The Gospel message of JK Rowling

The Washington Post Religion page has a long article discussing the various Christian themes found in the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling:

“By the second Harry Potter book, I began to think the relationship of Harry and Dumbledore was underpinning the narrative in a supernatural, and distinctly Christian, way.

That author J.K. Rowling’s series is based on a battle between good and evil is so obvious it’s hardly worth mentioning. There’s Harry and Dumbledore against Voldemort; the House of Gryffindor against that of Slytherin; even, symbolically, Fawkes the phoenix against Nagini the snake.

A more profound, if subtle, moral interplay is found between Harry and Dumbledore, who effectively lead the joint forces of good. Harry is a boy wonder, revered and reviled for his special powers by the respective forces of good and evil at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Headmaster Dumbledore is the best wizard there is, a seemingly omniscient force for good who rarely reveals his powers in full and who closely observes others’ courses of action.

Dumbledore knows Harry plays a unique and indispensable role in the battle against evil, and outwardly helps him from time to time. Yet for most of the series, Dumbledore keeps Harry unaware of the goings-on known or orchestrated by Dumbledore involving the bigger picture. In the course of his young life, Harry often feels Dumbledore is ignoring his personal needs.

A well-known, heart-wrenching passage in the Bible, from an anguished Jesus on the cross, captures their relationship well: ‘My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?’ When Jesus says that, he feels abandoned by God. We know from earlier in the Gospels that he understands the special role he is afforded by God the Father. But at that moment, it’s as if he feels separated from God or doesn’t comprehend the metaphysics of God’s plan to redeem the world through his sacrifice.”

I personally have been fascinated reading the books as they’ve come into print by the obvious and not so obvious Christian themes that are woven into the narratives.

What have the rest of you thought about the Potter books? Are you ready for the release of the final volume? (I’ve already pre-ordered our families two copies.) How about the next movie? (We’re buying our tickets to the midnight showing today…)

Read the rest here: ‘Harry Potter’ and the Gospel of J.K. Rowling

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