Jewish Journal


July 14, 2011

Christians: Harry Potter, not so evil after all


We are about two hours until the beginning of the end of the “Harry Potter” film series. And I imagine that somewhere, Christians are rejoicing. Not as fans, but foes.

I haven’t read the books—my wife has, a few times—but I definitely have enjoyed the movies. As do a lot of Christians my age. But many of Christians from my parents generation have not. Or at least were not.

This is not the first time I have mentioned the “Christians who haven’t seen the movies or read the books they profess to be evil.” And I still can remember my aunt chastising my sister for reading those devil-inspired witch-worshipping books.

The difference for Harry Potter over, say, Dan Brown’s books or “The Golden Compass,” is that many Christians have warmed up. (See “The Harry Potter Gospel.”) Sarah Pulliam Bailey turned this phenomenon into a pretty cool op-ed tomorrow for the Wall Street Journal:

Christians today are certainly not universally enchanted by the series. Over time, however, more readers have begun to express praise for its honest depiction of fear, loneliness and sacrifice as Harry faces the evil wizard Lord Voldemort. Many Christians have cheered the portrayals of loyalty, courage and love, as the main character repeatedly risks his life.

“These books are not written for people who have a mechanical faith,” says John Granger, author of “Looking for God in Harry Potter.” “For Christians who are consumed with moral elements and symbolism, Potter mania was ironic beyond words.” Spoiler detail about the movie aside, the idea that sacrificial love conquers power, including magical power, is strongly suggested in the final book.

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, a member of the Church of Scotland that has Presbyterian roots, initially avoided talking explicitly about her faith. “To me, the religious parallels have always been obvious,” Ms. Rowling said in 2007. “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.”

Read the rest here, where Sarah puts the old Potter controversy in the context of other authors whose works Christians initially criticized.

In other “Harry Potter” memories, remember when Iran banned the book because it was part of the “zionist conspiracy” to take over the world?

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