Monday, August 31, 2009

A day in Dayton...

I spent the day in Dayton today.

Monday is my day away, and I decided to get away today.

I was at Panera Bread for breakfast--I'm coming to the conclusion it's the perfect combination: good pastries, good egg-and-bacon (or sausage) breakfast sandwiches, and good coffee*--plus free wifi!

I hung out there for a bit, then headed over to the bookstore to browse a little. Then I saw "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"--I'm growing more and more impressed with the Harry Potter series, for reasons I will explain shortly, if don't forget!--then over to the "Fox and Hound" in Beavercreek for a beer and dinner. More free wifi! I just got the bill so I'll sign off shortly and head home.

Why do I like Harry Potter more and more?

Well, two things in particular:

1) The stories deal with evil in a sensible way--evil is real, neither minimized nor cartoonized. It's something that faces us all, and can seduce us if we're not careful.

2) The stories deal with character and virtue. What did Dumbledore--the headmaster--say at the end of movie #4? "The time is soon coming when we must choose between what is right and what is easy." The characters in the stories, particularly Harry, must choose to do very difficult and painful things, in pursuit of what is right. What's more, Harry frequently leads others to a greater virtue than they otherwise would have attained without his example and encouragement.

These are two excellent things for any stories or movies to emphasize, for any audience. Major kudos to J.K. Rowling, and the movie makers, for this.

* I've found a lot of places either have good coffee, and not much for breakfast--such as Starbucks or Winans; or else they have a great breakfast, but poor coffee--such as First Watch or Bob Evans.


Jeffrey Pinyan said...

In the HP series, evil is not some nameless, formless, subjective anti-ideal hovering out there that no one can identify with any clarity.

Instead, evil (or at least evil's "champion") does indeed have a name (though many are afraid to say it) and a hideous, inhuman form. Evil is not, as the bureaucrats of the "Ministry of Magic" and their shills would have you believe, some imagined dark past that has since dissolved in the mist. It has adherents and opponents, many clearly recognizable. Evil's agenda is clear. Evil is, bluntly, "incarnational" and tangible.

In the HP world (strikingly unlike the real world, as far as many people -- even Catholics -- are concerned) there IS a Satan and he IS jealous of us and wants us to be destroyed. That is certainly a strong point of the HP series.

Fr. Ron Williams said...

Since the beginning of the month, I've been reading each book of the HP series, one after the another. After four weeks, I'm halfway through book 5. They're an easy read. I like the movies, but the books have a lot of interesting details and subplots that are conspicuously absent in the movies. I highly recommend the books as well as the movies for the same reasons as you, father.

Anonymous said...

Father, I'm in complete agreement with you on Harry Potter -- and I think the books a worthy project for fall reading. As for your breakfast choices, I hope you won't abandon Tim Horton's altogether -- they do have pretty good breakfast sandwiches!

Patricia Gonzalez