July 28, 2007 at 5:15 pm 2 comments

After an entire Saturday morning of reading, I finally finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! The book is by far my favorite in the series and it is, to sum up briefly, brilliant.

But more importantly, this last book will finally shut the mouths of all of the paranoid Christians out there who protest against Harry Potter and ban it from their homes and churches, saying that J.K. Rowling is evil and she drinks goat’s blood inside graveyards at midnight.

If these zealots would actually read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, they would find a staggering number of Christian references, some so blatantly obvious that it makes Tolkien and C.S. Lewis’s epic works seem allegorically tame. Spoilers ahead so stop reading here if you have not finished reading The Deathly Hallows.

Death and Resurrection
The most obvious reference to the Gospel is how Harry willingly let himself be killed, nary raising a wand, by Voldemort for the sake of both the muggle and wizarding world. After Harry’s death and resurrection, Voldemort’s powers are vanquished in the same way that Christ’s death conquers Satan.

Just as Jesus reached out to lepers, prostitutes, and tax collectors, Harry Potter befriends elves (Dobby and Kreacher), saves the lives of goblins (Griphook), and rescues muggles (Ministry of Magic scene).

There were numerous mentions of crosses in this book. Harry draws one over Moody’s grave. The Sword of Gryffindor looked like a silver cross to Harry. Harry goes to “King’s Cross” after dying and I don’t think that the location has that name by happy coincidence.

Kendra and Arianna’s graves have Matthew 6:21 written on them (where your treasure is, there your heart will also be). Also, on James and Lily Potter’s grave is written 1 Corinthians 15:26 (the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death). Percy returning to his family is a pretty straight forward reference to the Parable of the Prodigal Son and the revealing of Snape’s true identity and purpose is a redemption story.

Temptations and the Hallows
I read this idea here but I wish I had been clever enough to see this on my own but I’ve expanded on the original concepts. The three Deathly Hallows are a good analog to the three temptations of Christ in the desert. The Resurrection Stone corresponds to the “stone to bread” temptation. When the Resurrection Stone is turned in the hand three times, the dead come to life. Likewise, Christ is tempted by Satan to turn the stones in the dessert into bread, which gives life. The Cloak (given to Harry by his father, James) corresponds to the “chuck yourself off the roof of the temple” temptation. Satan tempts Jesus to rely on his Father’s protection just as the Cloak could have allowed Harry to escape from Voldemort and his “fatal” end. Alastair puts it better than I can:

The Elder Wand corresponds to the final temptation (rule over the kingdoms of the world on condition of worshipping Satan). The Elder Wand gives the greatest power in the world to its owner, being the means by which the owner can rule over all others. Jesus is tempted to grasp at rule in the wrong way.

Christian objections to Harry Potter have been rendered flaccid by this last book and for that I am glad. But even more encouraging is how explicit Rowling made these allegories and how many copies of the book have been sold worldwide.

So to all those Christian naysayers who find conspiracy at the bottom of a bag of Doritos, there you have it.


Entry filed under: commentary, faith, harry potter.

commute bread and fellowship

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Janina  |  July 29, 2007 at 3:00 am

    Nice. I just finished Deathly Hallows this morning and loved it too! I loved all the redemption/forgiveness arcs. And I love Neville and Dobby and Kreacher (who’d have thought that?)! Have you ever read Looking for God in Harry Potter, by John Granger? It’s been a while for me, but it might be interesting to see what he comes up with in the new edition, probably to come out in a year after HP7.

  • 2. Davis  |  July 29, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    I wouldn’t go so far to say that this 7th book makes Tolkien and Lewis’ works “allegorically tame.” I think that argument seems to carry weight, more so for Tolkien, because the direct allegory to Christ is only a small part of his story (gandalf). His story revolved more around the burden on sin (the ring), and this is rich in it’s own way.

    However, I too felt that this last book had a very biblical vibe to it all throughout, and especially the idea that in trying to save your own life, you will lose it (voldemort), but in losing your life, you will save it.


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