Updated: Mar 26, 2019
What lessons can be learned from Harry Potter's story?
Books by J. K. Rowling
Movie Series (based on J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books) distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Notes on Content: Fantasy (I feel it's appropriate for children and adults but recommend that a parent read or watch the series with their child. The story, characters, and situations can trigger strong emotions and the fights contain some violence. The later books include some strong language and themes that aren't G rated. However, it's a well-written and insightful series that can inspire beneficial discussions between children and their parents).
The Plot: Orphan Harry learns he is a wizard on his 11th birthday when Hagrid escorts him to magic-teaching Hogwarts School. As a baby, his mother's love protected him and vanquished villain Voldemort, leaving child famous as "The Boy who Lived". With friends Hermione and Ron, he has to win over the returned "One Who Must Not Be Named". Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come. (Description found in Good Reads).
A Controversial Book Becomes a Classic Series
“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” ― J.K. Rowling
When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone first arrived in the local bookstore, there was talk about it being too extreme and too violent for children. Parents were cautioned not to allow their children to read it (which probably made it even more attractive to children). So, my husband volunteered to read it before we introduced it to our daughters. He loved the book, as did our girls. It was fun to hear them discussing it and using 'harrypotterisms.'
When the movie was released, I watched it with them and found the plot to be interesting and the characters endearing. From my perspective, the movie told a complete story; however, my family kept speaking of things that were in the book but not caught on film. So I explored the book and discovered more layers within the world of Harry Potter. (I will note that the movie series is well-crafted and a great complement to the books).
J.K. Rowling is a master at character and plot development. She also weaves significant moral messages into the plot design. Each storyline has characters and situations that children can enjoy on the surface while being exposed to deeper themes that can help them define the kind of character they may become. The series can be a helpful tool for parent/child discussions about these themes, character traits, and consequences. As my family continued to enjoy the entire series of books and movies, a Harry Potter-style experience was added to our travel adventure list. We've visited the Universal Orlando Resort---and are preparing for a magical British Isles tour, including some Treasure Hunts with Harry Potter!
What are some of the themes from Harry Potter that parents should discuss with their children?