Thinking about Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

So… without being spoilery (although given the book has been out for years, nothing can be said that is, technically, a spoiler!)  … we went to see the movie, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows‘.

This is not a film critique so I’m not interested in commenting on acting, cinematography or special effects. But, the tone of the movie matches the book in tension and pace. There are some great action scenes involving flying, dueling and a few other things (that readers will be aware of and viewers of the previous movies will be familiar with and expecting). All the main characters (except a couple of Hogwarts teachers) get a nod at the beginning and feature in some way during the narrative. But the thing that struck me amid the flurry of fantasy and action was that the story is grounded in a real life scenario (as happens in all the books/movies). This even extends to the basic rules and world-view of the characters. The story is by no means anything other than just that – a story! It isn’t allegorical or symbolical or some cryptic comment about equality or racism (though each of those themes are alluded to powerfully in the plot – even more so in the movie through the uniforms of the “soldiers” at the Ministry after Voldemort’s cronies takes over).

A few years ago, just before the last book was released Colin Smith made some observations about the world of Harry Potter (as portrayed in the books). Concerning Rowling and the books, Smith notes that the:

books do make a number of assumptions about the way the world works, and about ethics and morality, that are inconsistent with anything but a Christian theistic, or Biblical, worldview. In other words, for her stories to “work,” she cannot draw from the fallen humanistic worldview that gave us evolution (or neo-Darwinian macro evolutionary theory), Hitler, Stalin, and the moral decadence that is rampant in much of Europe (and sadly in the US too)–i.e., the natural worldview of fallen mankind. Rather, she has to borrow from the Christian worldview concepts that are foreign to the natural worldview for her story to have any kind of moral foundation

So as you watch, (and enjoy!) the current movie (and look forward to the final installment next year), be on the look out for the pointers to the (many!) conversation starters about good, evil, life, death, resurrection and the defeat of evil.

Perhaps it might lead you to another story about one who through death destroyed the one that has the power of death, that is the devil, and delivered those who through fear of death were subject of lifelong slavery.