Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the decline of the West

A provocative piece from Mercator Net. Maybe a bit overstated? Judge for yourself. Death stalks Hogwarts.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is scheduled for release July 21. And barring possible plot surprises, heroic Harry is doomed to die in this seventh and last book of J.K. Rowling’s hugely popular teen sorcerer series. He will follow wise and self-sacrificing Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry headmaster Albus Dumbledore and a half-dozen fellow students into some vague though presumably comfortable afterlife, apparently as a disembodied spirit.

Given that the Potter books now rank second only to the Bible in their popularity, what are we to make of Harry’s pending death?

Boasting solid five-star Amazon ratings and over 300 million sales, Potter is a clear symptom of Western civilisation's slow slide back into naturalistic mythic paganism. Despite our electronic heart monitors and computerised intravenous drips, modern technological optimism is finally colliding with the unavoidable reality of death. In a banal mockery of Nietzsche’s "Eternal Recurrence," Western civilisation is reverting to an epoch of tragedy, a worldview that virtually defined the Ancient Greeks and Romans -- and which they then rejected some 1,500 years ago, voting with their feet in favour of the Christian comedy.

2 comments:

UltraCrepidarian said...

Frankly I got tired of hysterical over-reactions to the Potter phenomenon years ago.

It's just a fictional novel, folks. It's not the end of western civilization. Love it, or hate it, it's just a book.

Unlike the DaVinci Code which was Clearly the End of the World. (Remember all the Catholic over-coverage of that? We went off the scale crazy in our over-reaction in conservative Catholic circles. EWTN was giving it like non-stop coverage. Nutbars.)

:-)

+W+

Gashwin said...

Oh, I'm a huge Potter fan. This critique isn't one of those "it's Satanism!" screeds. It is a more measured essay that suggests that the kind of perspective that permeates the Potter books is one that reflects a completely post-Christian view of the world, one that is much closer to the paganism that preceded Christianity in Europe.