The Harry Potter series has been recommended and unrecommended to me many times over the last decade. A few weeks ago I was cornered by a friend and I promised that I would read the first book of the series.
I took the promise seriously enough to read the book, and I just finished it yesterday. As its proponents promise, the book is a quick read with a quick moving and compelling story. The imaginative elements introduced by Rowling are always interesting and enjoyable, if not particularly original or deep. One example of what I considered a lack of depth is the Mirror of Esired (Desire), which is etched with a cryptic message about its frame. The message is simply a sentence in English, written backwards. I can’t help contrasting this with Tolkien’s literature, which entailed the development of entirely new languages.
In the end, I was left with a positive impression of the moral content of the books. It is true that Harry doesn’t always tell the truth in his dealings with the various characters at Hogwarts. But to me, these considerations will only present difficulty to the morally abstruse. The shining light of this book is the message of friendship, loyalty, and courage that seems to me the overriding theme. Children (and adults) that take these lessons to heart will be well fed by the material of Rowling’s first yarn.
However I enjoyed the first book, it may take more duress to prod me to the next.