From the introduction by Bishop Julian Porteous, auxiliary bishop and exorcist of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia:
"The influence of the Harry Potter series is complex because the universe created in it is one of the occult, and it reveals an ambivalent morality at work. Like nature there are laws which govern the moral life. There is an objective moral order to the universe—parents instinctively know this. The fantasy world needs to reinforce the laws of the moral universe. Every human being engages in a moral journey, and it is important that each individual has good guideposts to help him find the way. This is particularly important in the early formation of children.
"I have long had serious reservations about the spiritual underpinning to the Harry Potter series. Like Michael O’Brien, I believe Catholic parents need to be alerted to the possible negative influences that these books can have on the moral and spiritual formation of their children. Any parent concerned about the formation of their children's character should read this book."
—Bishop Julian Porteous,
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia.
From the Editor of LifeSite News:
"Master story-teller and artist Michael O'Brien—the man to whom CNN went for comment on Harry Potter—has penned the definitive work assessing the Potter phenomenon. This book is essential reading for all parents whose children have read or are considering reading the wildly popular offerings of J. K. Rowling and similar works such as Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.
"Although this is an analytical work, the reader will be captivated from the beginning, from the must-read preface onward. O'Brien's earlier work, A Landscape With Dragons, delineated authentic Christian fantasy literature from its counterfeits. Now in Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture, he fascinatingly contrasts Potter-world with C. S. Lewis' Narnia and with Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, specifically Harry with Frodo.
"For those whose children have consumed Potter, O'Brien's analysis will enable parents to comprehend the messages which have been fed to their children and give them the points and arguments which will hopefully be the antidote to properly reset their moral order.
"The book goes beyond Potter, however, to address other bestselling series such as Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. In addition to these and other fantasy books, O'Brien reviews the films which they spawned.
"In all, the author's new book teaches Christians how to discern harmless fantasy literature and film from that which is destructive to heart, mind and soul. I cannot recommend this work highly enough."
Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, LifesiteNews.com
From Dr. Mark Miravalle:
"In the present moral confusion, especially as it is manifested in contemporary cultural expressions of literature and art, thank God for the moral compass provided by Michael O’Brien.
"It may be uncomfortable for parents to see the actual anti-Christian and even diabolical metaphysics behind series like Harry Potter, The Golden Compass, and Twilight, but only the truth sets us free. Parents need to know that not all reading is good reading for the precious souls of the children God has entrusted to us. Authentic Christian faith, family and culture should be what dwells in the minds and hearts of the next generation, not thousands of pages and images of witchcraft, pseudo-heroes replete with moral compromise, and vampire metaphors for lust and romance.
"Jesus wants better for our youth and so should we. I am grateful for the inspired courage contained in Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture and pray that it will illuminate other minds and hearts the world over regarding the grave and insidious dangers of present neo-pagan youth fantasy."
—Dr. Mark Miravalle, Professor of Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville
From The Catholic Herald, London:
Michael O’Brien, well-known Canadian icon painter and novelist, has written a serious reflection on the Harry Potter phenomenon. It is a brave exercise, well worth reading if only to make readers think harder about a subject they would rather not engage with. On the one hand there is a global army of Rowling supporters, glad that their children are reading anything, and convinced that the seven books of the series are imaginative, harmless fun; on the other is an American Bible Belt backlash, which regards the series as dangerous occult literature. Into this fiercely polarised argument comes O’Brien’s own measured voice.
—Francis Phillips, The Catholic Herald
To read the full text of the author's Preface:
Preface to Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture
Book available from Ignatius Press at:
or from amazon books at:
The Kindle e-book is also available through the above sites.
"The corruption of Christian civilization’s symbols is a centuries-old phenomenon, yet until the modern age the mutations and inversions, along with the making of new diabolic symbologies, remained on the fringes of society in secret societies and small esoteric cults. Now the culture of the cults is visible everywhere, and with the Harry Potter series is entering (and captivating) the mainstream. Through it, the corruption of symbols has moved to a new level of influence, and it has done so on a scale that is unprecedented in the history of literature. ... If we lose the language of true symbolism, we lose at a basic level of consciousness our way of knowing things as they are. Symbols are not items in some storage room or attic of the psyche that we can take up and discard at will, or rearrange without consequences. To tamper with them is to destabilize the very foundations of the house. While most Christians would never knowingly exchange symbols of evil for symbols of good, many have accepted a new realm of eclectic symbology that allows a mixture of good and evil symbols to influence their thoughts and feelings. But two contradictory symbol worlds cannot long remain in a state of peaceful co-existence within us. Either one or the other will come to dominate and will eventually demand the expulsion of the other." —Michael O’Brien