Power, Love and Harry Potter

Shhh!  Don’t Tell.  I’ve been reading Harry Potter

I have just finished reading the Harry Potter stories again.  Now I’m ready for the movies of the last book.  Oh dear, that’s a confession that’s going to get me into trouble, but there you go.  Some Christians do get rather worked up about these things.

I was impressed again with JK Rowling’s writing.  I like her style, her use of words, her humour.  She seems to know young people very well and effectively describes their fears and their progress through life.  The magical world she created is also quite extraordinary.  It’s not on the majestic scale of JRR Tolkien but it’s believable and it draws one in.  There are one or two things one might quibble with or want to know more about but, like good science fiction writers, she gives you enough to enjoy and lightly skims over the bits that should not be examined too closely. It is truly a magical world.  Owls deliver post; witches and wizards really do fly on brooms; and they even have a Quidditch world cup—a game played on brooms.

The great theme that runs throughout the series of course is that of good versus evil and, specifically, in the form of power versus love.  There are instruments and positions of power; if any of them are sought for themselves alone, for the good of the holder alone, they will corrupt.  The old adage, ‘power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely’ is explored throughout the series.

We fear weakness.  We want to be strong or to be around those who are strong. 

Of course the real baddy in the books, Lord Voldermort, has completely corrupted his soul in his pursuit of power.  He has no interest in anyone around him, well not in their friendship, only in their service—their complete subjection to himself.

The good guy, the tireless warrior on the side of good, the headmaster Albus Dumbledore, is only too aware of his weakness.  He knows that, given half a chance, he would be no different from Voldermort.  Power appeals to him and he knows how easy it is to succumb to its allure; as a result he avoids positions (like the Minister of Magic) where the temptation would be too great, and he remains a teacher.

There is an interesting cameo from Dumbledore’s youth that is touched on in the last of the seven books but not explored.  Dumbledore was tempted by a power-hungry fellow student and in plotting to conquer the world they convince themselves that their pursuit of power is “for the greater good”.  The idea that “one man should die for the sake of the people” is of course something with which Christians are familiar.  And the idea that the end justifies the means has been quoted to justify a host of horrors throughout history.  

What appeals to me about Harry Potter himself (yet frustrates the adult in me no end) is that he is no super hero.  Some things are so obvious to my adult view but I know that when I was Harry’s age (the books cover the seven years from Harry’s twelfth to his eighteenth year) I was even less socially adept than Harry and way behind him in political and social awareness.

Harry’s greatest strength is that he cares about people around him.  He may hate with a bitter hatred those he sees ranged on the side of evil, but he will not kill them or leave them to die—even when their death would have been caused by their own attempts to destroy him.

The key to the defeat of Voldermort by Harry (and Harry’s own protection) is the love of Harry’s mother who died trying to save Harry life when he was one year old.  The same theme returns at the end when Harry himself is prepared to die to try to save the lives of his friends.  His action creates the force that finally destroys the evil Lord Voldemort.  Once again we have the idea that one person should die for the good of all.  The key difference is that men and women of power use the idea of the ‘greater good’ to cause others (never themselves) to suffer ‘all in a good cause’.  For Harry, and for the Christian who follows Jesus’ call to take up his or her cross and follow Jesus, death for the sake of others is a choice.  And it is the choice itself that brings life.

[For an interesting interview with JK Rowling about some of these themes, of which I was not aware when I wrote this post, see here] – added 23 Nov. 2010

Advertisements

140 Comments

Filed under Harry Potter, Odds & Ends

140 responses to “Power, Love and Harry Potter

  1. Pingback: Grace: He knew you’d want to come back | Wondering Preacher

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review | Wondering Preacher

  3. Thank You for the excellent article – I loved reading it!

    Like

  4. your blog has lots of useful information.
    I just started blogging a while ago and it feels great.

    Like

  5. Pingback: Between the Lines: ‘I Read, Therefore I AM:’ Ode’ to Dr. Dolores Nehemiah | tea house

  6. i also love harry potter and all stuff movie inside

    Like

  7. I have never read any of the books though my kids tell me I should.

    Like

  8. Hi,very informative article. I found you blog from Bing. Keep it up and I’ll visit more often

    Like

  9. Pingback: Power, Love and Harry Potter (via Wondering Preacher) « StellaStory

  10. Thanks for the motivation. I’m about to start reading the ‘Potter’ books.
    If you are looking for something to read now – try ‘Terry Pratchett’ His books present a comic ‘lord of the rings’ with some great real life humorous analogies. He begins almost as childrens books but by the time he gets to his later books (numbering in the 20s) his humor and writing has evolved to adult levels. They are all a great read. (Obviously a big fan!!!!)

    Like

  11. michvayn

    The great thing about the Harry Potter books is that anyone at any age can read it and find enjoyment in the books! It’s always a bit upsetting when the movies leave things out though.

    Like

  12. Ian I think you have really hit the button on this one in correlating love and power as diametrically opposing forces. One of my thoughts is that Ms Rowlings in describing the Dementors is really describing what depression does leaving one with ones saddest thoughts and so is able to help children understand and in some way externalize depression and while holding on to a happy thought might be simplistic remedy it is none the less helpful in dealing with the darkness of depression. Her inclusion of the Mirror of Erised ‘I show not your face but your heart’s desire’. Harry, upon encountering the Mirror, can see his parents, Dumbledore cautions Harry that the mirror gives neither knowledge nor truth and that men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they see. This mirror is helpful in that one can see ‘your hearts desire’ in dealing with loss/death but also need to move on. Keep writing!!!

    Like

    • Thanks Michael,
      I hadn’t thought about the dementors and depression. Mind you, it doesn’t do to think about the dementors too much. But you are spot on.

      Like

    • Ozarkhomesteader

      I always saw dementors that way–as manifestations of depression.

      Furthermore, when students freeze up over big research projects, I’ve recommended that those who are Potter fans create a patronus of their own, to help them break through that fear of research and writing. It really seems to work, as I ask them to visualize their patronus and describe it.

      Like

  13. I liked your post, but what I liked even more was your profile page “About Ian Webster”. You write really great and the fact that it is your passion is underlined over and over again, line after line, para after para…
    I like to write too, and reading you tells me that I have a long way to go 🙂 Sometimes I feel I fall short of ideas, or sometimes just encouragement. Whatever the case, I try and keep my spirits up and continue to scribble a little from time to time.
    It’s really great to know that you are a preacher in your Church and that the name of your blog is not just a random or abstract name you thought was cool. Great writing, again!

    You can read me at
    http://tehsecretcloset.wordpress.com
    Thanks,
    ashKool

    Like

    • Thanks Ashutosh.
      Ideas aren’t easy to come by. But getting something down as often as possible is really important. Sometimes it turns to nothing; sometimes it becomes something you can use.
      Take care,
      Ian

      Like

  14. pistolpete

    A good summation and reflection on a series that has become a cultural phenomena. Thanks for the post.

    Like

  15. beabots keniston

    I loveeee the series! I wanna try reading J.K. Rowling’s non-HP books.

    Like

  16. When will we know the truth?
    Having read all the comments – wow – where are we? – Have a look at – http://neuo.wordpress.com/

    Like

  17. waw, when does launch harry potter 7? please answer my question…

    Like

    • Ryan

      Harry Potter 7 Part 1 comes out in theaters on November 19, 2010 in the USA.

      Harry Potter 7 Part 2 comes out in theaters on July 15, 2011 in the USA.

      Like

  18. I Love this book and I have several topics about it (in my native language)

    Like

  19. peopleboo

    Я тоже обожаю эти книги! И эту просто волшебную историю.
    Мне даже переделки российских писателей, как вариации на эту тему нравятся.
    Ну не могут люди свое придумать. Ничего страшного.
    Оригинал они все равно никогда не переплюнут. 🙂

    Like

  20. Love the Harry Potter series, can’t believe you’ve only just read them! I grew up with Harry and the gang and can’t wait for the final two films, although it will be really sad when its all over 😦

    Like

  21. sheilalovespink

    HP series really helped me to develop my imagination when I was little. Of course,I didn`t believe that wizards and flying broomsticks are real, but these books took me closer to the creative world I live in now. Thanks J.K.R.! I am a christian btw,but I don`t condemn HP ,it`s just a kids story,after all. Just fantasies. But the truth is in the Bible and anyone who can separate the reality from imagination,will find it. 🙂

    Like

  22. saw harry potter books here in our High School library, i just want to grab them again.

    Like

  23. goldenpast

    haha, I just re-read the 7th book last night 🙂
    Loove it.

    Like

  24. waters boylan

    Glad you made this post. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Harry Potter Economics/society, and how the books are so incredibly accessible. What a relationship… intriguing stuff.

    Like

  25. Juan Paulo Gultiano

    What a nice post! Kudos!

    I love the series!

    I started reading the HP books when I was in high school and, I have to admit, it changed the way I view life and my dear friends.

    Like

  26. i have read all the stories of harry porter and i am glad to read the reviews of it.

    Like

  27. Kat

    Very interesting take on Harry Potter. This makes me want to read the books all over again and I definitely can’t wait for the last two movies! =)

    Like

  28. ima kazmi

    i liked the interpretive thought process that reflects in your post…Harry Potter according to me is the most fun series ever, but it is so much more than that. A lot of people continually commit the folly of dismissing it as a kid’s book, failing to realise the myriad issues it raises, the internal power struggles it encapsulates and the personal growth of the protaganists that is encaptured.

    Like

  29. I can’t wait to go to the theme park. I haven’t read the books a second time yet. I want to wait til the films have ended, and then read them all slowly in comparison…

    Like

  30. Pingback: Power, Love and Harry Potter (via Wondering Preacher) « A Nerd's Life

  31. Ryan

    I have read the Harry Potter books multiple times, and enjoyed them everytime.

    It’s cool how you can find a new detail that you didn’t notice before, or how you interpret things differently each time you read the book(s).

    Ryan

    Like

  32. Wow, maybe I should give the Harry Potter books a go! 🙂

    Like

  33. wongmuntilan

    I love this article! I read Harry Potter’s early books, thinking that I was reading stories about a kid hero. Then someday I realized that I myself can be considered childish compared to Harry (although I’m twice older than him).
    I also admire Severus Snape. I sometimes think that he’s even braver than Harry. Harry is loved by many people, his friends would die for him. But who’ll die for Snape? He took the worst, most dangerous and unpleasant role in the story. He did it for his love for Lily and Harry.
    After reading the seventh book, I guess I admire Snape more than Harry…
    What do you think? (^^)

    Like

  34. and congrats on making it to freshly pressed. cheers! 🙂

    Like

  35. hello! i love harry potter books too. i have the entire set of ebooks which i would gladly share with you. you can find it in my blog, under the ebooks page. enjoy! 🙂

    http://yourentertainmentlounge.wordpress.com

    Like

  36. There is only one reason I envy England.
    Harry potter.

    http://lovelybora.wordpress.com/

    Like

  37. I too, enjoy worshipping the dark under lord after reading Harry Potter. Christians are right. lol.

    Like

  38. Not all of the Christian community hates J.K. Rowling’s series. Some of us can understand the difference between fantasy and reality (C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series is a blatant Christian fable couched in fantasy, for example.)

    I thoroughly enjoyed the books, can’t say the same for the movies. I’m rather dreading the latest butcher job. In my opinion, the Harry Potter series is much less insidious and harmful than the Golden Compass series. Nice review!

    Like

  39. My generation grew up with Harry Potter and I love how J.K. Rowling enthralled each person- young and old. I think that religion is not relevant in shape or in form with the series. It’s a science-fiction for god’s sake! oops..

    I think Harry Potter will remain on the shelves for the next generations to come and it will certainly be dubbed as one of the best classics… sooner or later that is. I will definitely introduce the series to my kids and to my grandkids someday 🙂

    Like

  40. When the 5th book came out, my Catholic university offered a course: “Harry Potter, Blessing or Blasphemy”, that explored whether the HP phenomenon was beneficial or harmful for Christians.

    The conclusion was that the messages of the series were in line with Christian teachings and certainly not an affront toward religion. And this was before the 6th or 7th books and any information about Harry’s sacrifice was around, so I think that says something for the positive power of the series.

    http://mugglemeetswizard.wordpress.com/

    Like

  41. You said that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not on the majestic scale of JRR Tolkien. To which I say, Harry is a school kid, not a Dúnadan. Were there any schools in Middle Earth? Why not say JRR Tolkien’s universe was so grand that he was able to completely do away with compulsory education?

    Ooo… I’m liking it!

    Ah, well….
    I suppose the point you really wanted to make was about dying for others. The “greater good” concept was troublesome for me in the final book. I liked Harry’s politics when he stood up to Rufus Scrimgeour. My Sunday school teachers parroted the idea that Jesus would have died for just one person. A greater good of a single soul? That wasn’t in the books. If the greater good must be part of my choice-criteria, then I really ought to be given more power.

    Like

  42. Hi! 🙂

    You know, I almost believe J.K. Rowling is a witch. I mean, how does she imagined all of that? It is so intricate to the tiniest details that it is easier to believe that she’s more like describing something she have seen. The world is so captivating that I read and read and read the book all over again. And the “for greater good!” No other stories made me realize and believe that. All officials must read the series so they’ll stop acting like a crocodile in corrupting our money 😐

    Like

  43. Enlightening, and as the young kids say now a days. “Haters gonna hate.”

    “These trials only test your faith to see whether or not it is strong and pure. Your faith is being tested, as fire tests gold and purifies it. … And your faith is far more precious to the Lord than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tested, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of his return.” Peter 1:7

    As long as you have faith, is how I see it 🙂

    Like

  44. Pingback: Harry Potter « Angelictarzan's Blog

  45. How appropriate…I just finished re-reading the fifth in the HP series. Probably for the 9302840th time, haha. I enjoyed your analysis, all themes and messages I’ve noticed myself. Particularly interesting is the connection between Christianity and the sacrifices both HP and his family make to protect those around him. Thanks for your insight!

    Like

  46. Haha so I started reading HP I found I loved the way how JK wrote the stories. I am 18 and I started reading the books this year by influences from my boyfriend and if before I thought the movies sooo cool now I think they are poor and lack many details.
    JK is the way man! xD
    – Sorry my bad English =\

    Like

  47. I Love Harry Potter series…
    Great post!

    Why are you ashamed of reading HP? I have read the books so many times, and here in the Philippines, if you are a Potter geek..you belong to the middle and elite class. And since English is just our second language, people will label you an “intelligent one” or an “intellectual” (I still do not know if it applies to everybody here) ..hahaha.

    I have to agree. JK Rowling is indeed a creative fiction writer. And I love how she ended the series with Deathly Hallows!

    Like

  48. whuffie

    I’m glad to see a fellow Christian who isn’t afraid to use the gift that God gave them – our brain and ability to think for ourselves.

    When I see a real life person start flying on a broom or point a piece of wood at someone and kill them with a word and blast of green light, I’ll start to worry about the “spells” described in the series.

    I ended up really enjoying the books, and bought the series. I’m all for staying away from something if any person (Christian or otherwise) finds it offensive or tempts them away from their chosen religion. That’s only prudent. However, it’s refreshing to see another person who can enjoy Harry Potter, Tolkien, and any other fantasy book in the genera and enjoy them for what they are. Harry’s story was about self sacrifice, friendship, loss, growing up, and all forms of love to overcome the darkness within humanity and the corruption without. That seems noble to me.

    Like

  49. Reading fiction such as Harry Potter does not mean I am not a Christian and offended by the comment from mom4truth. Shocking!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

    Like

  50. I recently reread the all the books and fell in love all over again! Great post.

    Like

  51. Pingback: Coming Out of the Broom Cupboard « speak what we feel

  52. reneamac

    I’ve always thought it an unfortunate irony that much of American Christendom decries the series; for it stands as a beacon of light defying the Modern-postmodern (though I prefer hyper-modern) mantra repeated by Lord Voldemort himself: “There is no good or evil, only power…”

    Excellent post! Glad you got freshly pressed because I will definitely be at least posting this to my Facebook if not tag-team blogging about it myself.

    Cheers!

    Like

  53. I realize that this post will probably fall on deaf ears, but I write anyway as an appeal to readers who may be deceived by the contents of the article. The author of the article calls himself a “Christian” and a “Pastor”, however, if he were a true Christian, he would know that “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this…to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27. Further, he would understand that the book of Deuteronomy (18) explicitly warns AGAINST the practice of magic and sorcery, calling it an “abomination” before God. The author may enjoy the Harry Potter books, but he may not claim he is a Christian. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matt 7:15

    Like

    • Phew. I thought it was faith in Jesus, no matter how fallen we are, that made us “Christian”.
      Fortunately for all of us, whether Moms for Truth or Wondering Preachers, God’s forgiveness is for real, way beyond our deserving. And it’s His gift; we don’t get to decide who receives it.
      I guess we just don’t “get” Jesus primary command, “Love one another.” I know I have a long way to go.

      Like

      • Paul

        This is a lie from the pit of Hell. There is one sin for the Christian for which there is no forgiveness, and that is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

        One way to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to willfully and knowingly partake in a sin which God has expressly forbidden, such as witchcraft. If you have practiced it, and repented of it, and purposed never to practice it again, Jesus will forgive you of it. If you knowlingly practice it, or condone, as you do someone else’s practice of it, believing that you will be forgiven of it, you are sorely mistaken and are a walking dead man.

        The loving Jesus you speak of who tolerates his disciples condoning witchcraft is not the Jesus of the Bible but “another Jesus” and the “gospel” you preach is “another gospel” from “another spirit” (2 Cor. 11:3-4)

        Mom4Truth or any other reader, do not waste your time preaching to this man, for even his name is a deception, for to “wonder” is to be unsure. This man knows exactly whom he serves and it is NOT Jesus Christ. This man is a pagan as sure as 2+2=4. And pagans love to appropriate Christianity to lure wordly “Christians” to their doom. There are even pagans who call themselves “Christian.” This man is of that ilk.

        They love to overemphasize “love” and “forgiveness” and “grace” and “mercy” forgetting all about JUDGMENT. And this man claims to be a preacher in a methodist church!!!

        Scripture says to mark false prophets such as this, and leave him alone, for his end will be in accordance with his works.

        The only people he will fool will be those who want to be fooled. Any true Christian knows that magic is on Jesus’ list of abominations as the Apostles constantly ran up against witches and God’s judgment of them was swift (Acts 13) Leave this terribly deceived man to his fate.

        Like

    • Wow, you seriously believe that I cannot be Christian enjoy reading fiction such as Harry Potter? I am very offended!

      Like

    • this just in: thou shalt not love God and Harry Potter.

      Who cares? I really don’t think anyone will appear before God and have Him read down a checklist.

      “I see you were a devout Christian, led many to Christ, loved the Lord your God–wait, what’s this? YOU READ HARRY POTTER????? Curtain’s for you. NEXT!”

      Like

      • Paul

        You said, “Who cares? I really don’t think anyone will appear before God and have Him read down a checklist.”

        The Bible says:

        “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and THE DEAD WERE JUDGED OUT OF THOSE THINGS WHICH WERE WRITTEN IN THOSE BOOKS, ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS.

        You also said, “I see you were a devout Christian, led many to Christ, loved the Lord your God–wait, what’s this? YOU READ HARRY POTTER????? Curtain’s for you. NEXT!”

        This last sentence is eerily accurate, as Jesus said,

        “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

        Whatever happens, you cannot say that you have not been warned.

        Like

    • I’m sorry, but is vehemently attacking someone for their appreciation for their beliefs very “Christian” of you? I know what you are saying, it is against the Bible, and therefore, God to speak of magic, the occult, and such. But what Harry Potter is, isn’t a plot to overturn the Christian faith, or have people question the life, teachings and sufferings of Jesus. It’s a children’s story that grows with it’s readers, the trials and tribulations of adolescence and tinged with things we all face in life; death, adversaries, and discrimination, and rising above all of it to be a better person. We see the errors of great people, and the bravery that one boy takes into making the world a better place for ALL people. Does magic exist? Not in the way that J.K. Rowling has created it no. Does the magic of words, literature and story exist? Damn right it does. Not only was the OP praising J.K. Rowling for her talent to create magic, but he was also praising her for the ability to capture the human essence in her work. The same characteristics we see in heroes, the unlikely ones of course, moving our hearts the most, and much of it parallels the goodness of Jesus Christ.

      I don’t think that you clearly understood his post, and this is not an attack on you. I am just helping to justify his article and your obviously misread assault of a reply back to him.

      P.S. I would like to point out that at the end of the day, you cannot say what someone is or is not until you have walked in their shoes for a week. Just something to keep in mind 🙂

      Like

    • There’s something new going around right now called fiction. You should look into what that means.

      Like

    • Mr Fishpaste

      Gee, so reading a book that contains a morally dubious act (witchcraft) leads to our eternal damnation! So that means anyone who has ever read a book (or watched a movie) which contained greed, murder, hatred, violence, or illicit sex is going to hell: That’s pretty much everyone who has read a book or watched a movie…Really Now.

      Oh and also, St Paul used pagan imagery and prose to present the gospel to the Greeks at the Areopogus, so why can’t the wondering preacher use HP to present the gospel today.

      Like

      • I agree with what you are saying.
        Putting it another way is to know that everyone has a mind that thinks differently from someone else – we each have a choice to think like a witch or an angel and the spirit is the difference between the material and spiritual.
        To think like a witch is being unkind
        To think like an angel is being kind
        See it all in my blog – http://neuo.wordpress.com/

        Like

  54. I love Harry Potter!! What a magical world to submerge ourselves in. But I must admit that I LOVE Owls!! That picture of the Owl you have up is amazing!

    Like

  55. You know, I could never get through the fifth Harry Potter book. Harry really started to get on my nerves. I read the first two books and thought they were okay, but then I started to read on, and found out that I really didn’t like Harry. He is the classic hero. He is too strong. He has all of these moments where he defeats Voldemort, who happens to be the second strongest wizard on the planet. Yeah, I see it, “Twelve year old boy defeats national terrorist in a gun fight.” I don’t think that will happen.
    I mean you know from the start of the books that he isn’t going to lose this fight. Good has to trump evil, doesn’t it? I don’t think so. Then, he starts the “No this is my job, I must do it alone.” Yeah, right, that’s gonna work. Sometimes, I wish that the evil team would win. Especially if someone as well known as J.K. Rowling would have it happen. She made all her money. Why not throw off her readers, give them a shock? I would like her much better.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think that she is a great writer. She made millions off of these books. I just don’t like Harry’s character.

    -Danny

    http://superhive.wordpress.com

    Like

    • Of course she was neither famous nor rich when she started the stories.
      But yeah, she’s not going to appeal to everyone.
      You are, of course, quite right: “‘Twelve year old boy defeats national terrorist in a gun fight.’ I don’t think that will happen.”
      It doesn’t happen to Harry either. Most of the time he simply does what he has to do and forces outside of himself are at work. Kind of what I was getting at.
      Anyway, sorry you didn’t get to the end. But what blows my hair back won’t do it for everyone. Thanks for stopping by.
      Take care,
      Ian

      Like

  56. Ozarkhomesteader

    I agree with those posters who say you have nothing to fear in liking the Harry Potter books. Those who profess not to like them because they are demonic clearly have not read them.

    I am not looking forward to the 7th and 8th movies because I’m afraid that the 5th and 6th movies went so far away from the plot line that the 7th and 8th movies may be unrecoverable. In particular, I appreciated the friendships and teamwork exhibited more in the books than the movies (including 4, now that I think about it). I also miss the studying; Harry became great in part because he worked hard at it–even if it was sometimes under pressure, like fear of fighting a dragon.

    Finally, I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts about the general darkness of the later movies versus the books. The books include a great deal of darkness, but it’s mediated by the friendships, the laughter (e.g. as teachers failed to undo WWW spells), the Weasley twins. What do you think? I view it as a model for a good life. Good friends and laughter can brighten even impending death.

    http://ozarkhomesteader.wordpress.com/

    Like

    • Some good thoughts.
      I hadn’t thought about the lighter stuff not being there to meidiate the darkness of the movies.
      Of course movies have to cut so much that I’m amazed at how well they did.
      It seems to me that there are a number of themes or questions that are answered in the final story but that were not raised in the movies. What are they going to do? Especially since the last book is going to be two movies?
      Interesting. I’m just glad I’ve enjoyed the books so much. I see the movies as a few cameos to bring add to the pleasure. I don’t think I would have watched all seven if the movies were all I had.
      Thanks,
      Ian

      Like

      • Ozarkhomesteader

        I first met Harry via the first movie, in the movie theater. It was magical. I then went on and saw the next three on the small screen at home. After that, I knew I had to read the books, and I did so insatiably. Like you, I keep watching the movies because of my desire to see the books brought to life. I just wish for more of the laughter, the lightness (or even a warm glow), the friendships on the big screen.

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts on HP, both these and your initial ones.

        Like

  57. Nice blog! You might want to put some space in between reading the books and watching the movies. I’ve found I tend to analyze the movie in an unforgiving manner if I have JUST read the masterpiece.

    PS There is no shame to be an adult who reads HP. If anything it says you’re a creative soul with respect for imagination. Welcome to the Potter posse; your member’s card is in the mail.

    Like

    • That’s great! Does it give me free ticket to the theme park?
      As I said elsewhere, it’s not shame that made me nervous. I’ve heard so many Christians trash Harry that I was expecting an avalanche of negativity; intsead I got Freshly Pressed and overwhelmed with encouragement!

      Like

    • LauraK

      I have read the entire series 3 times! These are fabulous book and my daughter and I have enjoyed all the movies as well. I just wish she’d write some more! At one point there was a rumor that she was writing an adult mystery series. Anyone know anything about that?

      Like

    • apotterhead&proudofit

      hear, hear! i agree wholeheartedly about being an adult with a creative soul and loving to read harry potter books. i adore rowlings writing style – the wit, the humor and the profound insights. no way can i count how many times i’ve read the series. as others, i like the movies as visual counterpart to the books, yet the books are indeed the masterpiece and reference for a multitude of satisfying details. harry potter ROCKS!!!

      Like

  58. Once again we are proved that these masses of people around the world are actually not THAT stupid – things (books) that sell good aren’t necessarily bad things (books), even though normally I tend to be slightly snobbish and consider that a mass-culture product just CANNOT be good enough for me. This kind of attitude doesn’t work for Harry Potter books, be them popular as they may – I can’t help loving them. Albus Dumbledore is my favourite. He is pure wisdom and charm in human form – for this character solely I would give Ms Rowling the Nobel (was it in my power), let alone the whole story which is, as you so cleverly pointed out, a rather deep one. I wonder if the author herself realises how much psychological, ethical, mythological and even philosofical nuances she had put in her books.

    Like

  59. The responses have been hugely encouraging for someone testing the public writng waters.
    And thanks to Freshly Pressed. Not in my wildest imaginings…………………….

    Like

  60. Recently read through all seven for the first time last year. I’m 23 and only really started to fall in love with books two years ago. Was talking about them with my co-worker while walking through Harlem in NY today and stopped myself early with “I’ll spare you the outrageously nerdy conversation for another day.” Just then, a woman came up to me and said, “I don’t think you’re nerdy and you shouldn’t either. I’ve got three kids who love those books and I tell them the same thing all the time. Be proud that you read Harry Potter.” Made my day. What a great series and thanks for the great post!

    Like

  61. Pingback: Harry Potter « olivejeuce

  62. I am a closet Harry Potter reader, all of the girls at work want me to read Twilight like them but it’s too much teenage drama, angst, and longing for me, blah. I got into reading the Harry Potter books late in the game but I really enjoyed it from beginning to end.

    Like

    • I’m surrounded by Twilight readers at work as well, but I don’t even pretend to keep the Harry Potter reading hush hush. I didn’t start until last July – let’s hear it for the late bloomers!

      Like

  63. idealskeptic

    This is honestly one of the best summaries of Harry Potter that I’ve seen.

    I’m an adult fan of the books as well and I’ve never really thought about them like this. Thank you for opening my eyes even further.

    I really can’t believe that I never made the connection about Dumbledore not taking the Ministry of Magic job because he’s afraid of too much power. It makes perfect sense.

    Like

  64. Christina Cronk

    Very true. I love the books. It seems to me that many Christians have an issue with the series because it deals with magic, and never discover the goodness, love, and purity of spirit that Harry’s character has. What a shame.

    Like

  65. I’m telling.

    Just kidding. Nothing wrong with enjoying some good mass-market fiction. They aren’t kids books, but I recently enjoyed the Millennium Trilogy, and am currently reading The Passage.

    Like

  66. thegaber

    That was brilliant, a different spin on my favorite series I’d never thought of. I might just go and read them again…

    Like

  67. cafevienna

    Thanks for sharing this point of view… I started to feel lonesome and weird amonst general Christian condemnation of J.K.Rowling’s magic world.

    While the books might not bring her a Nobel Prize for literature, I was highly attracted by her prolific fantasy, her easy-going and humorous style, that almost never goes too shallow, and her art to maintain suspense at the turning of every page.

    Surely, the hero es a little bit flawed -he lies way too much, he rebels way too much- but I really do wish there were some Christian writers capable of describing the ups and downs and final victory of friendship and sacrificing love, the utterly ruin of ambition, use of manipulation and violence, in a like way.

    As to the films, well, they try, but if anybody wants to know why a Christian would engage with Harry Potter, read the entire book series!

    Like

  68. I still find it fascinating that some Christian groups want us to avoid the Potter books as being un-Christian, or advocating Satan-worship or witchcraft. Unfortunately, logic doesn’t work on many of these people, and telling them to read the books for themselves so they can see once and for all how wonderful these books are doesn’t work either.

    Like

    • I so agree with you. When I think of all the books I read as a kid that had magic, witches or ghosts in them it’s amazing that I don’t dance naked under the full moon while sacrificing chickens – LOL!!

      I have a sister who refuses to read the books because of the “evil” influences and messages in them … I’ve read them all (and will one day read them to my kids – clearly I’m a bad mother) and am still trying to find those messages she keeps talking about. Maybe I’m just easily swayed to the dark side!!

      Like

  69. Akeem Williams

    black people will get back their powers soon i mine ver soon

    Like

  70. Great Post! Thanks for drawing these parallels between Harry Potter and Christianity in a world where the church is still not accepting Harry Potter, but embraces Lord of the Rings.
    One of the best quotes from the series is in the Order of the Phoenix movie (not sure if it is in the books). Sirius says to Harry, “Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

    Like

  71. You made me want to read the series again. J.K. Rowlings has indeed created a magical world. Enjoyed reading your post. Cheers,
    Show Off
    http://showingoff.wordpress.com

    Like

  72. Interesting. I’m Jewish but your parallel is pretty solid. The question is- and I ask to find out not as much a challenge- what’s your point? I mean, she’s just a modern day writer. To prove something? I’m a bit confused….

    Like

    • Hi. Thanks for you comment. I write just for the love of writing and since there has been so much negativity among Christians about Harry Potter I was inspired to blog my thoughts. So, no point particularly but I’m grateful for the wonderful response from folk who share my thoughts.
      Take care,
      Ian

      Like

  73. This is one of the best Harry Potter reviews that I have read. Way to go. I’m a Christian and I absolutely love the Harry Potter series. I think there are some great principles in there. Kudos.

    Like

  74. bryanens

    I too enjoyed the Harry Potter series. I never really thought of the books in the way that you have presented them, but I do see the parallel. You are right. As Christians, we are called to put ourselves at the forefront of personal sacrifice for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God (Romans 12:1-2). Thanks for a great post!

    Like

  75. I’ve watched all the movies and just started to read the books. I’m on the Goblet of Fire right now. Since I watched the movies first I see the characters in the book when I normally would imagine them myself. But I like it the books are incredible and as soon as I finish one I can’t wait to read the next.

    I don’t believe that I like one more than the other so far I like the movies and the books the same.

    I’ve always like the theme of the boy with so many obstacles in front of him and bad things happening still having hope and caring about people. The bad things never change who he his they just give him more reason to fight.

    I really enjoyed your post and it drove me to comment.
    Beth

    Like

  76. Thank you for pointing out the “power corrupts” theme—something I missed myself.

    However, what do you mean by “Shhh! Don’t Tell. I’ve been reading Harry Potter” (and so on)? Reading Harry Potter is nothing to be ashamed of, irrespective of age. In fact, last year, then 34, I re-read the Narnia books and found many themes, insights, and caricatures of the real world that I had completely missed as a child. Not all ostensible children’s books are (just) for children.

    Like

    • Ah, but I’m not embarrassed and it has nothing to do with my age. It’s the avalanche of negative comments from Christians I was expecting.
      But instead I have been overwheled at the wonderful response (I’m still busy reading them).
      Thanks very much.
      Ian

      Like

  77. If you are ever interested in reading fanfiction, there are some great stories that are based off of Harry Potter. Some are even better than the actual seven books (as crazy as it seems). There are different genres, story lengths, and creativity.

    However, some sites have new writers that are inexperienced. So, you would have to search at times to find the juicy ones. There are different websites to find these stories at as well.

    Like

  78. this is fact(:
    i love J.K.R! its amazing..and i cant wait to watch the last movie

    Like

  79. I am very glad you found value (and values) in Harry Potter. I think that, for millions of children, these are fine stories, but I never understood adult’s fascination with books that are essentially written on a junior-high school level. When I was a high school teacher the first book was taught in summer school for kids far behind their grade level.
    My take on the books, if you are interested, is here:
    http://bmj2k.wordpress.com/2009/11/07/harry-potter-what-a-tool/

    Like

  80. Beautifully written analogy. You obviously put a good amount of thought into this post. As a fellow Christian and Harry Potter reader, I really like this illustration, and I want to thank you for sharing it! Congrats, too, on being “Freshly Pressed!”

    PS. I’m also an editor by nature … could you correct the spelling of JK’s last name please? It’s “Rowling,” not “Roling.” Thanks!

    Like

  81. Amazing! Brilliant! Stunning! I love how you captured the essence of the series and I got a little bit teary at the end reading this post. So powerful the thought that one soul will go to great lengths to protect. Once again magnificent.

    Like

  82. wwjkrd

    This was beautifully written. When people make fun of me for reading these books, I always try to tell them how deep the story really goes, what kind of complex issues it deals with. You did a great job of describing the depth of the series.

    Like

  83. Hi! I just happened upon your blog. And yes, I agree JK Rowling is such a superb writer. The saga has gone beyond being just children’s books and have become the epic contemporary story for children aged 0 to 91. 🙂

    Like

  84. Carla

    Great post, I am literally obsessesed with Harry Potter and I find that adults seem to think of the books as ‘children’s books’, however the themes portrayed, like some you’ve highlighted, are aimed more at adults. I never thought of Christianity relating to it, but now you mention it I can see that! Thanks for your post, I enjoyed it 🙂 x

    Like

  85. I think it’d be interesting to see the story from the perspective of ‘evil.’ I’m sure this story has been written, but if it has, I don’t remember it. What I’m getting at particularly is what you say in this sentence: “The key difference. . . is the idea of the ‘greater good’ to cause others (never themselves) to suffer ‘all in a good cause.”

    I wonder what the story would look like written from the perspective of the person who is being perceived as ‘evil.’

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

    Like

  86. wannabeat

    i don’t think people should be ashamed of reading something that’s really popular, like ‘twilight’ or ‘harry potter’. eventually we all like these things, just the cool people doesn’t want to admit it.
    ‘harry potter’ is too genius.. every time i watch the movies or read the books i actually have some kind of inspiration rush, and then i reallyreallyreally want to do something really good, like write or paint or whatever.. usually it doesn’t help me 🙂
    and i really love J.K.R. writingstyle too, this is amazing how she writes and makes things so real so on. it’s fantastic!
    i realllyreally love both of these sagas and i can’t wait for the movie-adaptions.
    i love that kind of books and i hope good writers are going to write these in the future A LOT!! 🙂

    (i found your blog somehow surfing in wordpress and this story impressed me, thank you!)

    Like

  87. I am huge Harry Potter fan as well as a Christian and I really appreciate the themes you drew on from the books. I loved this post. Thanks for writing it!

    Like

  88. nataoso

    Well, I do have to say that this was a nice thing to read about Harry Potter’s book, it’s interesting to know the perpespective of an adult about this science fiction stories.

    The truth is that, watch the movies, is not something to be embarrased, just because you would like to see the way how another person lived the book and transformed in to a movie. So I will confess that for me is just exciting to go to the movies and watch it, plus enjoy the last one of this saga; I don’t know if I am the only person who reads a book love it, and then when a movie about it comes out go to the the movies watched it and during it, critizace the way the director took the original book and made a movie about something quite different from the original.

    through the next paragraph you mentioned who genius J.K. Rowling is, and well I totally agree with you, it’s just amazing how she manage to enter to an amazing trip, full with wands, sorcerer’s stones, Nimbus 3000, snitches , and all that things that make this stories something not to easy to forget.
    My recommendation to you is, to read her biography, is really really interesting to know the meanings and the things that in some kind of way made Joanne Rowling, one of the best writters in my bookshelf.

    I loved the way you show the main themes of this books, because it true, so my congrats for making that, not everyone is interested in making a central idea for everu main character and even what the reflected in the story.

    Take care.
    Natalia

    Like

  89. Pingback: Two sides of the Harry Potter Movies and Books « Star Toy Co. Blog

  90. unimaginablestories

    Excellent review. The Harry Potter novels were incredible when I first read them, and not often do films do the books justice. In this case, while they leave important material out, I believe that for the most part, the films are excellently done. The acting is great. The effects are great. The movie meets the intentions of the novels.

    I find it interesting that you discuss the trials and tribulations of growing up as a connection that J.K. Rowling makes with the reader, as well as the use of religious simile. I also believe this to be correct, but I think that though she mentions Christmas throughout the series, the morals and values throughout the book can be associated with other religions, and particularly Judaism.

    I perceive that the wonder of Harry Potter is the fact that the series incorporates many experiences and emotions human into a land of “different” humans. There is a character in the Harry Potter novels for everyone. Almost everyone child and adult can closely associate with someone in the story. Additionally, the story is modern enough for the younger generation, while focusing on the imaginary and fantastic to draw in those older folks. For adults, I think that J.K. Rowling re-introduces and invigorates imaginations that have been subdued in the heap of everyday life, and novels and movies that are either too dramatic, too realistic, or void of fantasy.

    For those that laugh at the idea that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels are “literature,” they’ll be amazed in 20 or 30, or even 50 years, when the novels have withstood the test of time and are required or recommended reading in schools and other settings.

    As for me, I began writing a children’s story many years ago. It was intended as a bed-time tale and has transformed over the years into something much bigger. I only hope that it can have a fraction of the success of the Harry Potter series. We’ll soon see.

    Like

  91. Bravo! Great post about this series that has attracted negative attention from the Christian community. I, too, am re-reading the series this summer to be ready for the last of the movies. What I am enjoying is Harry’s joy at being in this secret world. He is still a bit set apart and has to suffer through times when no one likes him for no really good reason (typical pre-teen and early teen behavior). And yet, he is happy to be accepted and have friends. Rowling created a great series that I believe will stand the test of time.

    Like

  92. You know, I’ve read this series numerous times. I was just a kid when the first Harry Potter book surfaced, and I grew up loving the story and the characters.

    Reading the books as an adult, I’ve definitely uncovered more in them than I did as a child/teenager; however, I never realized the Jesus Christ connection of which you write. And I’m so glad you shared that observation: It is very interesting and fits perfectly. Thank you. I might have to read them again and explore the story with your observation in mind.

    And you should never be ashamed of liking Harry Potter! 🙂

    Like

  93. Great read, well written!
    -Noor
    http://noor724.wordpress.com/
    🙂

    Like

  94. Lovely post. I agree with your power vs. love them in the Harry Potter books. I have enjoyed reading them so much… along with about a billion other people around the world.

    Like

  95. Raul

    I only read the final book and I do think it was well written. I do enjoy the movies though…although I am a bit embarrassed to say that…but probably shouldn’t be. They are good entertainment and now with your words to back me up, have an underlying storyline that is very important.

    http://www.wutevs.wordpress.com

    Like

  96. Never be ashamed for reading Harry Potter! 🙂

    I think the heart of a classic are universal themes like good vs. evil and love vs. power. It’s why things like Star Wars endures.

    I thought that one of the brilliant things about Harry was that Ms. Rowlings managed to make him “The chosen one” without any great advantage. No amazing magic skills; no super-hero stuff. Kids (and me, too, I’ll admit) can really relate to just being one of the crowd.

    Thank you for this blog! There are few things I like more than thinking about and talking about Harry Potter. I’m glad you liked the books. 🙂

    Like

  97. Pingback: Power, Love and Harry Potter | Newsfeed for Quallestacia.com

Join the discussion; leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s