The Harry Potter series is a modern classic. There have been other books since that were incredibly popular (Twilight, The Hunger Games), but I’d argue that none of them will have the staying power that I predict Harry Potter will.
The series is entertaining and imaginative. One of the best things is the way it grew up with its original readers. The first two books are clearly for children. The third book begins to get a little darker, a bit longer, and is a sort of transition. Then the fourth book is basically twice as long as the first few and much scarier. I recently read the first three books to my daughter. She’s seven and loves reading on her own. I told her there’s no way I’m reading the next book to her: its too long to read out loud and, I think, too scary for a seven year old.
Ultimately though, the final book makes the series. I can think of other series I’ve loved initially that either became bloated as they expanded from seven book series to fourteen (The Wheel of Time) or the writer just gave up even trying to finish (Game of Thrones). Rowling deserves credit for planning a seven book series and wrapping it up with the best book in the series.
It is in the final book that deeper themes take root. (Spoiler alert) – The fact Harry defeats Voldermort by laying down his life is both beautiful and Christlike. I’d argue its beautiful because its Christlike. Something deep inside of us yearns for good to overcome evil. Something even deeper yearns for that triumph to happen in surprising, nonviolent ways. Speaking of which, the movie totally botched this up. When Harry lays down his life, dies and returns, he is no immune to Voldemort’s attacks. The movie exchanged this profound theme for a pretty poor fight scene.
I can’t end this post without mentioning the irony that, when I first heard of Harry Potter, it was from Christians who feared witchcraft. Those same Christians often read the Left Behind series which, both on a literary level and a theological one, is absolute garbage. I am much more comfortable, as a parent and Christian, with the messages in Harry Potter. It is both entertaining and encouraging. I look forward to rereading it again! Just because my daughter is too young to go on to book four, it doesn’t mean I am!