NOT ONLY is Harry Potter an “enchanting” series. It also has the makings of a modern-day myth and a moral fable that should make its critics relax their attacks against the novels’ pagan and occult themes.

In the lecture-forum on Harry Potter held last July 16 at the UST Library conference room, Varsitarian publications adviser Joselito Zulueta and Noel Abalajon, Theological Society of the Faculty of Sacred Theology president, placed the Harry Potter series by British author J.K. Rowling on the hot seat as they analyzed the literary and moral dimensions that made the novels click.

Varsitarian acting Circle editor Ryan Reyes, UST High School guidance counselor Olive Magnolia Mapanao, Health and Science librarian Arlene Matias, and UST High School junior Jamie Pring served as reactors.

Probably the country’s first forum on Harry Potter, according to organizer Luz David, the lecture-forum does not promote the series, but rather overshadowns the supernatural tones and highlight the moral values it employs.

In his lecture “Harry Potter and the Re-enchantment of the World”, Zulueta explained that while Harry Potter is a “magical seduction of the senses to attract the reader from reality to illusion” and employs themes on occultism and superstition, critics must note Harry Potter is purely artistic fiction.

“The Harry Potter series must be accorded certain freedoms of alternative world-making that must not be taken literally,” he said.

He also stressed even the “most moral of writers write ostensibly immoral stuff to highlight the moral, and even the most immoral writers write moral tracts that uplift morality.”

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In fact, despite the presence of the occult in the novels, Zulueta considered the Harry Potter books as moral fables, stating how often in the books, Harry and his friends struggle to fight Voldemort, the series’ antagonist and a symbol of evil.

“Harry Potter is nothing less than the battle between good and evil, something that should remind us that is a parable of the age-old war between light and darkness, between meaning and meaningless,” Zulueta said, who is also secretary of the National Committee on Literary Arts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Zulueta also said Christian critics of Harry Potter, who insist the series promotes idolatry, should take it as an “attempt at myth-making and symbolic interpretation.” He defended the series and said Christianity itself used images to formulate feelings and meanings related to the faith.

Zuleuta also discussed the literary merits of Harry Potter and enumerated the elements that made the novels “click”: mythology, compelling story, interesting characters, theme, and fantasy.

Abalajon’s lecture, further explained the moral dimensions of the series.

According to Abalajon, Harry Potter “easily presents a spiritual danger to readers who are leaning towards occultism or vulnerable to its attractions,” he said.

He concluded the Catholic Church does not condemn Harry Potter but still maintains her teachings against witchcraft and divination.

In the end, both speakers leave the “critiquing” and value of the Harry Potter novels to the readers, but Zulueta said it best: “Unshackle yourself and take flight, let us embrace the world of adventure.”

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