Harry Potter

I have no finished Harry Potter.

Absolutely brilliant. I have not enjoyed reading a novel in a good while — I spend too much time reading for work to really have time or desire to read for pleasure. And yet I tore through Potter. It was worth every minute.

Rowling said in the past that she did not want to be open about her Christian faith because the end would be known before the beginning. Now I see what she meant.

The books are not like Narnia. They are not meant to be Christian allegory. I’m more reminded of J. R. R. Tolkein, who was asked whether the Lord of the Rings was suppose to be Christian allegory. He replied that they were not, but he certainly could not keep out something so core to his foundation.

With the Deathly Hallows, I imagine it is only a matter of time before some “seeker” church somewhere deploys Harry Potter in sunday school or sermon.

A basic understanding of the Gospels recounts much of the story. The story crescendos with the last book. Harry is marked for death in the beginning — a prophesy. He determines that he must die so that others may live and evil must die. He must, in almost explicit terms, conquer death.

And so he does conquer death. From it he is restored to life. The first to greet him resurrected is a woman. Harry stares down evil, once resurrected, and they clash in a final battle. Evil is destroyed. Death dies so the rest can live.

Don’t get me wrong, there was a mixture of literary references throughout the books from Arthurian legend to Greek and Norse mythology. But significant details standing out, particularly in the seventh book, are Christian themed, e.g. baptism to get the sword, death and resurrection, threes and sevens, water of life, conquering death, the scapegoat, etc.

It made for gripping, compelling reading. And I’m actually, having now read through these books, confounded by the silliness of some who are convinced those who read Harry Potter will get swept up in some sort of cult or paganism. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Erick Erickson

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4 Comments

  • While I never became quite as obsessed as my wife, I have to admit that I loved these books. I didn’t start reading them until the 6th book was released, and I have to admit that I allowed some of what I now see as nonsense – the whole “don’t read this because it’s satanic” garbage – to keep me from reading them sooner.

    Of course, once I actually got into the books – something those critics would do well to actually try – I realized that all of the charges levelled against it concerning the occult are incredibly misguided and completely unfounded. It’s no surprise that most people who have that reaction to the books will also say they’ve never read them (and wouldn’t dare).

    I’m a big fan of Tolkein, and I understand that many people reacted in a similar manner to his books when they were first published – any mention of wizards and goblins, and we’re all worshiping satan…

    I’ve now started reading the books to Susanna, and hopefully she’ll love them as well. She’s a little young for some of the later books, but she really enjoyed book one, and has of course seen most of the movies.

    One of the things that has lately frustrated me about most modern novels – especially after reading Tolkein, Patrick O’Brian, CS Lewis, etc. – is the simplistic and almost 3rd-grade-level use of the english language. After experiencing the work of someone who really knows how to work magic with the written word, it’s difficult to pick up another a-typical smash-and-grab American page-turner. Although the first 2 or 3 were clearly written for a younger audience, the last few in the Harry Potter series really helped to restore my faith in modern fiction. Maybe it’s just British authors that know how to do that…

  • I can’t wait to hear what your mother has to say about this!!! You are a brave soul to put these thoughts in writing!!! HA!

    Love,
    L.

  • I will admit that I try to be openminded with the kids and let them have a little bit of that freedom that Gerald fights for, so i bought one of the movies. After about ten minutes they told me that they didn’t want to watch it, I was actually proud. I haven’t tried the books, I just lack imagination, I think it was the D&D stuff that we were force on in high school!