Graeme Whiting (artist’s conception above), the principal of the Acorn School in Nailsworth, England, has identified a terrifying new hazard for today’s youth: popular fantasy novels. According to a recent post on the school’s official blog, Whiting sees the bestselling works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, and Terry Pratchett, among others, as a harmful influence on the developing minds of schoolchildren, resulting in “addiction” to “insensitive” literature that causes irrevocable damage to delicate, still-developing minds:
Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, and Terry Pratchett, to mention only a few of the modern world’s ‘must-haves’, contain deeply insensitive and addictive material which I am certain encourages difficult behaviour in children... and can damage the sensitive subconscious brains of young children, many of whom may be added to the current statistics of mentally ill young children.
Whiting also wishes that children (and one assumes adults as well) required a “special licence” to buy fantastical works, once they can discern “beauty” and “reality” from fantasy, which he compares to sugar:
Buying sensational books is like feeding your child with spoons of added sugar, heaps of it, and when the child becomes addicted it will seek more and more, which if related to books, fills the bank vaults of those who write un-sensitive books for young children!
Needless to say, he recommends as an alternative to modern “sensationalist” fiction the classic works of Shakespeare, Dickens, and the Romantic poets, which are only partly filled with sex, murder, violence, and mythological creatures.