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on 10 May 2012
I was undecided whether or not to purchase this book as philosophy is a 'heavy' subject but my word am I glad that I did buy it, it is a gem amongst gems. As a dedicated fan of Harry Potter I thought I had read and understood the stories but how wrong I was! 'The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy' opened my eye's to the real story and my mind to the way to enjoy my future reading experience. I thoroughly recommend this book to readers in general and to HP fans in particular, you wont regret it.
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on 1 August 2013
fantastic book which is well written. exactly what it says on the cover. explores the Philosophy of Harry Potter from the beginning to the end. covers all 7 books in the series.
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on 24 May 2016
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on 22 December 2017
item was as described and packed very well.
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on 5 December 2012
this is actually for xmas so i have to wait until i can read it but i am very pleased nevertheless and looking forwatd to reading it
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on 2 November 2016
Not read it all yet but gives good foor for thought on how we react to others and is fair on saying what is just fiction and we should be happy with that.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 November 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been interested in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series for a while because I am interested in how "pop philosophy" could develop like other genres such as self-help, psychology, humour or lifestyle reads. As a philosophy and "pop philosophy" reader this book did not disappoint.

Thematically the book does deal with the Harry Potter books, films and media (in one essay on the topic of Dumbledore's sexuality the author addresses how characters and plot evolve or dont following final conclusions or publication).

However, there is no prior knowledge assumed or required of either Harry Potter or philosophy, I would suggest that anyone acquainted with Harry Potter through the press or pop culture would have sufficient knowledge to enjoy this book. For those approaching it with an interest in philosophy it may prove more of a mixed bag (hence my four star rather than five star rating), while there are some great essays here, there are others which are kind of light weight and feel like content from an internet/online forum. Similarly some of the endnotes at the finish of each chapter are expansive while others are simply references, at times that was disappointing.

The book has a great contents, index, notes on contributors and endnotes to accompany each chapter. The chapter breakdown is as follows:-

Foreword; Acknowlegements; Introduction;

Part One: The Horcrux of the Matter: Destiny, Identity and the Soul
1. The Soul in Harry Potter (Scott Sehon)
2. Sirius Black: Man or Dog? (Eric Saidel)
3. Destiny in the Wizarding World (Jeremy Pierce)

Part Two: The Most Powerful Magic of All
4. Choosing Love: The Redemption of Severus Snape (Catherine Jack Deavel and David Paul Deavel)
5. Love Potion No. 9 3/4 (Gregory Bassham)
6. Harry Potter, Radical Feminism, and the Power of Love (Anne Collins Smith)

Part Three: Potterwatch: Freedom and Politics
7. Patriotism, House Loyalty and the Obligations of Belonging (Andrew P. Mills)
8. Dumbledore's Politics (Beth Admiral and Regan Lance Reitsma)
9. Dumbledore, Plato and the Lust for Power (David Lay Williams and Alan J. Kellner)

Part Four: The Room of Requirement: A Potter Potpourri
10. Is Dumbledore Gay? Who's to say? (Tamar Szabo Gendler)
11. Choices vs. Abilities: Dumbledore on Self-Understanding (Gregory Bassham)
12. The Magic of Personal Transformation (S. Joel Garver)
13. Just in Your Head? J. K. Rowling on Seperating Reality from Illusion (John Granger with Gregory Bassham)
14. A Pensieve for Your Thoughts? Harry Potter and the Magic of Memory (Amy Kind)
15. A Hogwarts Education: The Good, the bad and the Ugly (Gregory Bassham)

Part Five: Beyond The Veil: Death, Hope and Meaning
16. The Real Secret of the Pheonix: Moral Regeneration through Death (Charles Taliaferro)
17. Beyond Godric's Hollow: Life After Death and the Search for Meaning (Jonathan L. Walls and Jerry L. Walls)
18. Why Harry and Socrates Decide to Die: Virtue and the Common Good (Michael W. Austin)

Contributors; The Marauder's Index.

There are some real gems for the fan, general reader or philosophy reader alike. In particular it was good to read some writing by Charles Taliaferro (I felt Part Five was the strongest and most interesting chapter of the book, dealing with issues of mortality) since his books are expensive. In the final chapter there is content about the roles of Voldemort and Harry as archetypical hero and villain, with citation from William James' conclusion that thoughts become actions, become habits, become character, become destiny. I liked this the best.

The chapter on Dumbledore's politics was interesting also, I was surprised that either Dumbledore or the series could be considered exemplars of political libertarianism and I agree with the conclusions of the author that this certainly is not the case.

The philosophy which is featured is mainly moral philosophy and ethics, the Potter series is framed in some ways as moral story telling (although I would maintain that the series is still not as good as some of those which it is compared with, such as Lord of The Rings or Star Wars).

Perhaps the citations of content from the Potter books or references to plotlines and final conclusions could be considered spoilers for anyone who has not read the books. However, I wouldnt think that there is enough content included to effect your enjoyment of the Potter books themselves. As I have stated it would interest anyone, the Potter fan, the philosophy reader or the general reader and I dont believe that the content or language makes it inaccessible. I dont know if a younger reader would appreciate it but a reader who has read the series and reflects and thinks about the moralising or philosophising in the dialogue would like it.
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VINE VOICEon 19 November 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As Potter is the (licensed) context and philosophy is the content, the die hard Potter fan is not going to get much in the way of new information through this book, but this is about depth not breadth. The depth is the understanding that can be found through a discussion of the broad philosophical themes that weave their way through Rowling's seven volume series. Potter is the hors d'oeuvres, but thinkers and philosophers from the historian Lord Acton to the author Sarah Zettel provide the meat. The purpose is to educate.

The book is not as heavy going as it might sound from this, indeed for the casual reader of the Harry Potter books will get a wider perspective and that same reader gets a thought provoking introduction to philosophy. This might or might not sound like a bargain, the reader's opinion on this will probably dictate what they get out of this book - one in a series of twenty one at the time of writing, so as formula's go this is a pretty popular one. If that sounds like money for old rope then consider the famous exchange between John Ruskin's lawyer, Sir John Holker and the litigious artist James Whistler:

Holker: "The labour of two days is that for which you ask two hundred guineas?"
Whistler: "No, I ask it for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime."

As this goes, fair comment.
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VINE VOICEon 24 November 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is just the sort of book that would appeal to me. It discusses lots of different ideas - radical feminism within the series, J.K.Rowling's conception of the soul, whether the author has the right to assert facts about a text beyond the rights of other readers. The style is accessible, but the philosophical issues are substantial.

The text is a series of essays written by philosophy academics, who interact at quite a high level with all seven of the books (along with interviews with J.K.Rowling, the films, and Rowling's other books). The book is loosely gathered into sections, with the essays within each section broadly related.

I am, personally, intrigued at how seriously the Christian worldview is taken by these philosophers. The impression given by popular media is that Christianity is a spent force. It seems from this book that Christianity represents one of the few philosophical options which does in fact stand up pretty well to scrutiny.

My quibble is that it's a little too fannish. The people who wrote the papers are a little too quick to pick up examples from the text (it's FICTION!!! It's not real! This ranks alongside those magazines and newspapers who report on the events of soap operas as though they are actually happening). Also, whilst all fiction needs to be sufficiently coherent to allow one to suspend disbelief without the lack of a clutch for the paradigm shift causing a major problem, it is probably unreasonable to expect a work of fiction to have (for example) a completely coherent philosophical structure. Having said that, the fact that such questions can be addressed in the context of Rowling's work says much for how well structured the seven books are. Oh, and I was slightly surprised by the lack of reference to Jung or archetypes - ultimate hero? Wise old man?

Harry Potter, alongside an eclectic range of other creations/endeavours (U2, Narnia, Dido), is one of my favourite reference points for discussing religion/philosophy within popular culture. This book highlights some of the reasons for this.
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VINE VOICEon 8 November 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
We spend too much time these days reading into the depth of books and discussing the evils of the characters what the writer intended etc instead of just having fun when reading the book. Even JK Rowling annoys me with some of the tosh she comes out with she insists so and so is this and they are that, frankly they are what I believe they are in my imagination, to be frank its a story an amazing ride that I and many others bought a ticket for and I for one have never looked back.

A good book is a good book for those who enjoyed it. I hold my hands upto being truly obssessed with the Harry Potter books. I love the characters, I love the stories, I cried when JK Rowling announced that seven novels and that would be her. I miss Harry, I miss the fact that there wont be any more, or will there I lament the end of Lord Voldermort and hope against hope that one day they will announce the comeback of Harry Potter.

I ordered this from vine more out of interest than anything. I read the novels over and over again even with a new book on the go I still have at least one of these being read along side it. I no sooner finish the seventh and I start the first again, I know a sad obssessed person thats me.

With my tickets attached to the fridge for the premier of the seventh film of the final book next week to hit the cinemas I thought this might be a fun read.

Its not bad, its not brilliant. I realised long ago that I just love the books because they are fun and I love the characters. I remember disecting books for english lit many many moons ago and wondering why would anyone not want to do this and maybe I saw the point then more than now.

If you have a spare ten pounds I recommend that you buy a JK Rowling novel if your looking for a fun interesting read. If your a student or person with an enquiring mind or just like the challenge of thinking outside the box then this is chocolate sauce for the mind or better still chewing gum. Its fun a little bit interesting and it gets you to look at things in a different way, and it really doesnt make me enjoy my books any less or any more. Some bits are tosh to my mind but thats what a book like this is about it makes you look at the bigger picture and hopefully grow a little or so they would have us believe.

You will know if its the book for you or not long before you order as its that type of book.

Reading the above you will probably be thinking bet she didnt enjoy. Well I did actually it was fun bits made me mad though some bits I felt didnt even begin to discuss what I would have enjoyed getting my teeth into. I would have to know a person really well to buy them this and I would happily pass my copy on to friends.
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