Ixnay on the Atinlay

I hope you all enjoyed my Bridge to Terabithia review. I’ll have the movie review up soon.

I’m in the process of moving and job-hunting this month, not to mention I have a friend’s wedding and two cons to attend in the coming weeks. Thus, my reviews may be sporadic, but I’ll try to post them as regularly as possible. In addition, Banned Books Week is coming up, so I’ll definitely be posting things then.

In the meantime, however, I bring you this:


I came across this article about teen exorcists this afternoon and it seemed to stem from the same crazy place as the Connecticut petition to remove Bridge to Terabithia over concern that the book taught “evil spells” (see Terabithia review for details). The girls in this article fear Harry Potter’s sinister influence because “The spells you are reading about are not made up. They are real and come from witchcraft.” (see above link). They believe that reading the spells makes the reader vulnerable to demonic possession.

First off, the spells in Harry Potter are just pinched from Latin words or roots. If Latin comes from witchcraft and reading Latin (or pseudo-Latin) puts someone at risk of demonic possession, someone ought to tell the Catholic Church. If that was the case, Catholics, prep school students, and classics majors should all be possessed by now. Not to mention that other group that uses Latin: exorcists. There’s also the little matter of Rome being the one imposing Christianity (and Latin) on non-Roman, non-Latin-speaking pagans. The history student in me is cringing right now.

Secondly, why do so many people not seem to understand that children’s fantasy fiction is fiction? Neither Harry Potter nor Bridge to Terabithia are spell books. Neither are instructional guides to witchcraft, magic, or “New Age” religions. Neither depict pagan religions or practices in the slightest. Both writers (and their characters) clearly come from Christian backgrounds, though Harry Potter is more secular than Bridge to Terabithia, as it never addresses Christian theology directly.

So why are parents so quick to take fantasy as reality when their children are more than capable of discerning the difference? Why do some Christians seem much more convinced that pagan magic is real than actual pagans? It’s a phenomenon I’ve never understood but, given the frequent challenges to both books on such grounds, one that is very real. Much more so than a few Latin-ish phrases in a children’s book.


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About boundandgaggedbooks

Shannon is a freelance writer and folklore buff. She has a degree from Hampshire College in Creative Writing/Mythology & Religion, with an emphasis on epic/oral traditions, their anthropological implications, and their modern counterparts. Her work can be found in Fabulously Feminist, Wolf Wariors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology, The Concord Monitor, Redhead Magazine, and The Climax.

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