Harry Potter and “the Death of God” – by Michael D. O’Brien

The last I heard, Michael O’Brien, artist, novelist, and Harry Hater, was not doing interviews about the Harry Potter books. I hoped that this meant he had reflected on his bizarre crusade contra Ms. Rowling’s novels and decided he was in the wrong. A legion of Catholic readers that includes Stratford Caldecott and Fr. Peter Fleetwood recognizes the genius and value of Ms. Rowling’s work (Fr. Peter is the priest Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict asked Ms. Kuby to correspond with about her Potter concerns). Maybe, I thought, Mr. O’Brien had read insightful reviews or someone had contacted him that had been able to help him overcome his “Harry problem.” Mr. O’Brien is, after all, a novelist of some distinction and an artist whose paintings enjoy an excellent reputation.

On 20 August, unfortunately, the self-proclaimed “combat soldier in the culture war” returned to the battle to save Western Civilization from Harry Potter and free the imprisoned slaves of their delusions. The article, Harry Potter and “the Death of God, appeared on the Life Site News website that also posted the infamous Kuby Letters with the Skeeter-esque headline, “Pope Opposes Harry Potter” in July, 2005, days before the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Michael O’Brien and the zealots at Life Site News live in the village of Combermere, Ontario, and their joint efforts to create the illusion of Papal displeasure with Harry was discussed at length in an article here at Hogwarts Professor at that time. Mr. O’Brien and Life Site News teamed up again last week to say what others are afraid to say. To their delight, Harry Potter readers have responded by reviling them, even cursing them, and saying all manner of evil against them, falsely, for Harry’s sake.

I urge you to read Mr. O’Brien’s essay for two reasons.

(1) It is a big step-up from the borderline incoherent nonsense written by Ms. Kjos and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, two other Christian critics of the Potter books. Mr. O’Brien may or may not have read the last book, a point that I think is not settled by the references he makes to the Deathly Hallows story-line in his article, but he writes eloquently and about important issues, however mistaken he is. This is the sort of Harry Bashing that “serious readers” need to be aware of and read closely.

(2) The essay also is a textbook illustration of defamation by analogy and by assertion rather than with arguments made using text as evidence. It is masterful sleight of hand to link Ms. Rowling with Catholic touchstones for decadence and moral error; note especially the effort to make Harry a gilded Apostle for the “culture of death” and for the advance of “secular humanism,” “gnosticism,” and relativism, efforts made without the substance or courtesy of argumentation.

It is painful reading when a man of extraordinary gifts and who has sincere concerns about the demise of Christian culture goes to such lengths to demonstrate through sophistry what cannot be proven discursively, namely, that reading Harry Potter is corrosive to the soul and to culture in general. I hope you will read Harry Potter and “the Death of God”, nonetheless, and share your thoughts about it here, especially if you think I have been uncharitable in my comments. I marvel that an intelligent reader and a man of evident devotion can be so far out in left field about the merits and failings of the sort of counter-cultural literary event that I think a culture warrior and artist should be celebrating.

True Confessions: When Mr. O’Brien dismisses Harry Apologists as “slaves to their delusions” and wonders aloud how and if they can be freed, I have to admit, sadly, that I have similar suspicions about men and women like Michael O’Brien. Is the difference between Harry Haters like Mr. O’Brien and Hallowers like me only that I think I should resist judging him for this failing and that I should not dismiss him out right, however weak my resistance to this urge? Or is there more to this than our shouting “Hurrah for Our Side”?

Excerpts from the Life Site article with my highlighting:

All told, [Pottermania] is the grandest trans-cultural event of epic proportions in the history of mankind, rivaled only by the Bible.

I use the word rivaled with some consideration, not only because of the impact of the series on the modern world, but also because of the worldview it so powerfully implants in its devotees. In short, the series is a kind of anti-Gospel, a dramatized manifesto for behavior and belief embodied by loveable, at times admirable, fictional characters who live out the modern ethos of secular humanism to its maximum parameters.


The series is also about the usefulness of hatred and pride, malice toward your real or perceived enemies, seeking and using secret knowledge, lies, cunning, contempt, and sheer good luck in order to defeat whatever threatens you or stands in the path of your desires. It is a cornucopia of other false messages: The end justifies the means. Nothing is as it seems. No one can really be trusted, except those whom you feel comfortable with, who support your aims and make you feel good about yourself. Killing others is justified if you are good and they are bad. Conservative people are bad, anti-magic dogmatists are really bad and deserve whatever punishment they get (hence the delicious retributions against the Dursleys). The ultimate cause of evil is rejection of magic: the arch-villain Voldemort, for example, first went off track when he became a dysfunctional boy abandoned by his anti-magic father.


If the universe in which we live is not “hallowed” (sacred, holy) but rather hollow and deadly, then we must do what we can to change it, right? There is no God, apparently, so we must be our own gods. If there is no father (as every orphan knows) than we must be our own fathers. A tough job for anyone to do, but with the help of some incredible powers it can be done. And even if there is, after all, something in existence a little more than the material world and this materialist magic, can it be trusted? Definitely not, according to the story. There are hints of other realms in the Potter series, immaterial or metaphysical dimensions devoid of any reference to a higher moral order. But these are window-dressing to the cosmology Rowling establishes.

Throughout the series there is overwhelming evidence that a Gnostic worldview is being slowly but surely presented. In fact, it is a new form of that ancient archipelago of heresies, a neo-gnosticism that borrows remnants of Judeo-Christian symbols and mixes them with cultic concepts of life and afterlife. For example, toward the end of the final volume, Harry’s headmaster and mentor, Dumbledore, meets with Harry in a nebulous otherworldly zone, after Dumbledore’s death and Harry’s pseudo-death, before the latter’s mysterious “resurrection.” Yet even these and other metaphysical references are merely used to serve the author’s real goal, which is the exaltation of the humanist ideal.

Such humanism cannot long survive without a “spirituality” of some kind or other – and what better spirituality for Homo Sine Deo than one which offers the thrills and rewards of the preternatural, without moral accountability to God. One might call this, paradoxically, the religion of secular humanism. In this religion, as in most other religions, the world is gravely threatened and needs its saviour. What, then, is a lovable hero to do in this situation? He must grow up, it goes without saying, and he does so throughout the seven tales by coming into the realization of his inherent semi-divine powers. These are never referred to as god-like powers because that would be a tacit admission of some kind of higher authority, and Potterworld will admit no absolute hierarchy in creation.


Indeed there are myriad forms of violent death in the seven volumes, usually as the result of battles involving curses, hexes, and potions. The reader loses count of the human characters and other creatures who die in the series, and as far as I can remember none of them die naturally. Potterworld is death’s realm, death’s sovereignty, and its perpetual reign can be transcended only by using the tools of death.

Throughout the series, death and power are inextricably entwined. Moreover, death is both the ultimate threat and the ultimate solution to problems. For example, in volume six Dumbledore is killed by the evil Severus Snape who works for the arch-villain Voldemort. In volume seven we learn that Snape was a kind of double-agent, secretly loyal to Dumbledore and Harry. It is revealed that Dumbledore had asked Snape to kill him – mercy killing – and their dialogue about it sounds uncannily like justification for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

Finding out who you are is crucial to overcoming death. Gradually you discover by experience, along with dedicated study of arcane forbidden knowledge, that you are more than you think you are; indeed you have a right to the secrets that will reveal you to yourself, and reveal your worth to others. You will be loved, feared, adulated, hated, but you will never be ignored – as long as you have pluck and supportive peers, and the added powers that secrets will give you. Your innate magic powers will be released by increased knowledge and will become mega-magic when exercised. The powers must be used, of course, because there are some really vile enemies out there, and the arch-enemy is after you in a big way, and he has powers too, so it’s important that you possess powers as awesome as his, if you want to defeat him. You will struggle and fall and rise again, but in the end you will triumph. You will become the saviour of the world.


As the critic David Haddon points out, “Harry has fulfilled Rowling’s stated belief that children are ‘innately good’, without need of repentance or redemption.” They just need to grow up and learn to use their powers “wisely.” There is no original sin in Potterworld. Just magic.

And why not, if we are locked in a claustrophobic universe, why not explore the path Harry has shown us? Yearning for the transcendent, as do all human beings, even when they deny it, why should we not be enthralled by preternatural powers offered as the substitute for genuine transcendence? Thralldom, you may recall, is an old English word for enslavement. The slave in his chains may dream and fantasize about freedom, but the fantasy does not make his chains disappear. Like the slaves of old, the enthralled of our times are left with whatever pleasures they can seize within the limited dimensions of their lives, and this usually means fugitive and secret pleasures – as the pagan realms of the past abundantly proved.

Those in thrall to Potterworld may, for a while, be pleasured and distracted from their real condition by the orgy of sensations, by stimulated affections and the rush of adrenaline, by blood and gore and fright and lore, by fabulous imagery and ingenious invention. But take note that throughout the very complex web of plots and subplots the traditional symbols of Western civilization are simultaneously used and misused, are mutated, hybridized, contradicted and even at times inverted – because in this “fantasy” world, nothing is as it seems nor is it reliable, and even the architecture of thought slips and slides, leading us wherever the whims of the author wish to take us. A poor story-teller would not get away with this for a minute. But Rowling is a talented story-teller, and the massive symphonic effect of her dissolution of civilization’s basic principles is justified by many because she has entertained us and because, well, “it’s all about love.”


Healthy fiction, no matter how wildly it may depart from the material order, teaches us to love ourselves in a wholesome manner, by loving our neighbor. Indeed, even by loving our enemies – at least by trying to learn to love them, and by believing that it is right to do so. With grace this is possible. But selective love (coupled with selective hatred) does not lead to freedom. It is the feelings of love without the substance of love, the feelings of freedom without the foundations of freedom.

If God is the absent father – or the father who perhaps never existed – the hero and his readers are left only with such emotions, their hooked loyalties, their love of the self’s insatiable appetites, which they feel cannot be denied without a killing curse of self-annihilation. That is why so many people cling fiercely to the “values” in the Potter books while ignoring the interwoven undermining of those very values. That is why the defenders of Potterworld exhibit such adamancy, frequently outrage, against critics. According to their perceptions, the critics of Potterworld are the enemies of freedom and identity.

Just as the rhetoric about freedom and democracy increases as the real thing declines, so too the rhetoric about “values” increases as the more real thing – that is, truth and virtue – declines. What will it take to awaken the dreaming slave from his delusion?


  1. Sean Dailey at the Blue Boar Blog devoted to Chesterton has posted his thoughts on Mr. O’Brien’s article and the comments that followed were very pointed. If this subject interests you as it does me (it’s not every day I am moved to consider the possibility that I am enthralled by the delusions of secular humanism and the culture of death), it makes rewarding reading: http://theblueboar.blogspot.com/2007/08/harry-potter-and-completely-unhinged.html

  2. I have come to this very late! Travis and crew at Sword of Gryffindor discussed this days ago, all thumbs down on Mr. O’Brien:


  3. Arabella Figg says

    My word, what did Mr. O’Brien have for breakfast? Perhaps he needs to incorporate more bran.

    I’m grateful for this well-written (though rather windy) essay that would twist Nagini into knots. At last this “dreaming slave” can joyously reveal my inner ambition to “live out the modern ethos of secular humanism to its maximum parameters,” be “enthralled by preternatural powers offered as the substitute for genuine transcendence” and fully enjoy “the massive symphonic effect of [Rowling’s] dissolution of civilization’s basic principles.” What a relief! And slavery has never been so fun. Who knew?

    I’m not going to bother challenging this bizarre essay–I have a life. Let’s just say I’d rather stay upwind of it. Frankly, it was difficult at times to know whether he was speaking of Voldemort or Harry.

    He writes: “Healthy fiction, no matter how wildly it may depart from the material order, teaches us to love ourselves in a wholesome manner, by loving our neighbor. Indeed, even by loving our enemies – at least by trying to learn to love them, and by believing that it is right to do so. With grace this is possible.” Gee, I thought that’s exactly what Harry Potter was about. I’m so perplexed I must read the series again to see what I missed.

    I feel sorry for O’Brien, I really do. Though well-meant, he sees only what he wants to see and has obviously read with a firm agenda checklist.

    I just hope no one goes near him with a pin, either.

    Little Flako’s not worried about “hooked loyalties;” he’s more concerned with a claw hooked in the rug. Gotta free him…

  4. I suggested to Lifesite that Mr. O’Brien would do better to turn his considerable skills to Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” which will also be hitting the big screen (The Golden Compass) on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I did not excoriate him, merely suggesting that there were more dangerous things to be concerned about than Harry Potter.


  5. At the original site link I stopped reading at “pimps and prostitutes” for now. Just had a lovely meal and don’t want to upset my digestion. But by that paragraph I had a pretty good idea of the mindless assertions that would be likely to follow. I recollect, however, the famous dictum about “takes one to know one” and wonder about such assertions so quickly arrived at in so few words.

  6. Arabella Figg says

    I just want to add, how does O’Brien, who likely also reveres Lewis, explain that an incubus (!) is invited to the victory feast in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, that children’s book so beloved by the righteous? So much for O’Brien’s “pimps and prostitutes.”

    And tres amusant, his hanging out with theological buddy atheist Grossman. Two Anton Egos forking in the same devil’s food cake. Ha!

    I swear I can hear Tom Piddle snickering as only a cat can…

  7. Travis Prinzi says

    John, you came “late,” but you actually took time to do analysis!

    I’m planning a podcast, hopefully to be recorded by the end of the weekend, analyzing how LifeSite News responded to the backlash. The letters they quoted were appalling, to be sure; but it reminds me of someone else we know who shall not be named: quote the extreme responses in order to villify and humiliate ALL people who disagree with O’Brien, even though there were surely some reasonable and level-headed responses to the article in the LifeSite inbox.

  8. “There is no God, apparently, so we must be our own gods.”

    Mr. O’Brien wrote an awful lot of verbiage for a guy who apparently failed to read as far as the top of page seventy-eight of Deathly Hallows.

  9. Well, John, you may have come late, but like Travis said, I appreciate your well thought out comments about O’Brien.

    I already posted my thoughts about it over at SOG, and the only thing I’ll repeat here is that I had to force my way through the rubbish heap of O’Brien’s article. I think it was the pimps/prostitutes line that made me stop for a while (partly from laughing and partly to pick up my jaw that had dropped to the floor). But finish it I did. And I’m still shaking my head that someone who sounds so intelligent and well-meaning could so completely miss what Harry Potter is about. I can only conclude that he intended to miss the point or perhaps just skimmed the books, making it sound as though he’s actually read them.

    And yes, I agree with Signe–O’Brien’s considerable talents would be better spent on educating parents about the dangers of Pullman, who has said his intention is to turn children away from Christianity. I must go check out the site to see if he actually has written anything about it.


  10. Wow, he contradicted himself so much I could hardly follow him. I think though that he is a moralist? And therefore cannot stand to see even characters in a book have flaws and even the bad guys acting sinfully. Personally, I like realistic stories that teach valueable lessons through story-telling. If he was wanting Rowling to write a book with “goodie toe shoes” in it spouting moral virtues and “talking” moraly (I read one critic who complained that you’d never see Harry pray in the books) and having an altar call or whatever, no one would read it. OK, maybe a few people in christian ghettos would, but then the ministry opportunity would be lost to the secular world!

    I for one was encouraged in my faith as I read HP. My slavery is to God though, and ultimately her books only helped to remind me of Him. If we are created in the image of God and He imagined our world into existance why would it not be glorifying to Him for us to imagine wonderful things as well?
    If you are anti-Jesus or just anti-God you could get nothing out of the Bible (without divine intervention that is). Also, if you are anti-magic (or anti-imagination/fantisy) you won’t ever get anything good out of Harry Potter.

  11. I find myself having to step back from O’Brien’s actual essay to consider what terms he may have written under.

    As everyone has pointed out, his sinuous non-argument had the effect of a shot-gun, paying lip-service to many major points without a unified ‘hole’ (read as a pun.) This is something worth noticing. Why doesn’t his essay, for its length, have any unity than a generalized critique? At one point, O’Brien points out that there is no original sin in Potterworld; earlier, however, he makes a strong case at the end of paragraph 18 for Rowlings portrayal of original sin.
    “Check out your local school yard. It’s all there – the Harrys and Hermiones, the vicious Draco Malfoys and his gang of sycophants. It’s the human condition and it varies little from age to age, culture to culture – wherever man rejects the saving power of grace.”
    There are a handful of other places where O’Brien contradicts his case, excepting the popular prostitute passage.

    But did the spelling errors bother anyone? I rarely stoop to correcting a writer’s grammar, particularly someone who is paid to write at a higher wage than I am. But the two errors, a “than” for “then” and “that” for “than” really bothered me – not in the same way as a spelling-snob is bothered, however. Those two errors bothered me enough to make me look at the terms he wrote the essay under.

    As I postulate, please don’t believe I am defending O’Brien.
    What if the article was written quickly?
    It is to O’Brien’s credit that he was able to spin out one of the better HP-critiques with what appears to me little to no effort at all. Granger’s pointed out for us all that he doesn’t argue from the text (In fact, I’m actually wondering if O’Brien’s exposure was solely viewing ‘Wizard People, Dear Readers’), but from mismatched analogy.

    Still, it’s fascinating reading because the thread of authorial intention reads something like this, “What is the next button to push?” There is no follow-through with the prostitute passage. The references to other critics’ statements appear when his own point seems confused. As mentioned earlier, he seems to contradict himself. And, finally, O’Brien ties up his essay with the reference to Tolkien’s essay on fantasy literature (which, in light of the HP vs Anti-HP internet controversy, has risen to Bible Commentary status) intending to slur Rowling’s work and succeeding to blur his own. Lastly, those spelling mistakes don’t point to poor spelling — but rather a hasty editing job; they’re the sorts of errors that appear when trusting MsWord’s Spell Check feature.
    So, what if this essay was written quickly? That may mean it was a hastily commissioned essay. Mr. Granger himself was under the impression O’Brien wasn’t giving interviews about HP. Suppose that O’Brien found himself with this task: “Write us an intelligent critique against Deathly Hallows.” What does this mean if he was commissioned to such a thing?

    (Here lies the meat of my comment.)
    LifeSite’s bid to enter the HP vs Anti-HP Internet controversy had the sophistication to ask an intelligent novelist to write the best he could as soon as he could.
    My wife has been reading several of these anti-Potter articles every other evening, arguing aloud against the writer. I imagine not a few other wives and husbands have been at their keyboards as well. Sometimes the sophistication of our side’s counter arguments hasn’t been better than the other side. All told, though, publications have a name for this phenomenon: “Good sales.”
    Your e-zine isn’t informative at all if it hasn’t got an opinion for or against Harry Potter. A blog without at least a blurb about pro-Potter or Anti-Harry isn’t a blog at all in these days. This popularization atmosphere does one fantastic thing. Interestingly enough, it’s the same thing that Modernists achieved when they spent so much energy disproving God’s existence through scientific means. That thing is this: Attention to a debate elevates the significance of that debate’s subject.

    Today’s Christianity is sprinkled with stories of objectively minded people who tried to disprove God or the Bible and wound up accepting faith whole-heartedly because of their honest investigation. I imagine we, in the public, will hear similar stories about the Harry Potter books. “I thought they were just about evil magic. Looks like they really are about something more.” Publications with the sincere agenda of convincing the public that Rowling’s books are evil will defeat their own ends by joining the fray with other publications that only intend to sell copies (or web-site hits.)
    I should point out, though, that poor Granger will not hear any such statement from other public figures.

    Should we Pro-Potters argue against essays such as O’Brien’s? No. Reactionary writing is overrated, as we Pro-Potters know from reading the nonsensical articles John has contrasted with “Harry Potter and ‘the Death of God’.”
    Instead, our argumentative effort would be better spent writing positive reviews, constructive literary analysis, and defenses of fantasy literature like John Granger has — and not answering the ‘dreaming slaves in delusion’.

  12. Post of the Week! Thank you, Youssef!

  13. Arabella Figg says

    Youssef, your last two paragraphs hit the nail on the head. This is why I chose not to tackle the essay or it’s weird positions. Really, arguing just leads to “misinterpretation wars,” which degenerate into “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

    In fairness to O’Brien, the incorrect words you mentioned could simply have been typos not original to the author. I’m a freelance writer for our newspaper and an editor changed a grammatically correct phrase to a cringe-worthy ungrammatical one!

    Here’s a link for a great article (in our paper today) by Christy Lemire on film criticism which you can find at http://www.recorder.ca/cp/Entertainment/070817/e081770A.html – 7k.

    I highly encourage everyone to read this short article, especially the last third which has some very pointed things to say about academic, Anton Ego-type criticism.

    The kitties have been giving pointed looks at the kibble bowl…

  14. The whole thing falls apart when O’Brien endeavors to argue that Rowling presents salvation as being attained through acqusition of magic powers and knowledge. When Harry goes willingly, intentionally to meet his death at Voldemort’s hand, dying is precisely what he expects will happen. He harbors no thought that he might somehow survive it. Draco’s wand is stowed and he resolves not to use it. It isn’t knowledge or power or anything of the sort that enables his return — a return he never imagined could be possible. It is the power of sacrificial love — his own sacrifice made in love for his friends and his mother’s loving sacrifice still alive in Voldemort — that saves all. Salvation comes through love by means of willing sacrifice. It doesn’t get more Christian than that.

  15. Arabella Figg says

    Regarding my references to pompous writers of “academic criticism” as Anton Egos, after seeing Ratatouille again I found Ego’s “review” at several sites, so feel free to share it here.

    If you haven’t seen the movie, this gives little away.

    Anton Ego writes: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new.”

    You know, I have no quibble with Harry haters writing negative opinions. If this is what they truly believe, especially if they’re Christians, they have the right (and perhaps moral obligation) to put their pens to their concerns. I do feel, though, that they should be able to cogently reason their arguments. What bothers me most about O’Brien’s review is the hatefulness and spite with which he writes. If someone were to write about a Catholic tradition, belief, etc., in the same way, he’d be livid, I’m sure. You can courteously and respectfully state your case without engaging in insult, slander and ugly denigration. Surely we, in Christ, are better than that. If we aren’t, how do we differ from the meanness of the world?

    I truly hope O’Brien has an Anton Ego epiphany.

    Uh-oh, Thudders and Hairy Plotter are up to something…

  16. I’m not sure where else to post this, but for anyone interested in yet another well-written review of Deathly Hallows, Wheaton College literature professor Dr. Alan Jacobs’ piece for Christianity Today’s publication Books & Culture is now available here:


  17. A thought dawned on me as I wrote a response to O’Brien’s article yesterday for the benefit of my daughter, who was given the essay by a friend. Thomas Wartenberg argued in an essay about anti-Semitism in “Mel Gibson’s Passion and Philosophy” that Jews and Christians see 2 entirely different films when they view the movie. He concluded from an informal survey that Jews focus on the light in which Jews are presented in the film and are concerned primarily about inflamed anti-Semitic sentiments that could result. Christians don’t think the movie is about Jews at all, but about Jesus and his suffering. Furthermore, Christians found viewing the movie a deeply religious experience that renewed their faith or ignited it for the first time. I think a similar phenomenon might be occuring among Christian readers of Harry Potter. As Dumbledore said to Snape in response to his complaints about Harry, “you see what you expect to see.”

    I think the “cultural filter” we view the series through, could dictate to a greater or lessor degree what we actually gain from the experience. O’Brien’s accusation of delusion also made me think of Dumbledore’s last response to Harry at King’s Cross. Even if I am deluded that Harry Potter has helped sharpen my focus on Christ, this experience was very real to me. Probably just as real is the horrific experience by those expecting to see nothing more than demons and death.

    I had never thought that Gibson’s film was anti-Semitic, but I am not a Jew and I think now that I can accept that perhaps to a Jew it is. Likewise, someone who is intensely averse to demonism may not be able to see beyond that and discover what is right about Harry Potter. What causes me to pause then is whether my delight in Harry Potter interferes with certain elements or messages within the books that I should scrutinize more closely?

  18. I’m pretty bummed (the technical term) that O’Brien has written about HP again– his stuff has been the bulk of the contention-bone when discussing HP and potential problems with my parents. It’s difficult to fight because O’Brien is himself a marvelous author, and it’s hard to tell if he’s read the books or not (and I can’t get my parents to so that they’d see where he and I diverge in opinion.. but I’m working on it).

    In O’Brien’s defense, he’s right to be on the defense. And he is a very talented author himself. Father Elijah is an incredibly spiritually helpful novel, and Sophia House is good as well (though I prefer FE). O’Brien has a keen understanding of the nature of sin and virtue. And we live in a fallen world. And I must say, if it comes to no caution or overcaution regarding evil, I think the latter less crippling. To refer to Chesterton (as is my wont):

    “There are two ways of renouncing the devil,” said Father Brown; “and the difference is perhaps the deepest chasm in modern religion. One is to have a horror of him because he is so far off; and the other to have it because he is so near. And no virtue and vice are so much divided as those two virtues.” — The Secret of Flambeau

    That said, I think he’s off-base– and overcaution to the point of spiritual ‘paranoia’ (not used technically– I do not think Mr. O’Brien is a nutcase or wrong to be on guard). I cannot speak to his knowledge of symbolism; it is likely better than mine, and however good dragons may be in heraldry, it’s quite clear how bad the one in Revelations is. I read a rather lengthly article by him about symbolism in children’s lit that also prodded at HP, and had a response I would not have predicted. That is, I agreed with him in large part on symbolism in children’s lit, which harkened back to another bit of Chesterton wisdom:

    “Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice.”

    Perhaps those of you in generations preceding mine have managed to escape the drivel of children’s books that preach tolerance but not love, valuing diversity but not virtue; books that make sure every child knows just how wrong it is to not share, but not how necessary it is to confront much greater evils than who got to use Timmy’s basketball. I certainly hope you have been spared it! I think it is very much this sort of thing that O’Brien is against, and rightly so. I just think it is tragic that he does not realise the ally he has in JKR and HP. Dragons are not nice in HP, and the moral evils she addresses are not the shallow, feel-good ‘morality’ of a vice-tolerant world, or of a great deal of modern children’s lit.

    I hope at some point Mr. O’Brien re-reads the books and realises that he’s got an ally. I am unfamiliar with the Pullman works, but having just finished Eldest in the Inheritance trilogy by Paolini (Eragon), I think those have a much more problematic cosmology, which basically elevates logic above virtue, disregards faith as the practice of those in denial of scientific fact and observation, and has magical content that actually *is* problematic. In short, I totally respect the necessary wariness regarding literature, particularly popular literature, but think he’s off-track.

    Perhaps his perceptiveness on the nature of evil has actually blinded him to how it’s working in this instance– I was impressed by a comment on this blog in the post-DH discussion topics about how the devil likely uses the hype around HP and the corresponding witchcraft accusations to sneak in things like Pullman’s works, and distract from the very Christian content of HP.

    anyway, great thoughts abound here as always! and I hope O’Brien re-reads or ceases his comments.. I prefer his novels to his articles :-D.


  19. Nzie:
    “I hope at some point Mr. O’Brien re-reads the books and realises that he’s got an ally. I am unfamiliar with the Pullman works, but having just finished Eldest in the Inheritance trilogy by Paolini (Eragon), I think those have a much more problematic cosmology, which basically elevates logic above virtue, disregards faith as the practice of those in denial of scientific fact and observation, and has magical content that actually *is* problematic. In short, I totally respect the necessary wariness regarding literature, particularly popular literature, but think he’s off-track.”

    Despite the fact that Paolini’s books, Eragon and Eldest are on my yearly reading list, I couldn’t agree more. In particular, I have a lot of problems with Eldest. It just doesn’t give you that morality reinforcement that Potter can. I actually can learn good lessons from Potter, and those aren’t lessons in witchcraft and wizardry like certain proproganda-spewing writers, speakers, etc. would have you think. (Harry Potter Witchcraft Repackaged video and other such things.) They are lessons in morality, usually quite consistent with that of Christianity. The Inheritance Trilogy, on the other hand, leaves one feeling empty or like one just ate a jar of fluff. I really can’t complain about Paolini’s use of good dragons, as that would be hypocritical of me seeing as a number of the dragons in my stories are good dragons.

    Forgive me for using your comment as a soapbox.


  20. nothing to forgive– you have stated the problems perfectly. (And, while I appreciate traditional symbolism, I like dragons.. I even have *gasp* a dragon pendant and a dragon ring.. neither of which has, oddly enough ;-), induced me to paganism. I just think they’re cool creatures, and have had fun with movies like Dragonworld and Dragonheart.)

    I also enjoyed Eragon quite a bit, and Eldest was good (although I must admit, it didn’t grip me until 1/3-1/2 way through). It seems to me there is a great deal of baby with the bathwater approach to literature by some groups, whether those who would not touch a book for Christian themes or not touch HP for use of magic. And perhaps I lean too far the other way, but as a theatre major I am confronted with artistic choices often– and the *how* is often as important as the *what*.

    To clarify, the *portrayal* of problematic content matters just as much as what is in there– within, of course, boundaries of morality and decency (eg., a film that shows ‘casual sex’ as depraved but has many scenes of it is not acceptable). For example, consider two films which portray nudity, violence, some sex, and extreme cruelty. Shall we simply say, “That content is unacceptable, and I will never watch it,” or shall we say, “Well, this is problematic– but what is each film saying?” The first approach reduces everything beyond any message, good or bad. The second is, I believe, better. (Although I should note it can be taken too far and lead to relativism if the reader is not thoughtful– but for my purposes, I will assume every reader/viewer is thoughtful and truth-seeking.)

    So, what are the films to which I referred obliquely? One is ‘Freddy vs. Jason’, which I had the distinct displeasure of seeing 45 min. of to catch kids sneaking in when I worked at a movie theatre in hs. The first fifteen minutes had nudity, violence and a sex scene that still bothers me even though I turned away shortly into its beginning. The second film is Schindler’s List. That’s not to say that there is no problematic content (we didn’t need to see his infidelity), but that film is a tribute to human dignity and courage in the face of great evil.

    Taken this way, it is then important to examine how magic is used. What exactly is magic in HP? I have to say, if you ask me what the books are about, I’m not even sure I would mention magic. Certainly, they learn spells, but magic is only a tool. To add another comparison factor, it’s like physics and chemistry for MacGyver. That character is far from the only chemist/amateur physicist, but it was the use of it that made him extraordinarily good, in the same way that others used the knowledge to do bad things (eg, terrorism, etc.). That Voldemort uses the Avada Kedavra is horrid, but is it more horrid than Hitler’s use of concentration camps?

    Magic in HP is simply part of life for them, the same way we use the telephone. Our ancestors would have thought cell phones were ‘magical’, but to many of us, they are just part of our everyday lives. Magic itself doesn’t have moral significance– it is how it is used, which is true of any gift, ability or possession of everyone on the face of the earth.

    If I am rich, but compassionate and live simply, money does not rule me, but if I become proud of my wealth and lord it over others, it does indeed– but it was not the almighty dollar that did it, but my own actions. It seems to me that that is how magic is treated in HP. If people had treated it like that, instead of as a sign of evil, the devil and occultism wouldn’t have gotten so much free press.

    Eldest proves a useful comparison in use of magic. Hogwarts instructs young witches and wizards in the use of spells, but only as a tool. Eragon is trained by a rider in Eldest in the use of magic, but the training becomes a commentary on morality and faith– and not a good one, unfortunately. While Eragon does behave morally, he is taught by his tutor that logic is better than wisdom or virtue– something to the effect that the ability to reason clearly means that one won’t make the right decisions for the wrong reasons. Logically, one could use the ancient language to say ‘kill that man’ but it is more ‘logical’, given that magic in Eragon requires one’s own energy, to simply use magic to pinch a bloodvessel. Yet one must wonder how one would know what the right decision is when neither of these invoke a morality– there is just some kind of trust that good people do good things, even though the most ‘advanced’ race, despite its use of logic, has long-lasting disputes over what the right thing is– not surprising, given that they also deny the existence of God. And this is at the heart of the fluff problem Shane has identified so well. Thus magic is an answer, but a dangerous one. The training that accompanies it is unabashedly new-age, almost occultish, and the result is an unsatisfying, malformed morality.

    On the contrary, Rowling doesn’t make magic the answer, nor does she use charms or transfiguration to offer up any moral teaching, much less such an unsatisfactory one. Rowling’s morality is independent of magic except in such things as the Unforgivable Curses and how it is used to achieve moral or immoral ends. Voldemort used his wand and magic; Hannibal Lecter used silverware; the Unabomber used bombs– is it the tools that make them evil, or the actions? Rowling makes very clear that it is not tools, abilities, knowledge or looks that make us who we are, or valuable as people, but our choices between good and evil– for love or against it, for others or for ourselves, to value life or to flee death, for virtue or for vice.

    In Paolini’s defense, he’s accomplished a great deal for someone of my own age. I wish I had two bestsellers! They are well-written, and I think they are enjoyable and of some value. I think in the future, he will do better. Right now, the books are growing out of his teen years, a time when many young men feel directionless and are uncertain– things that come across strongly in the books. I am unsurprised that he has gotten into the culture of our nation, which very much likes the ‘float your boat’ approach to religion and morality– something which fosters new-age ideas and their inherent self-centeredness (which basically frees everyone up to ‘decide what’s right for’ himself, rather than seek truth, even when it is difficult). Basically, if CP grows up some, and finds a meaningful moral code, his books will reflect that, rather than the aimlessness and pseudo-meaning of youth. JKR, being more mature and actively faithful, has a better moral guide herself, and her books reflect that. Now, if only we could get the talented Mr. O’Brien to that way of thinking, we’d be golden. 🙂

    anyway, I apologise for stacking up the soap-boxes! and for typing so much.. I’m a serial felon for overly-long posts, truly…. but hopefully it’s okay, since JKR puts out such long novels!


  21. I read O’Brien’s article and also had the impression that he has not read HPDH. Furthermore, I suspect that he relied chiefly on the articles by Grossman and Hitchens–two atheists–for his information.

    It’s difficult to find a starting point from which to critique his position. Certainly his allegation of Gnosticism is flimsy. The whole point is that Voldy and his death-eaters tried to acquire sufficient “power” and knowledge to defeat death, but that their esoteric knowledge led only to horrors and atrocities directed against human beings and the good creation of God. And Dumbledore, though seduced in his youth by this approach, realized the vanity of it and repented. Harry too renounces all “Gnostic” tricks–the Deathly Hallows–to defeat Voldemort and offers up his own life in compassionate love, or AGAPE, for his brothers and sisters.

    Then there was the unfortunate remark about “‘good’ pimps and prostitutes.” It seems to me that Rowling’s tales of witches and wizards are very much in the tradition of folk and fairy tales, and have just about zilch to do with the actual practice of magic, either black or white. (I don’t know very much about this, but enough to know that this is not the subject of Harry Potter. Really, isn’t Rowling being a bit tongue-in-cheek when she describes an epic sport played with broomsticks? Or what about fine feasts that magically appear on the table? (Who wouldn’t like that?)

    And as for the magic in HP, it’s clearly what John calls “incantational,” chanting or singing along with the Creator, the Divine Logos, who made the world. The magical folk, in fact, use their arts as we use technology–to cook, send messages and communicate, heal, defend ourselves–and so on. We could say, even, that technology is a sort of incantational magic: aren’t we working along with the laws of nature?

    Of course both magic and technology can be distorted and abused. In Potter-world and in our world respectively, they can be used to spy on people as well as to maim, torture, and kill.

    It is only the Death-Eaters who despise muggles. Mr. Weasley, on the other hand, marvels at muggle inventions–read as muggle “magic.”
    And as for the Dursleys, they are not frowned on for being “conservative”–a meaningless word these days. JKR disapproves of them because they are greedy and materialistic to the point that they lack compassion and are blinded to the sufferings of others.

    And JKR holds out hope even for the Dursleys, who appear to be undergoing a change of heart at their parting from Harry. Indeed, one of her points that there is hope for such unlovely, damaged people as they, Snape, and Draco Malfoy.

    Alas, also wish that Mr. O’Brien would direct his efforts against the REAL “‘good’ pimps and prostitutes”–namely the atheist characters of Pullman’s work–or of the “Da Vinci Crock,” though that’s passe. But don’t quote me as saying that all atheists are pimps and prostitutes. In this world, what homme moyen sensuel without any Christian education would not be an atheist? Such people are not at fault, but the public atheists, or for that matter, the militant atheists who messed up the twentieth century.

  22. You could never get them to do it. but I wish the earnest Christians who get so exercised about HP could read some of the books I do, and inveigh in a different direction. I read a lot of fantasy, sword-and-sorcery stuff, and I’ve discovered that in very many of these books, across multiple authors, the magic follows the same rules. I’d even say follows the same theology. Stuff that does invoke Powers, a worldview that presupposes reincarnation, magic that depends on a pantheistic life force… it’s amazingly consistent. I read these, (sometimes with a feelng of “oh, so that’s what the Enemy is doing, using these nice people writing the books as dupes”) but I don’t recommend them, and I certainly would argue against them with anyone I knew to be a “seeker” or spiritually unformed. Maybe no one of these books has sold like Harry Potter, but collectively they do sell a LOT, and they fly completely under the radar of critics both literary and theological. It makes me really happy to think of people reading Harry Potter instead.

  23. Arabella Figg says

    Cassianne, I agree with you about the Dursleys. Their condemnation is the same as given to others in the wizarding world: their closed prejudice and lack of love. They had as much opportunity for incredible power as any wizard. If they had loved Harry as their own (as Dumbldore wished them to), they would have had not only gratitude (and love) from Harry, but also from the wizarding world (including fame therein).

    Instead, Petunia could not forgive her sister for having a gift she lacked, couldn’t forgive Dumbledore for not “giving” it to her. She married a dullard who would reinforce her anger, hatred and prejudice and they instilled these in their son, Dudley.

    That Dudley (and only Dudley), that dimwitted, cruel boy, could reach out to Harry was all the more amazing. Petunia may have paused before leaving but could not say the words. Her sense of self-protection was too threatened. Vernon, of course, left and never looked back; his callousness is breathtaking, but predictable.

    The Dursleys’ problem wasn’t conservatism, it was failure to reach beyond themselves to love a small nephew dependent upon them, in addition to their greedy materialism.

    Flako is greedy for a treat, but he’s not getting it…

  24. There has been another . . . EXTREMELY peculiar Lifesite article, and I’d love to see your thoughts on it:

    “We wish to hypothesize that the popularity of the Harry Potter series is due to the fact that the themes and the main character strike deep chords in the minds of our younger generation because they are abortion survivors.”


    My, they REALLY try to fit everything to their own Procrustean bed, don’t they?

    Lifesite is really unbelievable, isn’t it? I thought Michael O’Brien was bad!

    (I loved Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader have been been promoting it enthusiastically on my Livejournal.)

  25. The two Doctors responsible for bringing the world the “psychopathology” of “abortion survivors” that colors the entire postmodern world attempted in 2003 (1) to interpret Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and (2) explain Pottermania in light of Rowling’s tapping into this psychopathology.

    I think we have a new leader for “Oddest Review”! Here is the conclusion from the Drs. Ney:

    Using coded language, Rowling has been able to put into written form the unrevealed and unspoken fears of the abortion survivor. She expressed in writing psychological conflicts that generally only appear in nightmares. Many of the struggles experienced by children, and which she fantasizes about in her Harry Potter series, have been expressed in the terrifying dreams of abortion survivors. For example:

    – somebody tried or wanted to kill you (Harry’s teacher, Mr. Quirrell, trying to kill him)

    – the feeling that one is surrounded by invisible people, some of whom are hostile and wish your death (Harry looks into the mirror and sees a whole crowd of people standing right behind him)

    – shedding blood, murdering your sibling (in fantasy), so that you can live half a life (Mr. Quirrell drinking the blood of an innocent, pure victim to stay alive, although at a terrible cost)

    – the feeling of being burdened by a parasite, a hostile sibling who hangs on to you and prevents you from living (Mr. Quirrell, a man with two faces, carrying a half-dead Voldmort who explains that he has a form only when he can share another’s body and who dreams to create a body for himself)

    – and, of course, the terrifying reality that somebody is angry at the survivor for being alive (Voldmort’s anger at Harry Potter)

    Ms Rowling also appeals to the abortion survivor, because she briefly touches on some of the deepest yearnings of all humans for life and meaning. (Harry finally finds somebody who watches over him). However, having opened up this yearning, she sends the reader away empty-handed. She remarkably and accurately describes and expands on the dark side of a humanity without God. The themes she develops are anti-thetical to the glory of Christian revelation. She illustrates the morbid fascination abortion survivors have for control and power, even if these are dark and frightening.

    Harry Potter looks for the stone that confers eternal life. This is clearly opposed to Christian revelation. He experiences a mother’s love that is so strong, it is capable of burning and destroying the enemy, a caricature which is quite obvious.

    Ms Rowling appeals to the more pathological dreams of the abortion survivors. She describes transfiguration as one of the most complex and dangerous kinds of magic. She describes a world of magic and of power. “There is no good and evil, only power and those too weak to seek it.” In the Harry Potter world, there is the mirror of Erised, which shows us what we want or want to see. A world where one can be special, if one is marked as having survived.

    The inventor of Harry Potter describes with great accuracy the world of the abortion survivors. However, in a truly satanic fashion, she leads these broken people in a downward spiral into a world that is not life-giving, but one of death and despair. She shows them the way to an illusion of power, which is without life and which is the realm of Satan.

    Harry Potter can become a cult, making people feel they are understood and will understand the truth and then deliberately lead them away from the source of Life and Truth. The psychopathology associated with being an abortion survivor is real. It needs to be understood by those involved in the new evangelization. We now need people who are saintly enough to descend into the pit of hell where they are and who can bring them to the light. Preaching Jesus Christ is a work of love, healing and life. It is a work of mercy.

    As valuable or silly the psychopathology they describe, as book reviewers the good doctors need to begin by reading the rest of the series and work on sharpening those literary criticism skills. I recommend “Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader.”

    Thank you, Peg Kerr, for this nomination. The rest of this LifeSite classic can be found at http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/sep/07090503.html. What’s your bet that the good doctors worship in the same Star Chamber as Michael O’Brien and the other RadTrad LifeSite Savanarolas?

  26. JohnABaptist says

    Cassianne and Arabella,

    I feel I must defend the Dursleys. They are the innocent result of an author being true to her outline. She is merely placing extended flesh and bones around the scriptural outline given her in both Matthew and Mark:

    57 And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. [Gospel of Matthew 13:57-58]

    4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” 5 And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. [Gospel of Mark 6:4-5, NASB]

    The parallel to the “Chosen One” who has no honor in his own household and can do no magic there would seem fairly obvious. However, apparently it hasn’t been.

    In fact, I sense Lady Joanne growing rather perplexed and mildly irritated at the density of her readers, since in “The Dursleys Departing” chapter of Deathly Hallows, as she comes to her annual “Adoration of the Magi” sequence for this book she specifically has Dedalus Diggle bow and say “…an HONOR as ever….” and shortly after, following Hestia Jones’ look of outrage, she has the third person ever-present on Harry’s shoulder say:

    “Harry had met this attitude before: Witches and wizards seemed stunned that his closest living relatives took so little interest in the famous Harry Potter.” [Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Scholastic Hardcover Edition, page 40]

    I doubt she could rub our noses in the comparison much more firmly without drawing blood.

    What blows my mind is the realization that if we ever do see a follow-on book in this series, we will witness Hagrid(Peter) and Kreacher(Paul) agreeing to submit a difference of theological opinion to the arbitration of Dudley(James the half-brother of Jesus and latterly Bishop of Jerusalem) [See Acts 15, Galatians 2]

    WARNING: Roman Catholics and Protestants tend to vehemently disagree with each other as to whether James was making a ruling here, or merely seconding the authoritative statements of Peter…let us not re-argue that issue here, let us rather marvel at seeing dear Dudley in the scene at all.

    I’m not sure even Lady Rowling could sell that one, although it happens in the Bible. In fact, that may be our best guarantee to date that the series well and truly ends with the Deathly Hallows.

  27. I must correct John A Baptist. If you have never heard of Bishop Fulton Sheen, you need to seek his books out, or his old radio and T.V. broadcasts out. Go to http://www.saintjo.com and there is a plethora of his teachings for sale by mp3 or cd. One that I love is Life Is Worth Living. Anyway, there is no way that Jesus had any brothers or sisters by blood as in Mary giving birth to any other man/woman at all. Jesus was born a Virgin birth, was the only real messiah to be predicted to come by prophets(230 something times mentioned in the old testamant and new), was the only one to ressurect, was the only one to take on the sins of man, and forgive man. You must be referring to the Da Vinci Code or something, because the bible does not state that. Think carefully. When Jesus refers to his brothers, he is referring to his spiritual brothers, not biological. Read it again and think in a different way and you will see the truth.

  28. There are certainly are traditional pious beliefs (within the Orthodox tradition, at least) that hold that “James the brother of the Lord” was a son of Joseph. As an elderly widower, it is not inconsistent for him to have had children as a younger man. This would make James legitimately a half brother in the family sense, if we think of Joseph as an adoptive father.

  29. JohnABaptist says


    First let me thank you for having sufficient concern for me as a person that you graciously and patiently offered counsel and correction for what you perceive as a possible error in my spiritual beliefs, rather than simply shouting at me. It is a rare and fading ability in these troubled times in which we live and I honor you for it.

    No, I was not leaning on the Magdalene heresies. I was merely, but perhaps clumsily, repeating what the Bible plainly states in Matthew 13:55

    For my Roman Catholic fellow Christians:
    55 Nonne hic est fabri filius? nonne mater ejus dicitur Maria, et fratres ejus, Jacobus, et Joseph, et Simon, et Judas? [Biblia Sacra Vulgata, Jerome,ca 382]
    Or in English
    13:55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude:

    * The translator inserts at this point a Note: His brethren. . .These were the children of Mary the wife of Cleophas, sister to our Blessed Lady, (St. Matt. 27. 56; St. John 19. 25,) and therefore, according to the usual style of the Scripture, they were called brethren, that is, near relations to our Saviour. [Both scripture and note from Douay-Rheims Bible, Challoner Edition.]

    For my Eastern Orthodox fellow Christians:
    55. ουχ ουτος εστιν ο του τεκτονος υιος ουχ η μητηρ αυτου λεγεται μαριαμ και οι αδελφοι αυτου ιακωβος και ιωσηφ και σιμων και ιουδας [Greek NT: Westcott/Hort, UBS4 variants, eText courtesy of Biola University]

    The text of an English translation of the Greek would not vary materially from the translation from the Latin given by Bishop Challoner immediately above except for the Note which is not part of the original text in either case.

    In all of the above citations we have direct scriptural reference to a body of people (please otice that none of these people are Jesus, or any of his disciples) stating that in Jesus’ hometown, there lived a man named James (in one of that names various translations) whom all of the locals called the “brother of Jesus”.

    I fully and unreservedly admit that nowhere does the bible specify whether that attribution of brotherhood comes from a process of adoption, by association in the same home, or by general misinformation on the part of the locals who may not have known any better. Furthermore, lacking biblical clarity on this point, as a good Baptist, I am constrained for arguing about any of those options with any person whose opinion does not match mine. In the absence of Scripture, my opinion holds no more water than anyone elses.

    The interpretation given by Bishop Challoner in his footnote, is actually the one that most closely supports the point I was trying to make in the original post. In fact, Dudley and Harry are only cousins even though they were raised as brothers in the same household.

    I used the term half-brother, intending its legal sense under Jewish Law. Since Joseph did not divorce Mary from her betrothal vows, or publicly condemn her in anyway before or after Jesus birth, Jesus became under the Jewish Legal system, Joseph’s legal son–even though I hasten to assure you I fully understand Jesus was not Joseph’s biological son and would never wish to imply that.

    Again, thank you for having so much concern for my spiritual well-being that you reached out to counsel me.

  30. I don’t know whether Jesus had any half-siblings born of Mary or not; I’m inclined to think that he did, but I don’t hold it as a matter of faith. The virgin birth of Jesus, though, I do hold as a matter of faith, and the two things I don’t see as inconsistent, as long as Jesus was the oldest child!

  31. Okay, folks, let’s stop this thread about the Holy Family here. Any more entries will be deleted by the moderator. I do appreciate the civility of the conversation but we’re way, way off-topic.


  32. To those of you who are wondering why O’Brien hasn’t lashed out against Pullman, so am I, considering Pullman’s trilogy is focused on killing God.
    Here’s the address:

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