The Harry Potter series of books captivated many people young and old, but especially the young. As I discussed back in 2005, the students at Hogwarts seemed to be well and truly heathens because the books had zero references to god and religion, with only a passing reference to Christmas (a pagan holiday anyway) and the name of a Christmas carol, while filled with stories of sorcery and witches and wizards and spells.
This undoubtedly caused problems for religious parents who worried about the effects such books would have on their children’s religious beliefs but were unable to fight the Potter whirlwind. It did not seem to matter to them that the books actually celebrated wholesome values like love and friendship and courage and honor and justice.
But now parents have another option. Someone has taken the idea of fan fiction and run with it and created an alternative Potter world in which Christianity is the dominant theme. Harry’s family are now a bunch of Dawkins-spouting, evolution-loving cretins and Harry is saved from them by a Hagrid who seems to be like a Jehovah’s Witness.
The catch with the new books? The author seems to have violated one of the cardinal rules of fan fiction which is to be intimately familiar with the details of the original. In fact, she does not seem to have even read them. And the writing is just terrible. John Prager has taken the trouble to read the new version so we don’t have to and gives us some excerpts. Here’s how the new book begins.
Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Harry Potter who lived under the stairs in a house on Privet Drive with his aunt and uncle. He was a good, obedient boy who did all his chores; but he felt that there was something missing in his life. Something big and special; but he could not quite name it. He stayed up every night; and wished for this special something; but then one day, there was a knock at his door-and everything changed.
“Answer the door, Harry!” his Aunt Petunia, a career woman, barked from her armchair where she sat with her feet up. She had short, curly blonde hair and never wore any makeup. Uncle Vernon nodded sheepishly from the kitchen; and put a tray of moist, chocolatey brownies in the oven.
Shouldn’t you be doing that? Harry thought; but he was a very obedient young boy, so he answered the door right away. He turned the brass, metal doorknob; and pulled open the heavy, wooden door.
On the porch was standing a huge, muscular man with a big, manly beard; and he was dressed in a plaid, red shirt, blue jeans, and sturdy, leather boots. His chest was covered in a thick, unruly carpet of coarse, brown hair. He wore a necklace that looked to Harry like a lowercase T. Just looking at Harry feel happy, peaceful somehow; but he couldn’t say why!
“Good morning, kiddo,” the man greeted amiably; and smiled at Harry. He had the peaceful, friendly sort of face you just knew you could trust. “My name is Hagrid. Could I speak to your mommy and daddy?”
“I don’t have a mommy or daddy,” Harry replied sadly; and looked at his raggedy, old shoes that were blue. Perhaps that was why he felt so lonely, he thought, not for the first time. Maybe that was what he was missing-a mommy and daddy. But no, that was not quite right.
“I am so sorry to hear that!” Hagrid uttered empathetically.
“You can speak with my auntie and uncle,” Harry retorted politely; and blinked his big, blue, childlike eyes.
“What do you want?” Aunt Petunia peered out the door with her narrow, suspicious eyes; and she was wearing a baggy, unflattering pantsuit.
“Hello, neighbor! I was wondering if you have been saved,” Hagrid exclaimed brightly; and tipped his wide-brimmed, straw cowboy hat.
Aunt Petunia laughed a gravelly laugh; and leaned forward on her sturdy, practical boots. “Saved? Don’t tell me you are you one of those Christians?”
J. K. Rowling can sleep easily. If the samples given by Prager are at all representative, this version is no danger at all to her franchise.