Wednesday, July 25, 2007
From the Wall Street Journal review of Harry Potter . . .
I read this in Tuesday morning's Wall Street Journal. Meghan Cox Gurdon has written a wonderful review of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" . . . and the word is out! J.K. Rowling is a believer, and Harry is filled with Christian themes. I love it!
Snippets from the WSJ review:
“It has been widely observed that J.K. Rowling owes a creative debt to Christian fantasists JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis (apart from their fondness for initials). It’s odd now to remember that, at the same time, some parents have objected to the magic depicted in the Harry Potter books as glorification of satanic practices. For “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” confirms something else apart from the well-thought-out-ness of Ms. Rowling’s moral universe: It is subtly but unmistakably Christian.”
"The principal Hogwarts holidays have always been Christmas and Easter, but it took five books before Ms. Rowling really began tipping her hand. In Book Six, “Harry Potter and the half-blood prince,” she addressed concepts of free will, the power of love, and the sanctity of the soul. But in the final volume she gently lays it all out. The preciousness of each human life; bodily resurrection after death; mercy, forgiveness and redemption; sacrificial love overcoming the powers of evil—strip away the elves, goblins, broomsticks and magic wands and these are the concepts that underpin the marvelously intricate world of Harry Potter.
(The author goes on to point out a silver cross that appears, and two unattributed New Testament quotations recur in the story . . .)
"He discovers on the Dumbledore family tomb “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” . . . And on the grave of his own parents, he finds this: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” . . .
"Near the end, Harry visits the hereafter, where he sees joy coming to those who in life were merciful and agony meted out to those who were cruel and remorseless.
"Many readers may not even notice these intimations of Christian spirituality. There’s nothing finger-pointingly didactic here; the story is too well-made to insist on anything so obvious as a proselytizing message. . . We have in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” skillfully plotted drama, entertaining characters in a fantastically imagined world, and a moral contest that would not be out of place in Aeschyulus or, for that matter, Philip Pullman. . . ."
Speaking of reviews, there's a really well-done review of THE ELEVATOR here.