“Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.” ~ Anne Elliot, Persuasion by Jane Austen

The problem, as we find in Harry Potter, with trusting in books is that a book is only as good as its author. Just because a writer puts words to paper and manages to get it published does not make those words good, or right, or true, or something that should be followed. Why? Because all authors are humans, and humans are flawed.

Gilderoy Lockhart is an author. Some of the stuff he writes is probably true and helpful but he is a fraud. He writes about things he has not and cannot do on his own. Nor teach anyone else to do. His soul purpose in authoring books is to make himself more famous and rich. To me, that makes his bound-and-binded words worth very little.

Tom Riddle’s diary, while not a traditional book, when Ginny pours her heart into it and relies on the author, she is taken over by the author’s agenda—as we all can be if we do not read with discernment. How else do you explain Hitler’s mass following after the publication of a book?

Harry trust in the “co-author” of his Potions book, not knowing that “co-author” is Snape. The book serves him well, getting him top marks, until Harry takes his trust in the Half-Blood Prince to casting spells. Some are funny, but one turns deadly.

Books are great, but they are also dangerous, and so should be approached and used with caution….

Harry and Ron looked under the sink where Myrtle was pointing. A small, thin book lay there. It had a shabby black cover and was as wet as everything else in the bathroom. Harry stepped forward to pick it up, but Ron suddenly flung out an arm to hold him back.

“What?” said Harry.

“Are you crazy?” said Ron. “It could be dangerous.”

“Dangerous?” said Harry, laughing. “Come off it, how could it be dangerous?”

“You’d be surprised,” said Ron, who was looking apprehensively at the book. “Some of the books the Ministry’s confiscated—Dad’s told me—there was one that burned your eyes out. And everyone who read Sonnets of a Sorcerer spoke in limericks for the rest of their lives. And some old witch in Bath had a book that you could never stop reading! You just had to wander around with your nose in it, trying to do everything one-handed. And—”

“All right, I’ve got the point,” said Harry. ~ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

Even the Bible should be approached with caution, not because it is not trustworthy but rather because so many before us have misinterpreted and misrepresented its teachings turning its message of love into one of hate. Grace into legalism. Forgiveness into guilt.

…Some things Paul writes are difficult to understand. Irresponsible people who don’t know what they are talking about twist them every which way. They do it to the rest of the Scriptures, too, destroying themselves as they do it. ~ 2 Peter 3:16 MSG

When we are irresponsible with any text, we are led to twisted truths and destructive thinking. But, I believe, especially so when we misinterpret the Bible because it is the most important book. It is the book that many of our fandoms reference and parallel. And, as the Bible says, words have the power to bring both death and life. Words, books, they have the power to lead us in right paths, but they also have the power to deceive us into following the wrong paths (Nazism is one example).

Enjoy books. Love books. But treat them with great care.

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