Teasing out Harry Potter’s Christian elements

I’d love to quote the conclusion of Nancy’s Apology: Harry Potter and the Eerie Silence, but that just wouldn’t be cool. It’s longish for a blog post, and worth every moment spent.

I don’t think it was the pagan or magic aspects of the Potter books that drove the conservatives nutty: I think it was the Christian elements.

Rowling, who is not a professed Christian, took 2000 years of christendom–in the form of symbols, legends, archetypes, allegories, and values–and put it into a new story.

(Hat tip to Johan Maurer and QuakerQuaker.org)

2 Replies to “Teasing out Harry Potter’s Christian elements”

  1. I read her blog — and don’t buy it. Most conservative Christians flocked to “The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe/Narnia” yet stayed away form “Harry Potter” — and Narnia was far far closer to the Christian story — and “stole” far far more from the Christian experience (even subtleties) and religion that Harry Potter ever did.

    In fact I think Harry Potter stole more from Joseph Campbell, _Lord of the Rings_ and _Star Wars_ than Christianity.

    It boils down to the following: In the Bible it states plainly many proscriptions against magic (arguably those using magic from God is OK) — the strongest being “Thous shall not suffer a witch to live.”

    So ... this leads to the broad proscription against magic, witchcraft, flying broomsticks and the like. And Harry Potter not only has this — the heroes (and villains) are wizards and witches, and the mundane society are unenlightened boors good for only comic relief and minor plot obstacles.

    So I think I buy the “glorifying magic use” as the main bugbear faced by these folks.

    Not the plot. I doubt they read it.

  2. Interesting blog post but I don’t agree with her. I think that she is underestimating the fear very conservative Christians have of “witchcraft,” and I believe that that was their reaction to the first Harry Potter book. They believe that there really is an evil force in the world and that fooling around with it makes it stronger and can draw the player in. They believe that a few people playing around with what they consider real fire endangers everyone.

    The media made a huge big deal of a few kooks burning books, but most Conservative Christians simply didn’t allow their children to read the book and asked that it not be assigned reading for school...quite reasonable, given their beliefs.

    What quieted them, I think, was a few years of conversation and experience that this “witchcraft” was not “real.”.

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