Opinions Expressed in "Rants," while informed by Catholic doctrine, are merely the opinions of the author.
Harry Potter and Jesus Christ
So like the rest of the world, I took in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II this summer. And also like the rest of the world, I had already read the book three years ago, so we all knew what was going to happen – but we all went anyway.
And I can’t help remember back in the day when a whole bunch of Christians and Catholics were up in arms about Harry Potter, saying it promoted witchcraft, promoted the occult, all kinds of bad things.
Many of those concerns have fallen to the way-side over the years. Some of them still remain; like that of Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict), who said that it could encourage a dangerous fascination with the occult. And if it does, then it is dangerous.
But most of us don’t take it that way – most of us just take the magic, the spells, the wands, the brooms, the dragons, the goblins, the snake faced bad guys – as symbols of good and evil, and that which lies between them. As I think they were intended to be. And as I think they should be.
Doing so gives us a humble hero, challenging the many faces of evil, relying on loyalty and friendship, all the while overcoming his own dark side.
BUT HERE’S THE REALLY INTERESTING THING!!
One of the main complaints leveled against Harry Potter, originally, was that unlike stories like the Chronicles of Narnia, which were clearly intended as analogous for the Christian story, the Harry Potter series made no parallel.
In Narnia, Aslan was Jesus, who died as ransom for others, and by doing so, saves their little world.
Instead, so critics perceived at the time, Harry Potter was a symbol of individualism, personal power, elitism, even Gnosticism (don’t ask). They saw no connection between Harry Potter and Jesus Christ – and therefore that was a problem.
Of course the story had just begun back then.
Now we’re at the end, and as it turns out – there’s a very REAL, very DIRECT parallel, between Harry Potter and Jesus Christ.
SPOILER ALERT – if you have not either read the book or seen the movie, STOP HERE!!
WE DISCOVER, in part six of the series, that the bad guy, Lord Voldemort, has divided up his evil soul into seven parts, and placed them in magical objects, called Horcruxes.
Vanquishing the dark lord therefore would require destroying these seven objects first. The task of doing so comprises the bulk of the story of Harry Potter’s seventh chapter.
Only low and behold, as I counted out horcruxes on my fingers while reading along, I only counted six objects that Harry had figured out. There was one missing.
It wasn’t until the final chapters of the novel that we, along with Harry, realize what the seventh Horcrux was – it was Harry himself. And Harry was going to have to let Voldemort destroy him, in order to be able to rid the world of this ultimate evil.
BAM. Harry has to sacrifice his life to destroy evil. Just like Jesus.
AND, then he comes back to life again, and in doing so becomes master of the deathly hallows, that is, the conqueror of death, just like Jesus.
As I read the story, and how Harry had evil inserted into his own flesh, and needed to conquer and destroy his own life to destroy evil itself, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a couple of scripture verses, like 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made him to be sin who knew no sin,” and Romans 8:3, “by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,” or Hebrews 2:14, “by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil”.
See, as scripture describes it, Jesus basically took all of the consequence of evil into himself, and by allowing it to be destroyed through HIS own death, he destroyed evil’s power to destroy.
Same as Harry Potter.
Now its very unlikely that JK Rowling intended Harry to be such a close parallel to Jesus, but he is, just the same. Kinda neat if you ask me.
And this is a general pattern that I find – the more meaningful and powerful stories tend to also have close connections to the STORY of Jesus. Maybe this is a coincidence; maybe not.
In any case, I’m personally glad that so many kids have become Harry Potter fans over all these years. Kids like me. So, maybe Harry Potter can lead us to Jesus after all.