I suppose it is a bit late to throw my hat into the Lord of the Rings vs Harry Potter discussion, but here it goes.
I will admit to bias having been brought up in a house pro Lord and anti Potter. I myself love Tolkien's work and will one day sit down to read the Silmarillion. That confessed, this is my humbly offered opinion.
Lord of the Rings was written to show that anyone could be a hero. It wasn't Aragorn, the long-awaited king of Gondor who dealt the killing blow to the great darkness. It was a young gentry and his gardener, neither of whom were of any real importance on a world-wide scale. The heroes are not even assured of their victory. They press on fully prepared to lose, to die. They continue in the face of despair towards the ultimate victory.
I don't think we, as Christians, should be touchy about books containing evil portrayed as such. We are already aware that evil exists. The stories remind us that evil can be conquered, that darkness is not forever, and despair should not stop us from doing what is right. As Sam said in the movies,...
The Lord of Rings centers around Christian values we should keep in our lives. That is why I believe it is worth something as literature.
As for Harry Potter, I've never felt an intense desire to read it. I've heard that the quality rapidly deteriorates after the first three books. Even so, I don't find what I've heard about them encouraging. That's all for tonight and thank you.