On Harry Potter: Recently Discovered

I just found this interesting article on Harry Potter’s magic, and thought I’d repost.

Harry Potter’s Magic, by Alan Jacobs

Although I do not think the author is a Christian, nor writing from that point of view, I think he brings up some good things to consider.

I especially liked his comparison of Rowling to Tolkien and Lewis. Very interesting analysis: I have said before that Tolkien is the master of fantasy, and Jacobs explains why very well.

Despite this essay being written before the completion of the series, I think the issues discussed therein are even more pertinent, now that the cycle is complete. Well worth a read.



  1. Nick House

    The magic in Harry Potter is actually the least of my problems with the series, but I think that the worst thing about it is not that it is magic per se, but that the magic in the series is a form of wish fulfillment. There’s a great passage in John Steinbeck’s “Acts of King Arthur and his Knights” about this. I’ll elaborate on this later.

    • MadDawg Scientist

      You’re right. At the most basic level, there’s no exchange of work or equilibrium balance. Essentially, that means you can get things for free. No pain required.

      That’s the thing I like most about the magic in the Inheritance Universe. For whatever you take, you have to give. Conservation of energy.

  2. Nick House

    In The Wheel of Time Novels all the magic comes from some sort of universal source, so magic users can kill themselves if they try to use too much, and all the male magic users become crazy. (Until the tenth book or so, but I won’t spoil it.) Also, all the women mages are part of a secret society with rules that guide how they use their magic. Too complicated to get into here. Go look it up on Wikipedia if you’re interested.

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