Thursday, July 26, 2007

Harry Potter - The Spiritual Story

I've been traveling on business this week and have had the opportunity to devour the latest Harry Potter book The Deathly Hallows. I have been fortunate that my children were the right age to be interested in this book ( my oldest is Harry's age). I started reading the first book to them at bed time (it seems so long ago) and it's one of my fondest memories as a parent. My oldest (who struggles the most academically) has read each book several times.

I myself have enjoyed the whole series immensely. My favorite movie is the Lord of the Rings series. Although I have not read any of the LOTR books the movies are incredibly well made, but more importantly carry a great message. The triumph of good over evil, the importance of character and is loaded with Christian themes. LOTR replaced my previous favorite movie - The Sound of Music - which carried similar themes.

I categorized this post under "religion" which will surprise my atheistic colleagues who have read the series. After reading the 4th book of the Harry Potter I became convinced that Rowling was secretly creating a series like LOTR and Chronicles of Narnia. However, the crowd I associated with at that time (home shooling families) largely condemned the book as Satanic. After reading Looking for God in Harry Potter I realized the depth of Rowling's Christian themes and it was quite easy to predict how the series would end.

Although the previous 6 books hinted at Christian themes, the Deathly Hallows is the most overtly Christian. Harry is a Christ-like figure who (literally) carries a bit of evil with him. Consider:
  • the prophecy of his birth
  • the "cross" pulled from the frozen pond (and the baptism there)
  • the "blood" he gave
  • the themes of good Vs evil and the ultimate triumph of good
  • the series begins and ends with the giving of ones life for another - a greater good that no man can give (even Dobby gets into the spirit)
  • the resurrection theme
  • the temptations Harry faced (power over death itself) and doubts (lies told about his mentor)
  • the disciples that stick with Harry despite the prospect of death and the desertion of one disciple (i.e. Peter/Ron) as death approached
  • an Armageddon battle of Good Vs Evil
  • multiple quotes from scripture
  • the Hallows is a Trinity symbol
  • Dumbledore is a "Father" figure
  • The place Harry and Dumbledore meet is "Kings Cross" - this is also the place where Harry was "born again" in book 1
  • Peter, James, John and Harrys mother accompanying him into the forest
  • the power of Love over death (why good wins and Snape is a good guy)

There are many, many more. In addition, Rowling takes aims at other evils such as Nazism and it was interesting to note that Home Schooling was banned when Voldemort took over. Some people take issue with witch craft but that is really just an allegory for technology which our generation has allowed to take over our lives.

Rowling initially was afraid that if people were aware of her Christian faith, she would give away too much of what's coming in the series. "If I talk too freely about that," she told a Canadian reporter, "I think the intelligent reader — whether ten [years old] or sixty — will be able to guess what is coming
in the books."”

Rowling's brilliance has been in writing a book that allowed millions of young people to be exposed to the basic tenants of Christianity without shoving it down their throat. In an age when the media and liberal elite don't believe in evil this is a heartening accomplishment.

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