On Friday I posted a short post about the new Harry Potter film featuring an artistic rendering of my patronus. I have not yet been able to see the movie. We spent all weekend studying for the GRE, which went really well (although I can’t blog about it or its contents for fear of losing my soul based on all the things I had to sign before I took the test). After the GRE, Jen had her wisdom teeth removed – all four of ’em. She is still recovering, but is doing much better today. We have made a double-date with some friends of ours to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 on Thursday, and I am pumped.
I am very excited about this movie. I resisted the Harry Potter craze as long as possible. The first book came out when I was in middle school, and I can recall some lady at one of those traveling book fairs waxing eloquently about how it was such a great book blah, blah, blah. I was a burgeoning teenager in no need of more childish literature involving magic and wizadry. I ignored Harry Potter. By the time I was in high school, Harry Potter was a full-blown phenomenon. I, however, was a Tolkien fan. I rigidly stood against the Harry Potter series as a childish challenger to the great Tolkien and Middle Earth. Plus, I was (and am) a devout evangelical, and many people in my circles of influence saw the “sorcery” of Harry Potter as suspect at best.
In college I had a whole heap of friends that geeked out over Harry Potter. I watched half of one of the films with some of them on a trip, and although interesting, I did not get hooked. To me it simply was not nearly as epic as Middle Earth (and I use the term epic intentionally as a literary term, not like all these half-ignorant teenagers that constantly spout “epic fail”). This all changed once I got married. My wife liked all the Harry Potter films, but had never read the books. She asked me to watch the films with her before Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came to theaters. I agreed, and I enjoyed the films this go around. I enjoyed each film more as the plot took on darker and more adult themes (and I mean adult in the common sense of the word, not in the perverted sense employed by the moral Cretans that run “adult bookstores”).
Being the book-nerd that I am, I decided that we had to read all of the books before the next film was released. Being a seminary student, I really did not have much time to read for pleasure. So, we borrowed the audio books from the Louisville Public Library in order to listen on trips to Tennessee. We loved listening to these readings by Jim Dale (although i will forever hate his rendition of “Weasley is our king”).
We completed the series shortly before the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 was released, and we greatly enjoyed the entire experience. This series is spectacularly written (although I do still prefer Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings). I have no qualms about being a Christian and enjoying this series of books and films centered on wizadry. In the midst of going through the books and watching the films, I have never once thought, “I should look into practicing magic myself.” Some people may think that, but they are already mentally unhinged. Some of the fears that some Christians have about the popularization of magic may have some merit, but the fact that the vast majority of the anti-Potterites also love the Narnia series or Tolkien is hypocritical.
Harry Potter is not a Christian series. It does not have a hidden allegory of the gospel. But like all good literature, it bears marks of common grace. Virtue is lauded, although one will not find a perfect character in the series. Self-sacrifice and love are also lauded, and to quote Jesus – and Bagheera from Disney’s Jungle Book – “Greater love has none than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” For these reasons, and many more, I heartily recommend the Harry Potter series to anyone. I also recommend that you read this great post from Christian songwriter Andrew Peterson on reading Harry Potter as a Christian, it is the best I have read yet.
Until later friends…