod race (star wars) and you'll see what I mean!
That said, it was an enjoyable film. It was ok - just not as great as everybody made it out to be and be honest - how many of you are really going back and watching it again?
| I Haven't Read The Books, And I Probably Won't See The Movie... ||Nov 20th. at 7:32:55 am EST|
|John ("New Naumkeag", Ohio US) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I haven't read the books, and I probably won't see the movie till sometime after Thanksgiving; I wonder if a lot of people in the U.S. are like that, and I wonder, thus, if this question should have been asked in a week or two.
Anyway, from what I know (from reading about the Harry Potter books), they seem to be good children's fantasy books and nothing more.
Like Tarotstar wrote in an earlier post, those who feel the call can feel first it a variety of settings, including fiction. But, that is all they are: settings in which a real call might be more easily heard. In other words, there must already be a call, which for the Craft is not very common and which must thereafter be pursued in Reality.
Otherwise, fantasy stories involving magic and Witchcraft are just that: fantasy stories. If the past is prediction (like Tolkein's works), fantasy stories like Harry Potter won't have an effect much beyond that of entertainment.
As for the Harry Potter movie, I can make one remark without having seen it. I saw the *lines* of families (not just kids, but whole families) waiting to buy tickets to see it. My first thought was: "It's this generation's 'Star Wars.'" But, there was something else to see, obvious and easily overlooked. Families were actually going to the movies together, as families. And that was a wonderful bit of magic to behold. That wasn't the Craft. Instead, that is the magic of being human and the magic of a good tale that is able to bring everyone together for a moment of levity and entertainment and as families.
Blessed Be and (for those in the U.S.) Happy Thanksgiving.
| I Have Read All Of The Harry Potter Books And Thoroughly Enjoyed... ||Nov 20th. at 9:56:47 am EST|
|Eeluna (Hurricane, West Virginia US) ||Age: 41 - Email |
I have read all of the Harry Potter books and thoroughly enjoyed them. I also enjoyed the movie. However, I don't see any connection with the religion of Paganism/Witchcraft. Yes, they use wands, but wands are a common tool in fantasy, fairy tales and magician's acts. They also have brooms, and again, brooms are a cliche when it comes to witchcraft. Rowling used well known tools of magic to set the mood with her readers. These aren't secrets of the craft. Everybody already knows about wands and broomsticks. The magic performed is of the common Hollywood variety. It's been around as long as movies and is just as real as the other special effects. We have all been raised on movie magic. It's wonderful in the theater, but most of us don't believe it's real.
The only way the Harry Potter stories are truly magical is in the reader's imagination. I have read sci.fi./fantasy books all of my life. They are my favorite type of entertainment. Sometimes they will make you think about things in a different way--perhaps even expand your mind, but they will not change your philosophy of life unless you were already leaning that way.
Very few, if any, people will be drawn to Paganism because of these books/movies. I consider the Star Wars series to have more in common with the religion of Paganism than Harry Potter. The Force that the Jedi's use closely matches what I think of as the magickal power of the Universe. The Jedi actually have a religion/philosophy that can be compared to Paganism, but did it draw a lot of people into our religion?
I think that a person who is drawn to Paganism will be more affected by the true magick and wonder in Nature than by a children's movie that, while delightful, is pure fantasy.
| Merry Meet Fellow Wiccan's And Pagan's! I'm A 16 Yr Old Female... ||Nov 20th. at 10:52:51 am EST|
|Shea (Gladstone, Queensland AU) ||Age: 16 - Email |
Merry Meet Fellow Wiccan's and Pagan's!
I'm a 16 yr old female in Australia and I practise WitchCraft. I am thrilled that the Harry Potter Movie has become a success, but I checked out the link in the review you guys had posted, and I was astounded that Christian's could compare this wonderful movie and book series to EVIL?!?!?! I was completely shocked when I read their comments! The movie and books does nothing of the sort to convey children towards evil, but as far as some people are concerned, evil is enlightenment and knowledge into fellow religeons, and lives and beliefs! If I could I would tell everyone out there who believes in this delightful series, to keep on with their OWN thoughts and beliefs, and to ignore the people that try to change those, that try to conform you to their lives.
I have read the books, and as the movie has not been released yet down here in Aus... I can't wait to see it. My younger brother (13) loves the books, which is a very good thing because he doesn't like reading as much as he could, as he's had trouble with reading. The only things my Mum and I could get him to read where books on Pokemon, and do the Christian's believe this as evil? I don't know, but both movies/programs/book series' have portrayed the same thing... FRIENDSHIP and LOVE and KINDNESS to everything and EVERYONE, which is maybe something these people who believe in God as much as they do don't realise, it's also (as far as I know) what God wants us to be like... the very embodiement of those three things.
Blessed Be everyone,
and I'm sincerely sorry if I have offended anyone out there by something I have said.
| Okay, I Am Just Wild About Harry!! I Own All Four Books... ||Nov 20th. at 11:44:37 am EST|
|Jennifer (Chicago, Illinois US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
Okay, I am just wild about Harry!! I own all four books, bought them for my step-sister (I am 28) and I cannot wait to be first in line for the fifth, sixth, and seventh. I will be seeing the movie tomorrow night as a little pre-Thanksgiving feast. Can't wait!
I am very annoyed that this charming CHILDREN'S book has received so much debate. What is with people these days? Are there no real problems that need to be solved? No, I do not think that HP will convert kids to witchcraft (though, lets be honest. What the Christian fundamentalists most likely mean when they say that is Satanists.) If CHARMED, THE CRAFT, and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (Willow is so powerful she can attack demi-gods!) hasn't made every (pre)teen want to cast a spell, then this book couldn't add too much temptation.
Do I think HP is an honest representation of modern witchcraft? No. It's not supposed to be. In the books, there are no mention of Gods and Goddesses (except for the ones Rowling included in the Chocolate Frog cards, love thoes!) Witchcraft is a religion and a choice. In HP, witchcraft is a physical trait, like being left-handed.
I must add that it isn't just the conservative christians who are leary of HP. I have heard a (very) few witches/pagans go off about the inaccurate portrayals. Too you I say "Lighten up!"
| Hmm, I Have Read 3 Of The 4 Novels And I Ate... ||Nov 20th. at 12:05:52 pm EST|
|ƒowyn (Western, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
Hmm, I have read 3 of the 4 novels and I ate them up. They were fabulous and I have to say that Rowlings is truly a magician in her own right. She has gotten the over-indulged, video game fed, imagination starved youth of the world to start reading. Someone mentioned in an earlier post that these books, and the subsequent movies, have brought families together for the first time in a generation! If that is not magic, I don't know what is.
Personally, I hated the movie. It was shot badly and edited even worse. The things that they left out of the movie, while supposedly small, were significant in their own right. I understand that they needed to cut some of it out for time's sake, but it is the subtle use of detail that makes the books come alive. I have to say though, if they can take the Diagon Alley set and transplant it into reality, I would be a regular shopper!!!
With regards to the idea that Harry Potter represents Wicca, I answer thus ... Harry Potter is to this generation what The Wizard of OZ was to their parents and grandparents, nothing more. The fantasy, magic and wonderment that we absorb ourselves in is the same fairy land that took Hans Christian Anderson's audiences away. It excites the imagination and stimulates the senses. Having said that, one can see where the correlation between Wicca and make-believe exist. Yet there is where it ends.
The only plus to the Community is the representation of magic and witches as something neither evil nor destructive. Maybe this will help to alleviate some of the stereotypes. But then, I was "outted" as a Wiccan by a girl who saw Scooby Doo & the Witch's Ghost ... go figure :)
| Sure, I Like Harry Potter And Have Read The Four Existing Books... ||Nov 20th. at 1:20:47 pm EST|
|Linda (Milwaukee, Wisconsin US) ||Age: 53 - Email |
Sure, I like Harry Potter and have read the four existing books. But it has little to do with my religion. The books are great escape fantasy for me and my grandkids. My daughter is to busy to read them but she wants to see the movie. The magic of Harry Potter's world is too easy, by which I mean too fantastic and glamorous. My magic would seem small and boring and hard work by comparison.
The holidays at Hogwarts lean toward the Christian. They have a Christmas holiday, not a Winter Solstice or Yule holiday. They have Halloween, not Samhain. I don't know if the author is Pagan but I doubt it. That doesn't matter though, as she has spun a great series of stories which have their own morality and adolescent problems that people from many religious traditions can relate to.
As to whether Harry Potter generates interest in Paganism, of course it does! Many people will explore Paganism because of Harry Potter. Some may even choose a Pagan path, but only after they realize that they won't become Harry Potter.
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