Just Fantasy? Think again: “The War for Our Children’s Souls”

(Jae Stellari – this post is in line with your earlier comment.  Many make the claim “it is JUST fantasy/fiction/a book/ a story”)

IMPORTANT: Do girls need “fantasy”?

The finest contemporary writer on the topic of fantasy literature, etc. is Michael O’Brien.  Please visit his excellent website: http://www.studiobrien.com

UPDATE 12/19/09 – O’Brien has just written on the Twilight Saga: “Twilight of the West”.  Please read this very important article HERE – if you want a quick few excerpts, I have posted some here.

The following  excerpts are taken from his article “The War for Our Children’s Souls”, written at the time of the Harry Potter craze.  If you read carefully – especially the third paragraph – I think you will notice an incredible similarity between what he is saying about the Potter series and the comments I wrote about Twilight in the post “Is Twilight Anti-Christian? Yes.”

“…The power of symbols, specifically their transmission through children’s literature, has been examined in depth by scholars as varied as the psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, the theologian-ethicist Vigen Guroian, and the philologist-fantasy writer J. R. R. Tolkien, all of whom emphasize the remarkable beneficial effects of the right use of symbols. They refer to classic fairy tales as an exemplary literary genre that helps form in a child a genuine sense of virtue. This is so, they believe, because such traditional stories reinforce the “moral order of the universe”, regardless of how fantastic the scenes and plots may be. ..

the symbols in our minds exercise a certain power over us (often subconsciously), and this is especially so in the minds of the young. Symbols are keystones in the architecture of thought, indeed in our perceptions of the structure, if you will, of reality itself. If we lose symbolism, we lose your way of knowing things. If we destroy symbols, we destroy concepts. If we corrupt symbols, concepts are corrupted, and then we lose the ability to understand things as they are, rendering us vulnerable to deformation of our perceptions and our actions

There is of course some courage and love in the Harry Potter series, but it is the mixing of these admirable qualities with loathsome behavior that makes it so deceptive. It must be remembered that courage and love can be found in all peoples, even those involved in the worst forms of paganism. The presence of such virtues does not automatically justify an error-filled work of fiction. In Potter-world the characters are engaged in activities which in real life corrupt anyone who practices them, weakening the will, darkening the mind, and pulling him down into spiritual bondage. Rowling’s characters go deeper and deeper into that world without displaying any negative side effects, only an increase in “character.” This is a lie. Moreover, it is the Satanic lie which deceived us in Eden: You can have knowledge of good and evil (youwill decide what is good and what is evil), you can have enhanced life, you can have God-like powers. (EDITOR’S NOTE: SOUND FAMILIAR?  READ STEPHENIE MEYER’S QUOTE AT THE BEGINNING OF “THE TWILIGHT SAGA – A CRITIQUE” EXPLAINING THE APPLE ON THE COVER OF TWILIGHT.) In Potter-world the message is, such powers are a birthright, a natural faculty that needs only to be awakened and informed in order to be used properly.”

Let us pray for the grace to discern wisely.



  1. Twilight – my love for Twilight is shallow, compared to my love of the Harry Potter series. The Sorcer’s Stone was the first true chapter book I have ever read. I have cried over the characters, and I have laughed with them for eight years.

    And now you’re calling it filled with “loathsome behavior that makes it so deceptive”?

    Okay, so now, I’m really trying not to go off on a rant. Really. I want to address the point, and defend Harry Potter to the best of my abilities. Only I’m not quite sure the point is.

    Which symbols are corrupting? Do you mean witchcraft? Because at this point, that’s in half the fantasy books, and most of the well written ones.

    And if people who read the books use that as the reason/inspiration to join the occult, then they’re clrealy not hard core Harry Potter fans, and aren’t aware that they’re just a more persistent version of Petunia Dudley (this was a conclusion we reached during a random debate in Harry Potter club – if you want an arguement created by people read each one of the books too many times to count as to why joining the occult is anit-Harry Potter, just ask)

    So, if the symbology is witchcraft, and thats what you mean by activities which weaken the will and darken the mind, I have an arguement for that. Otherwise, what symbology are you talking about?

    If its on the website you linked, there are four articles about Potter, and I can’t possibly argue against all of it at once.

  2. Hi Teenage girl. Just a very quick reply.
    I haven’t read the Potter series. The quote you refer to on my post is a quote from Michael O’Brien, the author of a critique of the Potter series. He has not commented on Twilight, but he has written a book entitled “A Landscape With Dragons” that I have found very helpful in understanding the role of literature in the formation of the human mind/soul. O”Brien is a very talented author himself. Of his books, I would most highly recommend “A Cry of Stone”. It is long and intense, gut wrenching at times as it deals with the problems of good and evil, but a really good read. It is about a Native American (Canadian American) girl who is deformed from birth but is an incredible artist – and how, even though she is “nothing” in the eyes of the world, she is a truly beautiful soul.
    I posted O’Brien’s review because I found it really interesting that the exact same quote from the book of Genesis that Meyer uses at the beginning of Twilight, and the theme it raises, is mentioned in O’Brien’s article as well. This is fascinating to me. There is a commonality there which I think is why the books have generated controversy in Christian circles. I’m sorry I can’t say more about Potter – as I have not read it, I cannot speak authoritatively – but if you are interested in understanding more of the debate from O’Brien’s perspective, the quote I took was from his lengthy article entitled “The War for Our Children’s Souls”, found on his website.

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