Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Is Harry Potter a Christian?

I didn't even realize this was a possibility, what with J.K. Rowling accused of being a Wiccan and some
Christians not thinking it safe for their children to read the Harry Potter books.

But the seventh and final installment comes out at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and the news stories are starting to go around and some people are looking to define the religious landscape within which Harry lives. Here's Potter man Jeffrey Weiss over at the DMN religion blog's take.

I find it as strange that some Christians claim that Potter is explicitly Christian as I find those Christians who find it explicitly Satanic. At least for the first six books, Rowling has been astonishingly a-religious. Zero mentions of God, Satan, angels, prayer, the Bible, heaven, or hell. Christmas is presented denuded of any religious explanation or ritual. Even Dumbeldore's funeral included no hint of explicit religion, much less Christianity.

But it's written broadly enough that I wouldn't argue with someone who finds Christian meaning in there. Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, or Zoroastrian meaning, either. Whatever someone finds between the lines of a text is there for that reader. And Rowling leaves a lot of room between some of her lines.

The best argument I can find in the extensive online chat as evidence of explicit religion in HP is a sideways one


Siamang said...

Rowling isn't Wiccan.

She's a Christian.


I rather think Harry is an atheist, and that the Harry Potter books occur in a godless world. Rowling seems to understand that if she infused her world with spirtuality, she'd have to mix her magical metaphors, and any character who could pray would trump any magical spell.

Messy business in a fantasy novel... too easy for Deus ex machina. She also doesn't have harry build a robot army to fight Voldemort's space station death star.

Mixing your metaphors makes for a muddled book.

Much better to pick a form of power, be it magic, spirituality, God(s), technology, whatever... and stick with it.

Siamang said...

Thanks for fixing.

Brad A. Greenberg said...

Thanks for the heads-up.