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DarryltheWizard
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I have put together what I feel is an excellent routine for kids from 8 to 12 using a Harry Potter theme. I combine the Spider Frame, a wonderful effect made by a Newfoundlander, Thought Transmitter, and the Mental Clock.

In my routine, Harry tries to help a poor family whose dad has lost his job. I dress up two kids as Harry and his sidekick Hermione Granger. Harry writes the hour that the magic will happen, and it is predicted by the magic clock. A ball of coloured wool is chosen by Hermione and it is tossed to Davenport, the diamond-backed spider, who spins a (red) diamond-encrusted web on the poor family's window, and they all live happily ever after. This is of course a very synoptic version of the effect.

Do Harry Potter books encourage kids to dabble in witchcraft and blackmagic? I've read all the books and had absolutely no interest in evil spells and witches. Do you think the author of the popular Potter books had a hidden motive for writing the books?
Darryl the Wizard Smile Smile
DarryltheWizard
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Maynooth
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Darryl,
This devil worship, witchcraft, black magic, Harry Potter question has made major debate across the world. I love the Potter books/movie and can't wait for the next one.

My wife said the other day, "What a load of codswollop! (Is cods wollop one word or two?). I read 'Treasure Island' when I was a kid and I didn't grow up to be a pirate."

If you read fairy tales in their orignal form they are almost all gruesome. Hansel & Gretel = cannibalism and witch in the oven. Pied Piper = kidnapping. Little Red Riding Hood = Granny eaten by a wolf. Snow White = poisoning.

I don't think any of these have lead to cannibalism, kidnapping or poisoning. Goldilocks may have caused a bit of B&E Smile but even that is just conjecture.

I think they are ripping good yarns and a few narrow minded people with little to do with their time are looking for a project to fill in their lonely lives.

Excuse me while I climb down off this soap box,
cheers
Maynooth Smile
The race is long and in the end it is only with one's self.
SloMo150
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My wife, who works in a Highschool as a para-professional, and myself, who works in a factory, love Harry Potter. In fact my wife reads one chapter a night to our toddlers. I for one have to believe this rubbish about devil worshipping and the like is as I said RUBBISH. Smile . Kids see and hear a lot worse than some kid trying to help others. Remember a show on TV called Bewitched, it certainly showed witchcraft but in a good and funny way. I didn't see any body jerking it off the air since it is still in syndication, OR what about Twilight Zone or even The Outer Limits. The censors in the past were a lot more stringent than they are nowadays.

So, as I said, sounds like rubbish to me. Harry Potter is a great role model for kids, and who knows, maybe this will incite kids to really look into and stay with magic.
Smile SloMo
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Peter Marucci
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I doubt that kids see Harry Potter as a "real, flesh and blood wizard" any more than they see the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote as real animals.

If there's a problem, it's in the parents' minds, not the kids'.

And I suggest that J.K. Rowling's only hidden agenda for writing the books was to make a living. (And, in that, she succeeded beyond her wildest dreams!)

Potter is wonderful for kids of that age group. And, if you do kids' shows and haven't read the books AND seen the movie, do so as soon as possible; it's critical to be "up" on what your audience is interested in.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
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Scott O.
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I suspect, along with Peter, that J.K. Rowling's agenda for writing the books was to make a living. Also, I don't seriously suspect that all children who read these books will become caught up in witchcraft. However, we need to be aware of what we are teaching children. There are so many positive things for a child to learn that are not in the least controversial. Respect for authority, love of country, self-confidence, and a host of character traits can be presented in our magic.

While I agree that we should understand what our audience is interested in, I think we ought also be aware of how we can best present some of the themes previously mentioned. I'm not at all convinced that perpetuating the themes espoused in the Harry Potter books—even in 'fun'—are the best way to teach. And every time we present a magic show, we are teaching to one degree or another.

Scott Smile
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Paul
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It didn't make for such controversy in the UK and people over here were somewhat bemused reading of book burnings in the USA.

Anyone offended is probably likely to be offended by card tricks. As Peter said;
"If there's a problem, it's in the parents' minds, not the kids'. And I suggest that J.K. Rowling's only hidden agenda for writing the books was to make a living."

If a show is advertised as a Harry Potter show or mentioned as such at the time of the booking query there should be no misunderstandings.

Although I hate to say this, but have you tried reading those books backwards... Smile

Paul Hallas.
Philemon Vanderbeck
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I became a dabbler in witchcraft and black magic long before I ever read a "Harry Potter" book.

In my case, I suspect it was C.S. Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia" that did it to me...

:devilish:
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Mandrake
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Ok folks, this is much more serious than it might look on a first glance:

I have read all four volumes of Harry Potter in English after I had a short sneak view into a German volume. Then I saw the movie several times ... the second sighting was the most exciting one. It was an afternoon show with a kids audience (me included).
Well, we had great fun!

Now:
I grew up in modern post war Germany with a lot of older as well as recent history peeking through almost every hole. A lot of you guys in the U.S. will know about fascinating historical sites and castles. Raised as a Christian, but reaching back on Jewish decent, I also have some concern on recent history. Therefore also some antenna for today's everyday problems and conflicts going along with neglecting people, over violence to discrimination.

I do not say that this is the overall tone here, rather there are a lot of nice people and a lot are open minded, but besides the German public itself being aware of today's problems with discrimination and the "heritage" we have, there is also a constant reminding from other nations, groups, communities, worldwide.

Coming back to Harry Potter, I feel the kids love the characters, the plot and the topic all alike. If there is good, there has to be bad so the good can exist and make itself noticeable in comparison. Therefore I do state they also "like" the bad and dark characters.

The whole plot is based on supernatural and unreal things, as opposed to the "real" everyday life of Harry's relatives in Little Whining. (What a name for a place, though!) Merely throughout the entire novel, every cruel fact (murder...) happened in the past and is telltale.

Ok, there are threats, there have to be threats for the suspense ... and the thrill. But to me, the most cruel deeds described are:
1st) the blast that Peter Pettygrew (1 of 4 animagi, the rat) causes, killing more than 20 people, when he frames Sirius Black and
2nd) all the actions and cruelties playing along with the wizard/muggle and Mudblood-discussion. Mostly introduced by the more or less innocent character of Draco Malfoy (innocent in the sense of being a kid...), who passes his knowledge mainly by having it received from the less innocent, far more concious character of his father, Lucius Malfoy.

Here, we do not instantly get to know much about whether—and if so, how— these topics are discussed in the Malfoy family. By the way, this, to my humble opinion, shows pretty well how prejudice comes to life: unreflected "wisdom" from parents given to children, passed to the (children's) own public, then growing up as those kids grow up.

Now, to my own experience, the kids get a very clear sense of those injustices, without J.K. Rowling raising any moralistic indicators, besides the natural flow of the story.

This—whether done on purpose or not— projects perfectly on modern and historical patterns of discrimination, separation and apartheid. And their social effects, from playing along with them over distress, disgust and pain when being in the role of a victim, to standing up, teaming up speaking up, courage, heroism, and to resistance and fighting against oppressors.

Besides all this (pseudo)psychological and (maybe as well pseudo)philosophical rubbish from Yours Truly, there are some experiences that I had a chance to gather at some kids' shows I attended, that were done by a friend:

Whenever Harry Potter is mentioned, there is a hype. The interest raises and there is a lot of quoting from the kids' side (spells, incidents, namedropping...) which is just great to react upon and having the ping pong balls in the air (always supposed, you have to read the books...).

The kids have their own email addresses at an age of ten (the birthday girl's from last Saturday was [child's email address removed]), BUT they read! Great!

One Moment more, please: after carefully reading the thread again, I found a passage on book-burnings ... sorry for a real dumb *** question, but ... is that true? I can't believe it! This is, what the NAZIs did to authors and artists during the third Reich. I understand that there is and probably must be some kind of censorship— at least some means of control. Anyhow, there is a right of thought and speech, other than that: there is a HUGE difference between putting a book on an index and burning it in the public.

If I do not agree with someone's mind work, then it should by far not mean that I also disrespect his mind and his work (effort), as long as it is argued in a fair or reasonable way (we are not talking about polemics here...)

Note: If there were book burnings on Harry Potter, then this is nothing else than what the "political plot" in those books (wonderfull books, by the way, did I say that?) supposes!

And furthermore, this would only lead to the conclusion that the people initiating those burnings are nothing else than a bunch of narrowminded and bored-to-the-bone stubborn idiots, for they have learned nothing. (Sorry for being so harsh, but that just makes me furious...)

In closing I'd like to say "Harry Potter" is a great novel series and I myself enjoyed it very much.

It might serve as a great source of inspiration for patter and stories, it catches the kids' attention. More grown-ups should read it. We are all grown-ups and if we aren't, we will be one day for sure.

That's about all there is on my mind.

Cheers, Mandrake

bartender, magician, devoted Harry Potter fan and German with Jewish roots
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magicmondo
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Mandrake - I was going to say that. Smile
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craig fothers
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Personally, I love the books, and I think that they are fantastic...

But while there are people around who have problems with it (particularly parents), we're going to have be sensitive to their concerns I guess...

It's all well and good to say that the books are really well written, excellent and that we would read them to our kids, or whatever, but surely the bottom line is that some parents are just going to (and have, in some cases) say 'no way , I don't like it'— and at some point, we have to accept that reasoning. I mean, in exactly the same way, I've met people who don't like magicians or magic tricks for exactly the same reason!

What can you do, except respect their judgment for their own kids.

Now, having said that, hopefully the audience (and this includes the parents) at a magic show for kids would be 'magic friendly'— and perhaps given that reason, Harry Potter themed magic is a fine hook to use... As Paul said earlier, if it's all said up front, then there will be no misunderstandings.

But it is well worth being mindful that there IS a mindset out there that Harry Potter isn't wholesome, and I guess as the entertainers and educators of children, we need to be mindful of that too.

C.
Scott F. Guinn
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In regard to burning the book:

I have heard about this. However, I feel compelled to point out that Mandrake's comparison of this to the Nazis' book burnings is a flawed one.

In the case of the Nazis, the government was burning ALL copies it could find and making it illegal to own those books. Here, if in fact it did happen, it was private citizens burning a few copies to make a statement. The government was not involved in any— these people were simply exercising THEIR freedom of expression. For crying out loud, we let people burn our flag; we certainly ought to allow them to burn a book if they want.

Now if they came to someone else's house and burned THEIR books against their will, as the Nazis did, that would be a different story.

America has its problems, but we are a long way from the Nazis yet.
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Philemon Vanderbeck
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They can BUY as many copies of my book as they wish and burn every single one of them.

Besides, a public book burning is lots of free publicity.

Smile
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
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Mandrake
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Quote:
On 2002-04-09 13:19, Scott F. Guinn wrote:
In regard to burning the book:

I have heard about this. However, I feel compelled to point out that Mandrake's
comparison of this to the Nazis' book burnings is a flawed one. In the case of the Nazis, the government was burning ALL copies it could find and making it illegal to own those books. Here, if in fact it did happen, it was private citizens burning a few copies to make a statement. The government was not involved in any--these people were simply exercising THEIR freedom of expression. For crying out loud, we let people burn our flag; we certainly ought to allow them to burn a book if they want.

Now if they came to someone else's house and burned THEIR books against their will, as the Nazis did, that would be a different story.

America has its problems, but we are a long way from the Nazis yet.


Hey I did not intend to compare those people to the Nazis or the Nazi regime, or put them all in the same corner, but pointing out that a good part of the Harry Potter books deal with exactly those kind of prejudice-problems.

On the other hand Philemon is right: good free publicity.

Well, anyhow the fact of burning a book for not understanding it is the same as locking up Gallileo Gallilei for his discoveries and therefore has the same intention as the book burnings during the Third Reich. Although I would like to point out that at those times a lot more people loved and understood the books than the government would have liked.

I agree with you, that America has its problems, as well as any other country. But I again say that I did not regard the American nation, its government or any related affairs as fascist or Nazi-like. I too love America.

The news (at least to me) of book burnings just hit me on the wrong spot. Anyhow, the thoughts are in the Potter books as well.
Censorship: The Ministry of Magic
Prejudice: the Mudblood Discussion
Greed for Power, Cruelty, tyranny and so on.

Sorry for being misunderstood.

Cheers, Mandrake
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Sir T
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It has always been my view that each performer must decide for him or herself what they will and will not do or perform. After all, no one pays your bills, but you!

Does Harry Potter promote witchcraft? I would say, yes it does to a certain degree. Within the series you can find magical books that closely parallel text currently available examples would be:

Found in Harry's books:

The Standard Book of Spells
A History of Magic
One Thousand Magical Herbs
Magical Drafts and Potions
.

Anyone with a few minutes can found these currently avaliable books:

Book of Spells by Waite
The History of Magic by Levi
Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Cunningham
Magick Potions: How to Prepare and Use Homemade Oils, Aphrodisiacs, Brews and Much More by Dunwich.

The books are littered with examples such as these. However, someone would have to be motivated to go out and seek the information. I think and feel Harry Potter may get a kid interested in witchcraft, but for most of them, it will pass, when they discover: "There is no cloak of invisibility, or way to get good grades without hard work and no love spell to get the girl you want."

So, you decide if you are going with the Harry Potter theme, after all you have to pay your bills.

Kevin Smile
Peter Marucci
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German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoefer (I believe) said that, where they first burn books, they later burn people. (He was hanged by the Nazis in 1945.)

As for Harry Potter "promoting" witchcraft; well, just because something can be found in a book does not mean the book is "promoting" it. After all, you can find in the Bible:
rape, sodomy, murder, treason, incest, idolatry, etc.

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.col
SloMo150
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So true Peter. My father-in-law is a minister with the UCC (United Church of Christ) and I asked him his opinion. He hasn't read a book cover to cover, but he said what he has read seemed enjoyable and had a great moral undertone, and the fact that it makes kids want to read more is a bonus in his book.
Smile SloMo
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N14
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OK, what's wrong with witchcraft? (Don't mix witchcraft up with wicca please.)In my belief, there is nothing wrong with it. It has nothing to do with Satanism! They don't even believe in God, so how can they believe in the devil?

The Catholic Church created the devil somewhere in the dark ages and later they tried to get rid of all those people who were different. There was no freedom of religion yet.

Besides this, I think a lot of the magic we still use is originated in witchcraft. (Like a lot of mentalism comes from the Gypsies.) I think David Copperfield even has a book about witchcraft in his museum, because there are some kinds of tricks explained in it.

I just think that people shouldn't judge. Especially when they don't know the other. As soon as they know the other, they can only decide to be like that or to be different.

Any way, back to the point. If people truly believe that HP will get their kids into Satanism or that it has an other (in their eyes) bad influance, then it's their choice not to buy the book nor hire a magician with a HP theme in his/her show.

Just my thoughts,
I hope it made some sense.
Smile Smile Smile
Philemon Vanderbeck
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Just in case you've never read the Harry Potter books, here's a quick synopsis:

http://rinkworks.com/bookaminute/b/rowling.stone.shtml

:devilish:
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
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Philemon Vanderbeck
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And to truly understand what the various authors of the various books that comprise "The Bible" meant when they wrote their admonitions, it is necessary to read the earliest sources in the original language(s).

When you're dealing with translations (both modern and otherwise), nuances in word meanings are often lost.

I would be curious to which words were translated into English as 'witchcraft,' 'sorcery,' etc. and then find out what they can actually refer to in the original language (Hebrew, Greek, etc.).
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
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Blue Jockey
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I think the Harry Potter books are brilliant. A few months ago, I got a phone call from the parent of a child who had seen my show, and wanted to go into magic, mainly because of the Harry Potter books. The Harry Potter books could encourage the magic stars of the future.
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