Category Archives: Harry Potter

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow about a week ago. So I thought it was time to give it my review.

I want to start out by saying that I thought it was a fantastic final chapter to a very entertaining series. It kept my attention and I enjoyed the story very much. There were many “loose ends” that were addressed at the end. I was just thinking yesterday that I would have liked to have known what happened to the house elf Kreatcher and maybe the plight of house elfs in general. But other than that most of my questions were answered. It definitely was an appropriate ending to the series.

So I liked the book and liked the series. But I am still hung up on the whole allegory thing. I still think it just might be JK Rowling’s intent for the series to be a complete Christian allegory. But it isn’t a perfect allegory by any stretch of the imagination.

There is a scene from CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where the Son of Adam and the Daughters of Eve are walking into Aslan’s camp. For me it was one of the first times that the allegory was staring me in the face. The younger brother, the other Son of Adam, had betrayed his family and was being held captive by the White Witch. The other 3 traveled to go see Aslan who might be able to help fight against the White Witch. And here they are entering the camp, walking through it to seek Aslan. And there are all of these other creatures, centaurs and such that they are walking by. It was very cool on the big screen. And then all of these creatures recognize that these three are human…and they do the most incredible thing-they bow, they offer respect! It was at that point that I lost it, I just started to cry, and not subtly, but in convulsions. I just kept thinking, “No, you don’t understand, stop! We don’t deserve that kind of honor and respect! You don’t know what kind of evil we are capable of.” And I thought of how heaven welcomes us in, these dirty, filthy, rotten sinners, they rejoice when we are gracously accepted by Christ.

And then there is the scene where Aslan lays slain. Suddenly his body disappears. The altar where he had laid is broken in two. Again the allegory smacks you upside the head. The curtain between the Holy of Holies and the priests ripped in two.

I have to say, there are no scenes in any of the Harry Potter books that scream out the allegory. There are things that happen and things that are said that can be taken in an alegorical manner, but nothing that is blatant. And for me that is most disappointing. I thought there may be something at the very end of the final chapter. But the death is nothing too special. There is no parallel of what happens to a Harry while he is dead. The “ressurection” is nothing special. And finally the victory is nothing special. Instead of the story representing the Gospel there are themes that are present: Harry conquers death, is a savior of humanity, overcomes evil with good, and is an example of a good person. In the end though I thought Harry was a pretty lame representation of Christ. I also thought that the author had a pretty good opportunty to create some pretty amazing final scenes that may be Gospel representations, just his reappearance alone could have defeated Voldermort. Maybe others could have been brought back to life. And as mentioned in the allegory editorial on mugglenet it would have been cool if the Veil of Death room had been destroyed or torn apart or whatever. And finally although there are “things worse than death” that was mentioned, nothing seemed to have come of it too much.

I want to state again that the book and the series are awesome stories! Just not that great of an alegory.

-Durk-

Harry Potter Line Standing Time!

I like to think of myself as a professional line stander. And tonight is yet another line to add to my profession! The final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, book 7 goes on sale tonight at midnight. This is the 2nd HP book line that I have stood in. I am pretty excited. Not only because of the normal hype, but also because of the “extra” hype with the alleged allegory. I thought “alleged allegory” might sound like an alliteration. Sweet!

I actually have already stood in a Harry Potter line today. This morning at Border’s to get a bracelet that has a color (orange) and a number on it (36345-I assume I am was the 45th in line today), securing my place in line at the Potter Party tonight. There was a party of girls at the front of the line who had been there for 11 hours. ROCK ON, dedication! The line was about 70% female, I found that most interesting. The party starts at 9:00 PM. I shall be there right after I see the movie again in the IMAX theater! I will let you know how the movie and the book line goes later! And maybe even review the movie and book much later.

-Durk-

Update: There was no line for the movie, and it was most excellent in 3D! We journeyed over to the IHOP for some late dinner and then we walked over to the Borders. We were there about 9:00. And so was about half the country. My pastor and his wife were there; I have the coolest pastor in the world. Yes, it was PACKED! But because I had stood in line 12 hours earlier Bill and I were able to line up in the first line for the books to go on sale at midnight! This enabled me to take Bill home and slide into bed before 1:00 am! Some folks bought their copy and rushed to their car to start to read it. A couple of my friends had the book read by Sunday morning. I heard one story of a guy who had it finished in 13 hours-he stopped to eat twice. I found out that Borders closed around 3:00 am. Savvy shoppers who hate crowds were able to pick up a copy at Walmart or HyVee at midnight without any kind of wait. Some even had cupcakes set out, very nice touch. BUT, they missed out on the Potter Party! It was a super cool experience!
-D-

Kind of A Big Deal

It is kind of a big deal
The unconfirmed news that it has been the intent of JK Rowlings to write a complete (but not perfect) Gospel allegory with the Harry Potter series is kind of a big deal. At least to me. But I also think it will be with many, many others. And that may be understating it a whole lot. I mean this news elevates JK to be in the same categories as CS Lewis & JRR Tolkien! And that is pretty cool. It puts her in categories with pastors, evangelists, maybe the likes of Billy Graham! Maybe.

It also really strikes a cord with me on a weird level of…competitiveness. I mean it is like all of a sudden JK is sneakily bringing Christianity into super pop-culture! It really is like JK has tricked the world! She also tricked many ultra-judgmental and critical Christians. I don’t know why but that makes me happy. Really happy. It is like some sort of “win” for Christianity versus the secular (and versus the Christian misguided). And I am not too sure I should be happy about that.

I mean it is like handing out all this kind of uber delicious candy that tastes way too good to have any benefits and then it becomes addictive only to find out much later that it is incredibly healthy for you! It is like someone jumping from behind a corner and yelling “HA!, GOTHCA” It is like stealth Christianity. I don’t know what all of the witches are going to do with this knowledge. I doubt they will all suddenly convert and change their ways.

I felt something similar when the first CS Lewis Narnia movie, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe was released. It was like tricking Evil Hollywood into making something that was of spiritual worth, something that was Holy, something that was for the good of Jesus Christ. It is like some sort of massive covert alter call!

But Christianity should never be sprung on someone, it should never be forced or coerced or manipulative. And many times well-meaning people do really dumb and counterproductive things.

Although I don’t think that is what is happening here with the Harry Potter series (nor do I think that is what happened with The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe). I think some could feel that way.

I am kind of a big deal

I don’t know how to put this…but…I’m kind of a big deal. I wrote to Ms. Abigail BeauSeigneur-the author of the article presenting her premise that the HP books are indeed JK Rowling’s creation of a Gospel allegory-and she wrote me back! In the email I invited her to read the rest of my thoughts on my blog. And she read it! That puts my readership up to like 5 people! Including me of course. If you would like to read the correspondence then click here: http://durkniblick.wikispaces.com/durkandabby

-Durk-

Harry Potter and the Christian Allegory

No, it isn’t the title of book number 8. It is the latest talk about the Harry Potter series. First read this article shockingly entitled, Is Harry Potter the Son of God? An original editorial by Abigail BeauSeigneur: http://www.mugglenet.com/editorials/editorials/edit-beauseigneura01.shtml

I guess I should first start by saying that I am a pretty big fan of the Harry Potter series. I have read all of the books thus far, have watched all of the movies thus far, have heard the books on tape, own 4 of the 5 movies (the 5th is in theaters now) and I have been planning the next big Line Standing Event to stand in line this Friday for the final book release at midnight. And then I need to profess my status as a born-again believer and follower of Jesus Christ. I am a pretty conservative kind of Christian. I believe that the Bible contains the word of God and is perfect and inerrant as it relates to salvation and reconciliation to a relationship with God. (I chose my wording very carefully there.) I am a Christian and a fan of Harry Potter!

I have to tell you, my first thoughts of the article were pretty negative. I have just NEVER thought of the Harry Potter series as a Christian allegory. I have NEVER thought of Harry as a representation of Jesus Christ. I am hung up on these points. But after reading the article I have little doubt that JK Rowlings, the author of the Harry Potter series, indeed intends the Harry Potter series to be an allegory of the Gospel. And JK is pretty cool, although she seems to be pretty quiet about her personal beliefs she seems to be a professing Christian or at least an attender of church. And she does site Christian authors CS Lewis as being influential on her life and literature. I have no problems with her or the series in general.

Next let’s talk about allegory versus a story about good and evil. Dictionary.com says, “John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (Bantam Classics) are allegories.” CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia is a Christian allegory. Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard is another Christian allegory. However, a great and epic story of good triumphing over evil is JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I consider the LOTR books to be THE best fiction literature ever, period. And although there are many allegoric symbolisms, it is not a complete allegory. Instead it is a story where good triumphs over evil. Tolkien didn’t really like the idea of Christian allegory-he was tiffed at Lewis over the Narnia Chronicles.

My wife reminded me of the sermon series that our Pastor Donnie gave at Trinity Family, “The Gospel According to Harry Potter.” It has been a while, but she asked if Donnie actually called the series an allegory. I don’t remember, but I do know that he made comparisons, but in the end I always thought of the series as a story of good triumphing over evil, not as an allegory.

I suppose it is the unorthodox parallels and the character of Harry Potter that hangs me up the most. One crucial point in the essay, BeauSeigneur states that “Harry may also have the power to resurrect himself.” The comparison that the writer was making was to Voldermort (the bad guy in the HP series)-who had magical powers to ressurect himself. But the implication is a parallel to Christ. I do not believe that Christ raised himself from the dead, God ressurected Christ from death. Most Christians who have a beef with the HP series get hung up on the point of magic and dark arts and such. I don’t have a lot of issues with this, but it does speak to where the power comes from. I have always read that HP’s (and the rest of the characters) power or ability to perform magic comes from within themselves. There is no mention of an external power source or a higher being or a power higher than their own. And the power that Jesus had always came from someone higher than himself, from God the Father-it was God giving Christ the power to heal and perform miracles. It was as though Jesus set aside his God-power and let God work through him in his humanness.

Like I say, my biggest, hugest hangup is the comparison or the representation of Harry Potter to Jesus Christ. To coin a phrase, “Harry Potter, you are no Jesus Christ…” Harry is by no means a spotless lamb. He does not personify a sanctified individual. Instead he is fully human. A human with all of the proper characteristics of such, with a sinful nature and a desire to satisfy the self. Compare this to Aslan in the Narnia Chronicles. Aslan is the righteous kingly lion-kind, compassionate, perfect and righteous. And Aslan ultimately lays down his life for humanity. Harry makes bad decisions. He alienates his friends. He hurts people by his actions. He’s just no where close to a Good Person. I have never seen righteousness within him.

I suppose JK will site the Greatest Goodness as Love. Maybe Harry will become such a good person. And Harry will end up making choices that demonstrate love and then sacrifice himself so evil can be defeated. And then have the innate power to ressurect himself. But what is lacking in all of the story is the constant righteous one. If it isn’t blatantly God then it needs to be a transparent 100% righteous individual. One who is spotless and clean. I just don’t see that in Harry. Maybe Dumbledore, maybe.

The author of the editorial makes an argument for Harry being Holy and pure and righteous based on the things that he possesses (wand, mother’s blood, etc.). The argument presented puts Harry in a position of holiness rather than a character of righteousness. That is most interesting.

All of this does raise some interesting points. It is as though JK has sneakily slipped a very cool and popularly accepted allegory about (gulp) CHRISTIANITY into the mainstream media. Onto the top-sellers lists, into the hands of millions, into CHILDREN’S HANDS! And into Hollywood! How long did it take Tolkien and Lewis to be immortalized and worshiped in Hollywood? What will the fundamentalists and The Christian Right do with this new revelation?

I don’t know. I know that it would be pretty cool if JK Rowlings comes out publicly and admits that the Harry Potter series is indeed a Gospel allegory. I think it would be cool to see her in the spotlight pimping God! Pointing people to Christ and maybe even encouraging people to read the Bible.

Maybe JK Rowlings will finally be asked spiritual questions in a kind and non-threatening environment. Maybe her “Satan” status will be elevated to “sister” status. Will the fundamentalists and The Christian Right change their minds and finally shelf the Harry Potter series along side The Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Ring trilogy?

Well, I am not even sure if I am ready to do that yet. I will wait to read the book and wait to hear from JK Rowlings. But the series will still be in the same room, along the same wall on the same set of shelves. Maybe just above the Left Behind series.

I’ll conclude with the last brilliant paragraph from Abigail BeauSeigneur’s editorial. It totally gives me chills, goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes.

She [JK Rowlings] has told us where to look to find out what is coming in the final book – her Christianity. She has told us that it’s so easy a 10-year -old could figure it out.(249) The secret to Harry Potter is tied to Rowling’s Christianity. The master of the red herring has done it. She has tricked the entire world. What appears to be a book about witchcraft is a story about Jesus Christ.

Durk