Originally posted by Sratpam
People keep on telling me that the books Harry Potter is a bad influence on people.
I've read Tolkien but not Rowling's books. The fantasy/magic genre, which Tolkien practically created singlehandedly, is an exploration of imagination. It can only influence people if they can't distinguish fantasy from reality.
As for the "magic" angle, most of these condemnations come from religious people, and yet this is ironic because so much of religious myth and religious legend is clearly based on magic. In some Buddhist scriptures, Buddha is credited with the power to fly through the air. Jesus supposedly walked on water and cast out devils. On the surface this is not much different from Harry Potter flying on his broomstick or Scotty beaming someone aboard the Enterprise. It's all a form of bending the natural laws of the universe so that seemingly magical things occur. But as Arthur C. Clarke once said, "any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic."
Tibetan mystics and some Indian sadhus have long been credited with possessing certain powers, called "siddhis" in Sanskrit, that are essentially forms of magic. Jesus' brought Lazarus back from the dead, but Padmasambhava, the Tibetan Buddhist master of around 900 AD, brought NINE people back from the dead, according to Tibetan scriptures. So these kinds of feats are not unique to Christian tradition, even though most who condemn the Potter books seem to be Christian (such as the current Pope).
More important are, I think, the underlying values that are put forth in any given work of literature. I'm not real familiar with the Potter stories but I understand that they're based on positive values of comradery, courage, overcoming evil, loyalty, etc., which if so should outshine any concerns about so-called magic.