Thursday, August 9, 2007

Christian Roots of Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling has stated what should be ovious to any reader of the Harry Potter series--particularly the final book: The book is inspired by Christian themes (Spoiler Alert):

CHRISTIAN motifs play a central role in the Harry Potter stories, author JK Rowling told an American television audience on July 29.

Participating in a question-and-answer session on the NBC news magazine show Dateline, Rowling was asked by a child in the studio audience what the significance of her calling Harry Potter the “chosen one” might be.

“Well, there -- there clearly is a religious — undertone,” to the stories, Rowling said.

She added that it had “always been difficult to talk about that because until we reached Book Seven, views of what happens after death and so on” an explicit discussion of the books’ Christian motifs “would give away a lot of what was coming.”

Rowling stated “my belief and my struggling with religious belief, and so on, I think is quite apparent in this book.”

Asked by the television presenter what her struggle was, Rowling responded “Well my struggle really is to keep believing.”

Rowling has been asked many times about her faith and the religious themes in her work, but has been reticent in her response. She said that she is a Christian.

“Every time I've been asked if I believe in God, I've said yes, because I do, but no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that, and I have to say that does suit me, because if I talk too freely about that I think the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what's coming in the books,” she told the Vancouver Sun on Oct 26, 2000.

However, in the final book of the seven-part saga, Rowling introduces the first explicit reference to Christian faith. In the Deathly Hallows, Harry Potter visits the grave of his parents on Christmas Eve in a church graveyard and reads the inscription on the headstone: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

Rowling does not identify the passage for her readers: 1 Cor 15:26, where Paul discusses the significance of the resurrection of Jesus.

Taken as a whole, the Harry Potter saga revolves round the distinctly Christian theme of substitutionary sacrifice of one's life, offered out of love.

In the first book of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the infant Harry survives death because his mother, Lily, sacrifices her life for his -- developing the theme of the transcendent power of life freely given in sacrifice.

The final book concludes with Harry choosing death, so that others might have life and includes a last battle resulting in death and resurrection, spiritual power carried by blood, and the losing of one’s life in order to gain life.


Read it all here.

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