J.K. Rowling is a Christian writer, but you wouldn’t know it from the way a good portion of parents and the Christian media treat her. To them, Rowling is promoting witchcraft. And you know what? They obviously haven’t read the books, as far as I’m concerned. They just see the word “witch” several times and boom! “Witchcraft!” (Note: I know two pagans personally, and they can attest that their religion is NOTHING like what you see in these books)
Well, I’m going to do something different. Welcome to this project. I am going to analyze Harry Potter and show you just how Christian I think it actually is.
Oh, and a word of warning:
First, let’s look at Rowling herself. Is she Christian? Actually, yes. Rowling herself has said in an interview:
“I believe in God, not magic.” In fact, Rowling initially was afraid that if people were aware of her Christian faith, she would give away too much of what’s coming in the series. “If I talk too freely about that,” she told a Canadian reporter, “I think the intelligent reader – whether ten [years old] or sixty – will be able to guess what is coming in the books” (Michael Nelson, “Fantasia: The Gospel According to C.S. Lewis”, The American Prospect, vol. 13, no. 4, February 25, 2002) Besides, witchcraft in Harry Potter is hardly even similar to real life Wiccans. No real Wiccan goes around flying on broomsticks, playing Quidditch, or casting spells. In reality, the magic in these books is more like what you see in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia or your average Grimm’s Fairy Tale. I think the main problem is, when people think of Christian fiction, they think of books about the Amish or similarly boring stuff. (my opinion of the Amish books may differ from yours) They don’t realize that writers like Flannery O’Connor and Graham Greene didn’t write anything like what Wanda Brunsetter or Beverly Lewis write. (and in my opinion, O’ Connor and Greene’s books are way more interesting.) Oh, and those of you who say C.S. Lewis or Tolkien are good alternatives, they don’t even mention or quote the Bible in their fiction books (Lewis saved that for his nonfiction). Where is it written in Christian doctrine that you must only write “Christian” media if you are a writer?
So, is there Christianity in Harry Potter? Yes, most definitely. Right in the first chapter of The Sorcerer’s Stone, we’re told his parents sacrificed themselves when Voldemort killed them. According to Jesus, this is the greatest love–to lay down your life for those you love.
In addition, there is Dumbledore, one of my favorite characters. What I like about him is his eccentric personality and courage. Everyone else in the books won’t even refer to Voldemort by name. Instead they call him “You-Know-Who.” Dumbledore won’t stand for any of that. He wants to show Voldemort that he is not afraid of him, so he defiantly says his name. How does this coincide with Christianity? We’re supposed to be fearless against evil. In fact, Satan’s already lost! In Genesis, God tells Satan that Eve’s offspring (foreshadowing Jesus) will crush his head (Gen 3:16). Furthermore, in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we learn that even Satan has to kneel before God.
For my final item, one of my all-time favorite moments is when Harry Potter discovers the Mirror of Esired. The Mirror shows whoever looks into it their deepest desire. Ron Weasley sees himself winning the Quidditch cup, and Harry sees himself reunited with his dead parents. Dumbledore advises him to give up on the mirror, lest his desires drive him mad. In Christianity, we believe that giving into our desires rather than God’s distracts you from His purpose. I think this is Rowling’s way of showing how wrong being selfish is.
These are only for book 1. Next month, I will cover The Chamber of Secrets.