Thursday, August 23, 2007

Christianity Today on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This is old news but I wanted to mention some noteworthy articles on Deathly Hallows coming out of Christianity Today's cauldron. Besides reviewing the last book in The Gospel According to J.K. Rowling, CT's website has such pieces as What Would Jonathan Edwards Say About Harry Potter?, which examines what the eighteenth century preacher would have thought of JKR's masterpiece, and even a look at changing Evangelical opinions concerning the boy wizard in (A Bit Less) Positive About Potter. Finally Harry Potter 7 Is Matthew 6 explores the use of scripture in the last book and Spoiler Alert shows that the Harry Potter craze suggests that we are not telling the Gospel story correctly. I'm still waiting patiently for Alan Jacob's thoughts on the last book in his column, Rumors of Glory at Books & Culture at CT's website. Fingers crossed but until then enjoy the above articles.

1 comment:

Eeyore said...

Thanks for all the links. I always find it hard, though, to read the comments of people who have obviously not read the books. Or the ones who can't seem to read Harry Potter with anything like an open mind. And it really boggles my mind when the same Harry Haters really like Narnia and Lord of the Rings. One of their main criticisms of HP is that no one goes to church or talks about God or Jesus. So did I miss Gandalf (oops, a very powerful wizard) and Frodo going to church or praying to God or reading from the Bible? Or the Pevensie kids in Narnia (with all the magical creatures and talking animals) attending Sunday School or church? I must have, because the Christians who don't like HP usually point out that it's not like Lewis or Tolkien. Hmmmm. Someone has missed something there, but I don't think it's me this time.

I especially liked the link to the one about HP 7 being about Matthew 6. As it turns out, I had noticed all the same things--actually he could include most of the Sermon on the Mount. Our associate pastor has been doing a sermon series this summer on the Sermon on the Mount--excellent. But there are so many time that I've found verses that relate to various parts of the Harry Potter books. I just can't imagine that Rowling isn't aware of at least some of what she is writing.

The two uses of direct scripture on the tombstones in Deathly Hallows had to be so carefully chosen. They aren't ones that I've ever heard used on a tombstone, so it wasn't something she just threw in there, but something that obviously related to the story. The one from 1 Cor. wasn't one that just jumped out at me as being that familiar (sorry to admit that, but there it is), and I had to wonder how familiar most other people are with that particular passage. Bruno (HP 7 is Matt. 6), relates it very appropriately to Severus Snape, but when I read it, I thought it related more to what Harry had to do in finally facing Voldemort. Of course, it could be about the two of them--Snape and Harry each had an important part in the final defeat of evil as it existed in Voldemort. However, it's Hermione who explains to Harry that it means that there is life after death. It's not a definite pointer to her having had any religious training, but by the same token, I think most people who hadn't would read that sentence the same way Harry did--and he, having been raised by the Dursleys who didn't seem to do anything about Harry's religious training, clearly didn't understand it, but Hermione did. Putting that together with the times that Luna has also talked with Harry about life after death, it makes that particular choice of scripture very powerful in the story and very telling about Rowling's beliefs.

Thanks again for the links--