Jeff Diamant: ‘Harry Potter’ and the Gospel of J.K. Rowling

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A more profound, if subtle, moral interplay is found between Harry and Dumbledore, who effectively lead the joint forces of good. Harry is a boy wonder, revered and reviled for his special powers by the respective forces of good and evil at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Headmaster Dumbledore is the best wizard there is, a seemingly omniscient force for good who rarely reveals his powers in full and who closely observes others' courses of action.

Dumbledore knows Harry plays a unique and indispensable role in the battle against evil, and outwardly helps him from time to time. Yet for most of the series, Dumbledore keeps Harry unaware of the goings-on known or orchestrated by Dumbledore involving the bigger picture. In the course of his young life, Harry often feels Dumbledore is ignoring his personal needs.

A well-known, heart-wrenching passage in the Bible, from an anguished Jesus on the cross, captures their relationship well: "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?" When Jesus says that, he feels abandoned by God. We know from earlier in the Gospels that he understands the special role he is afforded by God the Father. But at that moment, it's as if he feels separated from God or doesn't comprehend the metaphysics of God's plan to redeem the world through his sacrifice.

Harry Potter, too, knows he is special, that he is the only good wizard or person ever to survive a killing curse from Voldemort. He has a special scar on his forehead, a remnant of that battle.

Harry has followers who are devoted to him even if they don't always understand him, and other fair-weather fans who probably don't know what to make of him half the time. And, of course, enemies.

Sound familiar?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPoetry & LiteratureReligion & Culture

7 Comments
Posted June 30, 2007 at 4:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. teatime wrote:

It’s going to be very interesting to see how it plays out in the end. I was struck that no one again saw Dumbledore’s body after his fall, and by his phoenix’s strange behavior. The body was wrapped and covered. There are a LOT of possibilities here.

I could be wrong, but I think J.K. Rowling dispelled the rumor about Harry being a Horcrux. It would be awfully risky, of course. I also have a suspicion that something big is going to be revealed about Aunt Petunia and her relationship with Lily, Harry’s mom.

I am awed by Rowling’s masterful use of various mythologies and the hero archetype. EVERYTHING in these books is deliberate and meaningful, from the names of the places and characters to the witty schoolbook titles and governmental structures.

I can’t wait until the stroke of midnight, July 21!

June 30, 5:27 pm | [comment link]
2. Br. Michael wrote:

It is a good read.

June 30, 5:47 pm | [comment link]
3. Summersnow wrote:

My 9 year old has spent a pleasant afternoon listening to Prisoner of Azkaban while typing a “report” on the book, which she tells me is “due on Monday.”  We have had wonderful discussions about good/evil and friends/enemies while she has discovered this series of books.  She will need to wait until she is a little older to read the rest of the series, but all in all we have enjoyed these books as a family and are looking forward to the final one.

June 30, 6:55 pm | [comment link]
4. R. Eric Sawyer wrote:

I dont see much point in getting too worked up, for good or ill, about Harry. But I have to admit that I have a full set, have seen all the films, and my copy of the last book has been on order for months. I expect to have a good weekend in four weeks time.

June 30, 7:54 pm | [comment link]
5. BabyBlue wrote:

We will be liveblogging and videocasting from the Fairfax City (VA) Borders on Friday, July 20 if we get a table and an outlet. wink

A great place to read commentary with a Christian focus is over at HogwartsProfessor.com, a blog run by the author of Finding God in Harry Potter, John Granger.  It would be good to read up on Christian Alchemy.

bb
The author of the opening essay of The Plot Thickens, still available at Barnes & Noble or Borders & Amazon and who still thinks that Snape is a cross between Charlotte Bronte’s Heathcliff and Charles Dicken’s Sydney Carton.

June 30, 11:27 pm | [comment link]
6. Summersnow wrote:

Looking forward to it BabyBlue!

June 30, 11:45 pm | [comment link]
7. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

JK Rowling confesses: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1572107/20071017/index.jhtml

Paul and Jesus have words that ‘almost epitomize the whole series’ she says.

October 20, 1:09 am | [comment link]
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