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Sun, Jan. 26

Harry Potter characters a feast for the mind

If you have discovered your inner child and still entertain him or her with kids' movies or books, then you won't be disappointed in the movie, Harry Potter.

Moviemakers are getting better every year at creating stories similar to what we create inside our heads. I have always preferred the book to the movie because the imagination can be far more elaborate and unlimited than a moviemaker's budget can bring about. In the case of Harry, the producers exceeded my expectations.

First, the colors and atmosphere of London where he shops and of Hogwart, the school, are like fine paintings that depict feeling and tactical details. There is great beauty in addition to a strange, mystical atmosphere as they cross over in little boats to the school. Snowfall, heavy rain, green grassy playing fields give seasonal transitions that we all seem to relish, such as Christmas trees, umbrellas and boots, soccer or football fields.

But the characters are what make a delicious feast for the mind. Harry is played by a dark-haired, pale, small boy who is English and somewhat experienced at being an actor. His natural naivete' and innocence give him sweetness that moms and even little girls appreciate. Of course, he has an abundance of curiosity and courage, making him the hero of the picture.

The other children are gifted actors in that they convince the audience of the reality of the movie. There are winsome, clever red-headed boys, a smart little girl who just needs friends, and a little blonde villain who has managed to get attention by being extra mean and conniving.

The adult roles are filled by veterans such as Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith. The main wizard of the school was so well made up in his beard that I have not yet determined who he is. I guess I should read the credits.

Essentially, the story is about how a youngster, despite abuse by cruel relatives and the loss of his parents, can survive and grow strong. The world of wizardry and magic plays second to that. No one is taught how to do anything, so if you fear your child will learn bad, evil things, forget it. There is no more "teaching" of magic in Harry Potter than there is in Sleeping Beauty or Beauty and the Beast. The Harry Potter books and the movie are this generation's childhood of magic and wonder times. We all need a place in our hearts where we can roam freely and create wondrous events. The movie gives children that place.

Besides, other concepts are taught that are exceptionally good, such as the value of being a team player, playing fair, giving 100-percent to help win and tolerating the opposition and difficult circumstances to win. Doing well in school, being on time, having courage to face the results of breaking the rules are some additional attributes supported by the story.

Patience and kindness are two other goals achieved by the "good guys." Also, Harry learns not to judge someone just because that someone has the appearance of "badness" or is not friendly. Making assumptions based on premature information is a big lesson tucked into this multi-faceted story.

Please do not worry that religious precepts will be insulted or that a child is in spiritual danger. You must remember that the great masters of love such as Jesus and Buddha also did magic. Feeding thousands from one little lunch sack is magic, yes? Turning water into wine, trees into fruitful production, healing instantaneously – are not these miraculous, magical events?

Relax. There is nothing spiritually, morally or physically harmful about Harry Potter. The Mother Goose stories are far more terrifying than the exploits and adventures of Harry. Actually, Harry is a bit tame in comparison.

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