Values of Harry Potter

I’m pleased to announce the publication of my book, Values of Harry Potter: Lessons for Muggles. It’s a 112-page work of literary criticism; you can read the introduction at the book’s web page.

As the back cover notes, the book “explores the complex themes of J. K. Rowling’s beloved novels, illuminating the heroic fight for life-promoting values, the hero’s need for independence, and the role of choice in virtue. Drawing on the ideas of Aristotle and Ayn Rand, Armstrong then critiques the Christian elements of self-sacrifice and immortality, arguing that they ultimately clash with the essential nature of the hero as exemplified by Harry Potter and his allies.”

I’m pleased with the project, and, thanks to the design of my wife Jennifer, it’s beautiful. Perhaps my favorite material is from the last chapter, where I analyze the Horcrux, an object created through horrific evil. I explain how the Horcrux combines three aspects of evil that drive Rowling’s villains, then I discuss Rowling’s apparently intended contrast between the Horcrux and the Christian cross.

The earlier chapters deal with courage, independence, and free will.

The book is intended for readers of Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. So if you’ve read them, check out my book and let me know what you think. If you haven’t read the novels, I highly recommend them. If you hurry, you can still read all the novels plus my book before the next movie comes out!

2 thoughts on “Values of Harry Potter”

  1. I am rooting for this book to be a great success! I think the tie in to Harry Potter gives it the potential for the ideas of objectivism and libertarianism to reach an audience that is currently not being reached by the more scholarly types. There are a lot of interesting books and publications that seem to be preaching to the choir, but I think this really has the potential to get beyond the choir.

  2. I really appreciate the warm wishes. Thank you.

    I do need to clarify a couple of points. First, I don’t consider myself to be a libertarian, for reasons I’ve described at length on this page.

    Second and more important, my goal with this book is to understand the Harry Potter novels and learn from them, not use them as a vehicle to “preach” my ideas to others. That wouldn’t be fair to the novels, nor would it provide the basis for an interesting critique. I quote Ayn Rand (who founded Objectivism) only twice in the manuscript. In Chapter Two, I note that both Rand and Rowling present fiercely independent heroes. In Chapter Four, I note that the writers disagree about the meaning and moral status of sacrifice. The reason I do this in Chapter Four, though, is not simply that I want to contrast the ideas of Rand and Rowling; instead, I see a real tension in Rowling’s works that is explained by reference to the ideas of Rand (and Aristotle, whom I quote much more extensively).

    Obviously I welcome readers to buy the book and recommend it to their friends.

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