Fantasy and Popular Culture

When i was in fifth grade, my English teacher handed me the first book of the now world known series Harry Potter. I finished it in one night,  went to school super tired and asked her for the second book the very next morning. Harry Potter was the first fictional fantasy series i read and is still my favorite one despite it being a book that is supposedly juvenile. Harry Potter sparked my interest in the fiction/fantasy and sci-fi categories of literature. Whenever i go to a library now i don't even look at the non-fiction section. Fantasy is my favorite category to read.

Last year i met a girl and she told me that she was never allowed to read Harry Potter and other fantasy books. Her parents discouraged fantasy and specifically Harry Potter because it was a story about magic, wizards, and witches. Under religious belief they were against her reading about those things. They believed Harry Potter equated to the devil, evil, and witchcraft. I thought it was ridiculous. I thought about how the ignorance of culture can still reach and effect modern life. It made me angry thinking how there are still people out there that practice such old beliefs and superstition.

Humanity has believed in the superstitious and paranormal for as long as history records show. Gods, deities, mythical creatures, magic, ghosts, curses, and more has been recorded in historic text of the many different cultures around the world. As time went on and science began to reveal the realistic sides to all the phenomenon modern people has begun to let go of such fantastical beliefs. The modern world is much more educated and so belief in sacrifices or wizardry or mythic beings has mostly disappeared from our society.  I believe that it is a good thing for us to be free of what can now be considered silly beliefs that our ancestors had, but that doesn't mean that we should be against the presentation of fantasy in culture.

Fantasy fiction shouldn't be thought of as a bad influence to children. It should be considered something that will open the minds of people to such creativity because creativity could become real and maybe one day that drive from fantasy can give us a real star ship. Realism can lack creativity and honestly, that can be very boring. I would rather read about epic battles with dragons or intergalactic war than read a biography of something i don't care about. (granted, a lot of non-fiction can also be very interesting) Modern culture should be open to fantasy for it's creative aspect and also look at it as a lesson to how ridiculous what historical cultures around the world believed and how it molded their lives. Fantasy in popular culture is needed. It's fundamental perks to readers and our popular culture are very legitimate.

Comment Stream

3 years ago

The Harry Potter books are intriguing to me in that one of the basic "facts" of the stories is that not only does a world of magic exist (classic fantasy) but that it exists UNNOTICED by the world of scientific reality it exists next to -- so we do live in an age of science, but it is an age of science and magic, we just don't know the magical world is there. That's a potentially interesting angle to follow to try and figure out the popularity of fantasy in an age of science, I think!