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Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More



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  #1  
Old July 4th, 2006, 5:23 am
NoDayBut2Day  Female.gif NoDayBut2Day is offline
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Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

For those of us who've read both the Harry Potter series and the complete Chronicles of Narnia, I'm interested in hearing how the two compare. Both sets of books have an ultimate battle between good and evil, sometimes with an unexpecting hero. Both series use magic in some form, and both have a strong set of morals behind the scenes.

So, what's your opinion? What's the better book, and why? Which book has the better message for our time, and what is that message?

Discuss!


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  #2  
Old July 4th, 2006, 1:14 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

Oh wow- what a great thread!
I think Narnia has stronger moral ideas because it was written with such strong Chrisitian influences. As to what the message is it's so obvious that I can't quite put my finger on it! lol.


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Old July 4th, 2006, 1:33 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

well...i..uhh...i havent read but half of the first narnia book, but!!! i can say that, they both had magic in them, umm....yea like that person ^ said about the chrisitan morals.....should i finish reading the series??


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Old July 4th, 2006, 1:51 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

The HP novels would seem to have messages that are more representative and relevant to society at large. The Narnia novels present a message which is really only relevant and can be genuinely appreciated by those that have the same religious beliefs. Considering the decreasing importance of religion to western civilisation I would have to say that the HP books present the more important messages.


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Old July 4th, 2006, 7:49 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

i was read narnia as a child and from what i can remember the magic seems a little more complicated than it does in harry, like the rings in the magicians newphew (the first book) does that make sense? it does in my head! in harry they literally 'wave' a wand where in narnia thety don't seem to do that.

the moral ground seems to be the same- good defeats evil.


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Old July 4th, 2006, 8:19 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

Filius- I think the Narnia books are worth reading, even if you're just reading them to experience the testament to a great piece of literature for that time period. They're relatively quick reads (at least in comparison to the Harry Potter books) and they're a good thing to have read, just so you know about them.

I was also thinking about the aspect of history in both the books. JK Rowling has spent so much time creating back stories for all her characters, but she hasn't really made a history, per se, for the wizarding world (I'm thinking like the appendicies that J.R.R. Tolkien made for his Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and the detail he went into in general to have the readers know about the background of his fantasy world). For the Narnia books, we're THERE for the history. Does it matter that we don't have a history for the Harry Potter books, since it's not a fantasy world, just sort of a parallel one?


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Old January 18th, 2007, 12:56 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

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Originally Posted by Picko View Post
The HP novels would seem to have messages that are more representative and relevant to society at large. The Narnia novels present a message which is really only relevant and can be genuinely appreciated by those that have the same religious beliefs. Considering the decreasing importance of religion to western civilisation I would have to say that the HP books present the more important messages.
I have to disagree that the message of Narnia can only be relevant to one religion. There's not just one message in Narnia. It's full of messages like: it's bad to be mean and spiteful to your sister, slavery is wrong, shirking your responsibilities may bite you in the end, being greedy isn't nice or healthy, leaders may be corrupt, and stuff like that. It's so full of messages that some of them aren't relevant to any religion, such as you'll regret it if you leave your socks and shoes behind, and school usually makes you worse off than you were to start with. And some are just annoying like girls shouldn't fight with swords because they're girls,

Compared to HP, Narnia books are shallow and the characters are flat. HP books maybe seem to have more depth because they are drawn out with an excess of day to day details and they go on for months of time. Apart from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Narnia adventures comprise days or weeks, with back story thrown in here and there. And Narnia books are dated, though they may have been set in a more "present time" when they were written. Maybe HP sounds more relevent because it happens in the 1990's? I don't know. Anyway, I'm not sure that getting deeper into the details of the characters and following them more minutely over time that seems closer to the present makes the messages more representative and relevant to society at large.


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Old January 18th, 2007, 11:28 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

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Compared to HP, Narnia books are shallow and the characters are flat. HP books maybe seem to have more depth because they are drawn out with an excess of day to day details and they go on for months of time. Apart from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Narnia adventures comprise days or weeks, with back story thrown in here and there. And Narnia books are dated, though they may have been set in a more "present time" when they were written. Maybe HP sounds more relevent because it happens in the 1990's? I don't know. Anyway, I'm not sure that getting deeper into the details of the characters and following them more minutely over time that seems closer to the present makes the messages more representative and relevant to society at large.
In another fifty years, the HP books may appear dated to the audience reading them, just as the Narnia books appear dated to today's audience. At the time they were written, they were probably seen as quite relavent to the audience that was reading them when they were first published since those people almost certainly remembered what it was like for children who were evacuated as a result of WWII.


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Old January 19th, 2007, 2:51 am
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

There are certainly a lot of similarities between these 2 series. Aslan and Dumbledore are similar characters, both die, but we will have to see if Dumbledore returns from the dead like Aslan. The children in Narnia receive some magic, but they are not magic, where the children in the wizarding world have magic powers and can do many different things with their magic. They are all fighting a war with evil, but they really do fight an army in Narnia. I just don't see Voldermort walking though London with an army of giants or other creatures. He is a terrorist, more of the hit and run type.


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Old January 19th, 2007, 9:32 am
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

i agree with dobbysfriend, they are very different wars at very different times.

thou IMHO i really don't see how someone can call these much loved classics irrelvant because they don't go as deep as harry potter.

they are short books not the wonderfully long volumes we get with harry. some people (i'm not sure that i am one of them) would say that the narina books are more acessable to younger readers as they are alot less intimidating


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Old January 19th, 2007, 9:04 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

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Originally Posted by NoDayBut2Day View Post
So, what's your opinion? What's the better book, and why? Which book has the better message for our time, and what is that message?

Discuss!
I recently returned to lurking on the 'boards here, and came across your post. As everyone can probably tell from my username, I'm a definite Chronicles fan. To me, it is somewhat unfair to compare the two books, as I don't think the authors set out to do similar things via their writing. However, for the sake of discussion, I'll put my 2 cents in.

As for the "better" message, I'd have to go with Lewis' Chronicles. Though they were never meant for straight allegory, they do carry and present the Christian message, which is the most important message of any time. Lewis, to me, also wrote technically better as well; talking about form and literature. This last point though could owe a lot to the fact that the authors' audiences were/are very different. To reach today's average kid, it takes a different style than it did back in Lewis' day, and Rowling is Queen of today's style.

I love the Chronicles, and really like Harry Potter. Tolkien is easier for me to compare with Rowling, as they seem to be somewhat more similar in point and writing style...they are going for broad themes; bravery, salvation from unexpected places, hope, friendship, redemption, etc... where Lewis definitely was going for more specifics, more direct ties to Christianity.

That being said, I owe many hours of joyous reading to both authors!


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Old January 20th, 2007, 1:33 am
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

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Aslan and Dumbledore are similar characters, both die, but we will have to see if Dumbledore returns from the dead like Aslan.
Rowling has said (in her Aug. 2006 appearances in New York City) that Dumbledore will not 'pull a Gandalf'. I think, then, that he's dead for good.

However, I think the analogy to Aslan still holds. Aslan died in the place of Edmund, who had betrayed his brother and sisters. I think an argument could be made that Dumbledore died to protect Draco, who had betrayed his fellow students by bringing Death Eaters, including Greyback, into Hogwarts.


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Old January 20th, 2007, 1:51 am
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

I actually see a significant contrast between HP and Narnia.

My enjoyment of the Narnia books faded as they progressed for a very basic reason; not only did the characters not grow or develop, they were punished for it. Susan was basically exiled and damned- picture Eve being cast forth from paradise- for the heinous sin of becoming a woman. It is made quite clear that only characters who maintain childlike innocence and faith are welcome- all others are abandoned.

This is a direct contrast to HP, in which the main characters' entire journey is one from innocence to adulthood, complete with the very real, messy, emotional, difficult, human- and sometimes sexual- nature of normal adolescence and maturation. Hermione is not cast forth for dating Krum, for instance, nor is Harry demoted as main male hero for having googly eyes for Cho.

The Trio wouldn't have lasted long with Aslan.



Seriously, though, as much as I liked the first three Narnia books (original lineup- LWW, Caspian, Dawn Treader), the stagnation and abandonment of the characters and the refusal to change the narrative tone to reflect greater maturity (one thing I think Jo did perfectly) eventually turned me off from the series.


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Old January 20th, 2007, 4:55 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

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I actually see a significant contrast between HP and Narnia.

My enjoyment of the Narnia books faded as they progressed for a very basic reason; not only did the characters not grow or develop, they were punished for it. Susan was basically exiled and damned- picture Eve being cast forth from paradise- for the heinous sin of becoming a woman. It is made quite clear that only characters who maintain childlike innocence and faith are welcome- all others are abandoned.
It is always interesting to me how different people can view the exact same event in different ways. Susan, to me, actually reverted to a more childish state; namely through vanity. Something, under her own control, pushed her from the path, and the reader is left not knowing if Susan will make it to Aslan's Country/Heaven. Too, I see huge growth in the other characters, esp. those like Edmund and Eustace.

The difference I see in the books, and one of the reasons I don't think they can be directly compared, is that JKR follows one set of characters through the whole series. One of the whole points of the Potter books is to show a child growing up in several ways, one of which is a literal physical growing up...that was not a theme of Lewis' work. Because of this, JKR changed certain aspects of what she included in the books based on the characters' ages and the corresponding changes in the age of her readers, again Lewis wasn't going for that. So, both authors, IMO achieved their respective goals.


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Old January 29th, 2007, 8:20 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

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My enjoyment of the Narnia books faded as they progressed for a very basic reason; not only did the characters not grow or develop, they were punished for it. Susan was basically exiled and damned- picture Eve being cast forth from paradise- for the heinous sin of becoming a woman. It is made quite clear that only characters who maintain childlike innocence and faith are welcome- all others are abandoned.
I've read something similar that Philip Pullman said about Narnia and gets me more than a little bit cross. Susan was in no way exiled or damned, and is nothing like Eve. I certainly do not think that was CSLewis' intention. She merely stopped believing in Narnia, because she grew up into the sort of immaturity that some people go through in their late teens/early twenties.
BUT nowhere does it say that she would not be welcome into Narnia, or the heaven which Narnia represents, once she 'dies'. I also do not think any of the other main characters show a 'childlike innocence' but are in fact very mature and intelligent, especially Diggory.
I also think it's incorrect to deny any character development in the books. When we first see Lucy she's a young girl who has to go through some tough times, makes some bad decisions, but in the end grows into a young lady who is wise, mature, and a good teacher.
And Eustace completely changed his character throughout the books, as did Edmund: the best example I can think of is in Prince Caspian, when Edmund believes Lucy when she sees Aslan: a far cry from the spoilt brat of Lion, witch and wardrobe. Jill also grows up a great deal from frightened, bullied schoolgirl to plucky warrior fighting in the last battle.
CSLewis will always be my favourite books, and i could go on for hours talking about it but best not


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Old March 9th, 2007, 12:23 am
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

The trio of Harry, Ron and Hermiome are central to all the Harry Potter books, after all it is called "Harry Potter and........" The Narnia books are about a place, Narnia, with different characters found at different times. Narnia is about the land and culture with people put in it, while the Harry Potter books are about people with the culture of the wizard world placed around them.


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Old March 11th, 2007, 12:02 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

I, too, love the CS Lewis books. I do think it is difficult to compare, because as has been already stated several times, both series of books do not seek to come to the same conclusions, nor do they choose the same routes to reach them. Which is fine by me because then they would be too similar and not as enjoyable to read.
I think it is important to take into account that while characters in the Lewis books are supposed to retain a child-like faith, that is a major component in Christian theology. Jesus said that we must be like the little children if we hope to enter heaven, and seeing as the Chronicles of Narnia were supposed to parallel many Biblical themes and show them in ways children could understand, I do not think it a bad thing. I don't agree with Susan being like Eve in any way, as her choice was to reduce her once soild belief in Narnia to childhood stories and make-believe. The point was to show that while some people do believe, it doesn't mean that they will always believe. It is important to show that people don't "pick a side and stick to it" but rather that they can go back and forth for all of their lives. We are left not knowing which way Susan will choose.
We see the same sort of things in Harry Potter, as well. Regardless of your view on Severus Snape, at this point we don't know for sure which side he will ultimately choose. HBP left him in a similar place as I see Susan.


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Old March 13th, 2007, 4:21 am
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

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Susan was basically exiled and damned- picture Eve being cast forth from paradise- for the heinous sin of becoming a woman. It is made quite clear that only characters who maintain childlike innocence and faith are welcome- all others are abandoned.
Everyone sees things from a different landscape. I always felt that Susan was closer kin to Wendy who grew up and began her own family. I never felt that she was maligned or damned in anyway for doing what people are supposed to do...grow up.
Narnia and HP to me aren't really the same type of book although they are within the same genre. HP is closer to the Lord of the Rings or even the Dark Tower series being a quest and the battle of good against evil. Narnia was sweet even when it dealt with "evil" things. I love the Chronicles and have read my set ragged over the years but those books in no way give me the same feeling that HP does.

I think the closest thing that you could say is alike in these two different books is the fact that the characters had to make choices as to who they would follow. And I haven't really seen, in either book, any character at true war with him/herself trying to decide.
I don't mention Snape in this light only because I tend to think that whatever side he is on he has always been on.

Odd but Susan was my least favorite character. Narnia was to me a fairy tale of epic proportions whereas Harry seems to be more "real" in the sense that the characters are growing up before our eyes.But maybe it is as another poster said JKR writes for today C.S. Lewis wrote for his time and he had an agenda in the message he was trying to send. And I think that makes the children in Narnia look more like cookie cutter people.

C.S. Lewis is wonderful but if you want more depth you need to read "Til We Have Faces".
JKR is wonderful and I am really hoping she will write something else even if it isn't Harry related. Personally I am hoping for "Hogwarts a History" Hermione has all the fun.


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Old March 28th, 2007, 3:50 am
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

I loved (and still do love) the Narnia books. I think they're on a very different level, though. They have similar themes, but Harry Potter seems much more real to me. The books are also "older."
The themes of both are timeless. I don't think we'll know how similar they are--or just what, exactly, Jo was getting at--until we have Book Seven.


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Old April 19th, 2007, 5:14 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and Narnia: Magic, Morals, and More

I can't believe that anyone could read the Narnia books and think that they are shallow. CS Lewis develops the things that happen to the characters more than the characters themselves I agree, but because he focuses on different aspects doesn't make his books shallow. He knew a lot about mythology, and he used that kind of knowledge in his books.

All the stuff about Susan drives me mad. I don't know why people think that she stayed behind because she was getting older. I think it's all the that phrase, she 'stayed behind'. Susan chose to ignore Naria, and pretend that it had never happened. That was why she didn't come to Aslan's country with the others. That doesn't mean that she never came there.

I think that even though they have the same kind of themes, the books are so different that comparing them is really hard, so I'm going to think about that one before I try and answer it. Watch this space.


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