At what age is it okay to start watching Harry Potter movies?

Caldonia asks: What age is okay to start watching Harry Potter movies?

I am a dog.  Stories don’t really work for me.

When Handsome reads books or watches tv, though, I do pick up on what he’s feeling.  And that can be really good or really bad.

For example, sometimes he sees something that makes him laugh as hard as when I’m chasing birds I can’t catch.  And other times, I’ve seen him watching the news and getting so angry or sad, it breaks my heart.

So, whether we’re talking about Harry Potter or anything else, the question isn’t whether the story or movie is good, but rather what its effect on the viewer is.  Especially if the viewer is young and impressionable.

Harry Potter is particularly interesting in this regard, as there are seven stories about him, each involving one year in the characters’ lives.  So some issues that are appropriate for young people, that show up in the first story or two, become much darker and more complex in the later ones. The stories get more intense, more violent, and definitely scarier.

But even the first stories have lots of scary elements.  After all, at its core, this is about a boy whose parents were killed while trying to save him from a crazed sorcerer who is still trying to kill him.  Not exactly “Kid Stuff” as they say!  But there’s no question, these are terrific stories with lots to teach kids who enjoy them.  So I’m not about to say not to try them out.

Instead, my take on these would be the following.  At whatever age the child shows some interest in them, start with the first book.  A parent can read it to the child, or maybe they can read it themselves, or listen to the really excellent recording of it.  And then see for yourself – was it too scary?  If the child feels okay with that, then they can try to watch the first movie.  Which is pretty scary!

And then proceed that way.  Always read the book first.  That sets the kid up really well for what happens in the movies.  And if one book becomes a bit too much – too upsetting, too scary, or even just too complicated – then put it away for a year.  There’s no problem with that.  Remember, when the books were new, fans had to wait years for each one!

And I promise, any kid will be fully mature enough to handle everything by the time they, and Harry, are 17, when the final book takes place!

And speaking of Harry Potter, those people who keep asking me what Handsome is like?  Well my eyesight isn’t good enough to tell you what he looks like, but deep down inside, he’s a lot like Hagrid!

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