I’m just entertained by the fact that all of these Harry Potter posts are coming up on my dash, considering last week I spent most of my evenings rewatching all 7 movies.
EDIT: of course, by 7, I really mean 8.
I’ve written stories about Shani and Pania, my gunslinging elves who ran through the United States during the Civil War. I have other stories in mind where they travel to Mexico, the Saskatchewan Territory, across Europe during the First World War, and into the heart of Egypt.
Now I’m considering something that could only be described as fanfiction.
Shani and Pania, behind the scenes as they fend off Death Eaters in the Deathly Hallows. There was a lot of stuff never seen that went on, and I thought well it’s a war, there was a lot of chaos. Who’s to say a pair of interplanar elves with a penchant for magic and gunslinging wouldn’t show up during the final battle of Hogwarts to do battle with lesser known foes.
Before I begin, let me first state that this photo originally was found at this flickr page. It’s meant to be artistic and symbolize something as it states in the description.
The photographer made the comment that it was the second roll of film, and it took forever to get the right photo and was pleased with the result. It also had this comment in italics.
I’ll open this book and blow the dust from these pages of desire and lust. I’ll search for a spell perfect for you… ‘Cause I need to get you enchanted with me too
It was art, so my opening preamble about this image really has nothing to do with what the artist was attempting to convey. I just know what my reaction upon seeing it was.
What I saw, before reading anything else or exploring the photographer’s flickr stream, was that I saw a burning book. And then came my abject horror. Anybody who knows me should also know I hate book burning with a passion. It’s not so much the act of getting rid of something unwanted, I get that. We have recycle programs for unwanted newspapers and even books. Often times there are too many books to be sold. Not everyone will buy a book, and therefore, the unwanted books have to go somewhere. Sometimes a library, sometimes a school, but often times they are recycled, or destroyed because there just isn’t any need for them.
Those are different than the more thought of uses for burning a book. Which is to destroy it for the sake of erasing the text printed on the pages. It’s a barbaric form of censorship. Censorship is something else I have a major problem with, because it’s such a fine line to walk. That’s something I’ll get into at another time. Book burning, however, is very much a violent way of showing disapproval of the printed word. We’ve seen it over the course of history, the most recent and famous of which has been in Nazi Germany, when books by Jewish authors, scholars and philosophers were destroyed in very public means. We’ve seen several more different scenarios as of late, shocking, but not the whole sale destruction as what took place during and before the Second World War.
One of those has been groups, mostly in the States and mostly by right wing fundamentalist Christian groups, that have burned books from the Harry Potter series. Really? Honestly? A children’s book? I can see, in their defense, why they would have come up with this notion. The book is about witches and wizards at a school, set somewhere in England. As it states in the Bible, witchcraft is a devilish thing. But what got me is that the book was accused of teach children witchcraft. So, I say again: really? If you believe that it’s not for your child, then don’t let your child read it. Oh, and if you have no children, then don’t get into the discussion. Parents need to read books with their child. Parenting isn’t something where you plop the child in front of the television and just hope for the best while feeding them, clothing them and sending them to school. I’ve known a good number of parents that have read the entire Harry Potter series with their children and made it a very wonderful experience.
I know the comparison with Twilight and Harry Potter is out there, really, I do. And I even know that there have been those who burned copies of Twilight in response to the burning of Harry Potter books. My disgust envelopes those people as well. Saying that burning a book is reprehensible, especially a book from a series you might like, then turning around and burning another book is hypocritical. It’s also not helping.
The other book which has seen it’s share of threats to help stoke the flames is not a fictional book, persay. It, like the Holy Bible, is a book which millions and millions of people follow faithfully. It’s called the Qu’ran. In this case, however, the burning of this book isn’t about reading to children. It’s all about religious intolerance. I will admit, religion is the motivator in the burning of Harry Potter books, but burning the Qu’ran is fueled with such a venomous hatred. The complete intolerance to a religion that those who accuse it of being the heart of terrorism are only acting on their own fears and misguided understanding. They say it’s an evil book, yet don’t even take the time to open it and read what it has to say. They’ll burn it without hesitation, unless so shamed by the rest of the world. What exactly would burning the Qu’ran do, except fuel the hatred and intolerance, and ignorance of a religion. Instead of learning what they can of the religion, most who suffer from the seemingly incurable disease of Islamophobia, will react with knee jerk assumptions and “popular opinion” of the time. These people don’t even try to take the opportunity to understand the religion, nor do they take the time to decipher between what is part of the religion and what is part of the culture from where the religion is practiced.
Book burning is a very vile form of censorship, that speaks to people that it’s okay to belittle ideas. It says “your work is reprehensible, therefore it must be destroyed”. Which can only develop a cycle that another group might find a work reprehensible. After all, what if a group so publicly stated they were going to burn a Bible. Think of the reaction there would be to that. There might even be those that would demand a call to arms and be willing to go to war.
Now, sit back and think for just a moment. Harry Potter fans may not band together in the face of such an insult, but do you not think for a minute that the reaction to the burning of the Bible would not be the very same reaction to the burning of the Qu’ran?