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A Review of Frodo & Harry: Understanding Visual Media and Its Impact on Our Lives

By Byron Snapp
May 01, 2004

Do not let the title of the book fool you. This volume encompasses more topics than its comparison of the worldviews of the Harry Potter movies and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The insights of the authors are important for every Christian whether or not the individual is a fan of fantasy movies.

In the opening chapters Baehr and Snyder provide a thought-provoking discussion of the worldviews of the two movies. The book was written prior to the release of the final installment of the Tolkien trilogy. The authors examine the validity of major criticisms raised against the Harry Potter movies and focus on their major concern with this series and its underlying presuppositions. The far different worldview of Tolkien in the trilogy is advanced in a manner that is balanced, honest, and helpful. Both examinations conclude with questions for readers who have viewed the movies to ponder and answer. This approach allows readers to come to their own conclusions as to the intent, purpose, and insights presented in the movies.

In the second part of the book the authors draw insights from their multifaceted research on the impact of the media on youth. It has varied effects depending on the child’s age and cognitive stage. The authors include helpful comments on the four pillars of media wisdom that are needed in order to properly teach media literacy.

Throughout the volume the authors stress a clear desire for Christians to develop a Biblical worldview for art and entertainment. They seek to equip believers to incorporate literature as an avenue for taking dominion. They explain the different categories of stories, besides the genre of fantasy, and show how each type of story can be approached from a Christian perspective.

Lastly, the authors provide a number of questions for the reader to use in making wise media choices. They then show how to analyze these questions.

This volume should open the eyes of many to the impact of the media on our world, our family, and our personal lives. Here we see media manipulation and the importance of a Biblical worldview. Baehr and Snyder neither expect nor desire that Christians withdraw from the media. In fact, they encourage Christians to be involved and live under the lordship of Christ in all their labors.

Paul instructed the Corinthians to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5). This book is an important step in the right direction. It provides concrete material for individuals and families to consider. The authors write with a passion for a Biblical worldview. The references to numerous other movies and excellent questions make this volume very practical.


Topics: Culture , Fiction, Media / Arts

Byron Snapp

Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia.  He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina.  He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren. 

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