At best the Harry Potter stories may be regarded as a bit of harmless fun. At worst they may be considered to be one more assault on the young child's perception of reality. The debate between these two positions will doubtless continue until both sides are exhausted, but without any resolution achieved.
One thing we can be clear about is that they don't espouse Christian values. Hal Colebatch in the April AD2000 tried to make a case for the affirmative but failed. His argument that because suits of armour are enchanted to sing Christmas carols, the stories are therefore Christian is too absurd to warrant further comment.
At heart the stories, in common with The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, which Colebatch also deals with, are hero quests and good versus evil narratives. These are themes as old as human story-telling and predate recorded history and Christianity by thousands of years. The basic themes of Harry Potter, etc, do not come from the heart of traditional Western Christianity. They are found in every culture and every time. Their origins lie in the myths and legends of many ancient people, such as the Nordic, Greek and Hindu people.
The notion that such stories will lead to the development of a stronger Christian faith is nonsense. It is just this sort of vague self-indulgent spirituality, coupled with the occult or the meretricious marvels of science fiction, which people who have abandoned their Christian faith turn to.
In conclusion I would like to point out, as I have done before in AD2000, that there is not a shred of evidence to indicate Shakespeare was a Catholic. Hal Colebatch has no justification at all for claiming there is reason to believe he was.
JOHN F. DOHERTY