What Christians can learn from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Image: What Christians can learn from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

There are similarities between Harry & his friends" " and Jesus & his disciples

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” the seventh and second-last in the series signalled my return to Harry Potter having missed all three movies since the Prisoner of Azkaban.  I’ve also never read the books so I had very little to inform me when approaching the film.  What I found was not what I expected – Harry Potter is no longer a children’s character; he has grown up and taken his viewers with him.

On the face of it The Deathly Hallows continues the long-running plotline throughout the series – Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) Hermione (Emma Watson) Ron (Rupert Grint) and the forces of good battle the dark Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his army of Death Eaters.  Unfortunately for viewers not well versed in all things Potter being Part 1 of a two part finale means this film asks more questions than it answers.  The main characters spend plenty of time carrying out amateur and magical sleuthing searching for objects called Horcruxes and magical ways to destroy them while at the same time evading the forces of darkness in their many forms.

Running underneath this plotline however was a surprisingly adult tone.  Gone are the wonderful and imaginative magic lessons at Hogwarts; gone are the thrilling games of Quidditch; gone is the gentle and kindly instruction from Dumbledore and the other wizard professors.  Instead Harry now inhabits a darker and more uncertain world.  As announced by the Minister of Magic at the very start of the film “These are dark times…”  The remainder of the film doesn’t get much chirpier.

Fears for their safety lead Harry Hermione and Ron to spend long periods of time hiding in desolate places arguing and not knowing what is going on in the rest of the world.  These are tense periods as the trio are left waiting for something to happen; waiting for Harry to do something to save the day.

Harry and Jesus - similarities

While JK Rowling is no CS Lewis (author of the Narnia series) and Harry is no Jesus I could not help but think that all this waiting in a dark and uncertain world holds parallels to the darkness of the fallen world awaiting salvation by Jesus: 

While the Bible only gives a few clues to the Disciples’ feelings as they travelled with Jesus in those last weeks before his arrest and crucifixion I suspect they too would have found the time tense and uncertain.  They may have been on edge expecting the authorities to arrest Jesus at any time; for Jesus to begin their wanted rebellion; or full of uncertainty about what was going happen in the coming weeks.  By Good Friday everything looked bad for them; Death had conquered their Lord and their confidence was shattered.

And that’s where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 ends – things are pretty dark and the audience is again left waiting with only a few clues as to the possible outcome.  The idea of “cheating death” has already been introduced in this movie when three brothers steal strength resurrection and long life from Death.  But we will have to wait until Part 2 is released next year to discover how Harry will use these ‘Hallows’ to save the day.

Harry and Jesus - a big difference

Readers of the Bible on the other hand are not left hanging.  “Where O death is your victory?” asks Paul (in 1 Corinthians 15:55) reflecting on Jesus’ resurrection on the third day “Where O death is your sting?”  No tricks magic or last minute saves – Jesus conquered death and rose again in victory ” giving all those who trust and follow him the certainty needed in a dark world.  As Paul goes on to say “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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