My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

31 August 2007

The Stars Aligned

Last night we finished our summer book club, concluding our discussion on St. Athanasius' On the Incarnation first and G. K. Chesterton's Heretics second. Throughout this time, I have read other books, one of which was the last Harry Potter novel. I tend to keep quiet about the Potter novels because I know some folks are uncomfortable with the idea and presence of magic. But though I've been quiet, I'm not apologetic about reading the books because they are simply great stories.

What might Potter have to do with Chesterton? Wonderfully, Alan Jacobs explains: in Heretics, Chesterton ably defends what he calls the "penny dreadfuls", unsophisticated, even unliterary works of popular fiction. Books with exotic locations, roaring stories and simple characters. Jacobs nicely argues that the 3500 pages of Potter might be the greatest penny dreadful ever written.

Really, just read Jacobs' article. It is outstanding as is everything I've read of his. [Note: it won't make much sense to folks who haven't read the books. But if you are a Potter opponent, it would be good for you to see the other side, to understand why some conscientious Christians read them.]


Sir Ryan said...

I really enjoyed that article. I've always known that the Harry Potter books weren't "high literature", but they are fun stories and I enjoyed them. Now I can talk more seriously about the idea and worth of these "penny dreadfuls." Thanks.

jmark said...

Jared - if you like Potter you might enjoy RP minister Warren Peel's take on it. You can listen here:

Anonymous said...

Don't cry "I need help!" yet go home and turn on the television. The gods don't respect this.
There is no such things as a savior. This is yet another tactic they have employed as temptation, much like "earning" or distractions.
You have to save yourself.