As a child, I was never interested in Harry Potter and his wizarding ways. The year the series came out I was 11-years-old (which was how old Harry was in book number 1!) and much more interested in Hanson, reading Teen Bop magazine, and over-plucking my eyebrows. Oh, how I wish I’d picked up Harry Potter and the Scorcerer’s Stone, but I didn’t. It has taken 20 years for me to finally get on board, but I am happy to finally be here!
About a month ago, Keith and I started watching the movies, and my mind has been completely blown. As a writer, (My favorite author Emily Giffin says to stop saying “aspiring writer” because if you write, you are a writer. You aspire to get paid to write as your profession!) I’m constantly thinking “How in the world did J.K. Rowling create all of this?” Harry and Hogwarts and Muggles and Quidditch? It’s unbelievably creative and captivating, and I am intrigued by it all.
Via TIME Magazine
One of the main reasons I think I held off on watching or reading this series is because of the stigma surrounding it in the Christian world. I truly felt that I couldn’t read or watch them without betraying my beliefs. Which, when you think of the basic idea of wizards and witches, it doesn’t really sync with Christianity. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll see there’s a much bigger picture to Harry Potter.
It’s no surprise that throughout the writing of this series, J.K. Rowling was constantly criticized by religious figures. Her stories were rejected by multiple religions, and even the pope spoke out against Harry Potter. She could have easily defended herself, but instead she chose to protect the story. She thought that explaining her personal views and beliefs could wind up revealing how the plot would go, so she stayed quiet. Rowling said, “To me [the religious parallels have] always been obvious,” she said. “But I never wanted to talk too openly about it because I thought it might show people, who just wanted the story, where we were going” (from here).
In the last book, Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows, a scripture from the Bible is discovered on Harry’s parents’ grave, which Rowling says is the entire theme of the series. So what scripture is it? It comes from 1 Corinthians 15:26, and is derived from Paul speaking about Jesus’s resurrection: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
So, you’re telling me that Harry Potter has been viewed with disdain from (some) people with a religious background, only to find out that the entire basis of the series is inspired by the Bible?? According to Nancy Gibbs in Time Magazine’s Harry Potter Special Edition, the Harry Potter series is “the greatest evangelistic opportunity the church has ever missed.”
And I’d have to agree.
While she never set out to convert people to Christianity like C.S. Lewis successfully did, Rowling does not have a religious agenda. In fact, she loves knowing that her stories impact people of all religions, and lead them to think about the hard questions.
Now that I’ve seen the movies and am working my way through the books (currently finishing book 2, The Chamber of Secrets), I can say from personal experience that “thinking about the hard questions” is something the series certainly does.
But it’s more than that.
It’s a story of good vs. evil.
It’s a story about choosing our own paths.
It’s inspiring and uplifting.
I, obviously, really like Harry Potter, but it’s fine if you do not. Perfectly, 100% fine. Just make sure you aren’t judging this franchise because you think it’s something evil, without truly knowing what it’s all about. I’m new to this wonderful, magical world, but I know one thing for absolute certain — J.K. Rowling is a beautiful storyteller. She has ignited a fire in children and adults alike, which has caused both to dive into books (and movies)! I may have been late to the Star Wars game, and I guess it’s only fitting that I’m late to Harry Potter, too. But one thing’s for sure — my children will grow up knowing Jesus, Jedi, and Hogwarts.