Countdown to Harry Potter 7: 1 Day

This is from The Seeker’s column in the Chicago Tribune:

Is Harry Potter a Christ figure? Or does author J.K. Rowling simply employ a common literary technique that novelists use to describe their heroes by giving them Christ-like qualities? As Potter fans await the release of the seventh and final installment at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, it’s a question worth considering.

Although Rowling’s novels never explicitly mention religion, they do seem to follow in the traditions of C. S. Lewis in the Chronicles of Narnia and J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings. The books espouse a moral message and certainly contain hints of Christian allegory as they set up battles between good and evil.

In the Harry Potter books for example, Harry’s friends Hermione and Ron stick by the hero’s side just as disciples stayed loyal to Jesus. Just as Jesus was the target of Satan’s wrath, Harry is the target of Voldemort’s vengeance.

Then there is the lasting declaration of Dumbledore, the father figure of the series, that there is indeed a fate worse than death. When characters put their lives on the line for others, they often are greatly rewarded. Those who seek immortality, such as Voldemort and his followers, lose out at the chance for what Dumbledore calls “the next great adventure.”

“There is nothing worse than death,” says Voldemort in “Order of the Phoenix.”

“You are quite wrong,” Dumbledore replies. “Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness.”

If indeed Rowling’s novels are Christian allegory, why do some conservative Christians go to such great lengths to protect their children from what they consider to be a sinister embrace of witchcraft and wizardry, banning the novel from school libraries and burning the book in front of churches?

Do you think Rowling’s novels have an agenda? And if you haven’t cheated and gone in search of the ending supposedly floating around the Internet, how do you predict the series will end?

[tags]atheist, atheism. Harry Potter, Christian, C.S. Lewis, Pagan, Tolkien[/tags]

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