Harry Potter is all over American front pages today and the opening of “Deathly Hallows, Part 1” is huge news for millions of younger Americans. We’ve got lots of fascinating news—and great ideas for sparking discussions about Harry Potter.
IS HARRY POTTER CHRISTIAN? IS THIS RELEVANT TO OUR FAITH?
YOUNG READERS TALK ABOUT WHAT POTTER MEANS IN THEIR LIVES
Part 1: Teens take issue with the idea that Harry Potter is “Christian.”
Part 2: Readers tell us about their hopes for the new movie. (Don’t worry. No spoilers!)
EXPERT HELP IN SPARKING A HARRY POTTER DISCUSSION
HARRY POTTER NEWS NATIONWIDE AFTER MOVIE OPENINGS
THIS IS BIG NEWS NATIONWIDE!
Click on our ReadTheSpirit coverage, above, if you’re unaware of the enormous, generational impact of Harry Potter. Today, the New York Times’ famous film critic A.O. Scott calls this a “permanent fixture of the literary landscape.” This film, Scott writes, “will attract the passionate, the curious and the nostalgic in large numbers. And they are likely to be pleased.”
AT RIGHT is a snapshot from today’s Cape Cod Times. Cynthia McCormick started her front-page story this way: “For the current generation of teens and 20-somethings, the carved oak doors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry opened up a world of childhood magic. But those doors have started to creak closed.”
THE BALTIMORE SUN reported on a 50-year-old librarian, Lisa Woznicki, and her 16-year-old daughter who showed up in costume for the midnight opening. “I have a McGonagall hat—why not put it on,” said the librarian. And, “I have to be at work early tomorrow morning!” Baltimore Sun reporter Jessica Anderson then added that both mother and daughter agreed: “It’s worth the lack of sleep to be able to participate in the film debut—especially with only one left.”
IT’S NOT ALL IN BIG CITIES
AT RIGHT is a snapshot from the front page of the Appeal-Democrat in the Marysville, California, area. Reporter Howard Yune wrote, in part: Camping out in lawn chairs and blankets on the tile floor of Cinemark Yuba City, dozens of fans whiled away the hours before the projectors began rolling on three screens for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.” Among the faithful re-reading their “Potter” volumes and dashing off online updates to friends on their cell phones was a wistfulness about soon having to let go of the characters they had followed for years in novels and films, many growing up along with Potter and his friends.
“I was already sad when the last book came out (in July 2007). It makes me sad that after July, there’s not gonna be anything else,” 20-year-old Kaytlyn Dale of Nicolaus, who had arrived at the Yuba City theater at 3 p.m. Thursday wearing the skirt-vest-tie ensemble of “Potter” heroine Hermione Granger.
IT’S NORTH AND SOUTH
So far, readers might connect the dots in our coverage and conclude: Well, this all is a West Coast and East Coast “thing.” Given the initial skepticism among evangelicals about Harry Potter, that geographic pattern makes sense. But that’s not the case! Potter is such a generational tidal wave, that these stories are popular in the South as well.
AT RIGHT is a snapshot from today’s Baton Rouge Louisiana Advocate. Reporter Chante Dionne Warren wrote her story from interviews at last night’s movie debut, and she picked up another fascinating detail in her reporting: Other Harry Potter fans, including members of the Quidditch Club at LSU, planned to catch Thursday’s midnight release of the movie, said Chris Orf, 20, an LSU biological sciences junior. Quidditch is like soccer, only on broomsticks. In the books and the movies, the players fly through the air.
At LSU, Orf said, the action is like a cross between soccer and dodge ball, with players running with broomsticks between their legs. The LSU Quidditch team earlier this month placed fifth out of out 46 teams competing in the international Quidditch World Cup championship game in New York, he said. Orf said he has read all seven of the books in the series and saw the first Harry Potter movie at age 11..
We want our international conversation to continue
Conversation is far better than the dangerous shouting matches we’ve been witnessing in our global culture recently. So, please, email us at [email protected] and tell us what you think of our stories—and, please tell a friend to start reading along with you!
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