Friday, July 15, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I'm very excited for this new release in a couple days. I was recently reminded, however, that many Christians are still outraged at the evil that J.K. Rowling has created. I don't understand it.

I have recently discovered some research into Harry Potter that demonstrates just how Christian these books are. Rowling is a Presbyterian. Her children are baptized in the Church of Scotland. Take a look at this link, HogwartsProfessor. If you delve deep enough, you'll find the Latin meaning of all sorts of Harry Potter names and places. Another good review, here. Basically, tons of references are made throughout the series to Christian Medieval symbolism. Symbolism that arose through Christian art, literature, arcitecture, etc. If you don't understand these themes and symbols (like I didn't), Harry Potter is just a good story. I've come to realize, though, that Harry Potter is a good story because it is the good story, told in a different way. Let me give you a taste of some of the symbolism you'll find better documented in the websites (and links they provide to books and articles, etc.).

Gryffindor -- "Griffin" plus "D'or" (French for "of gold.") A griffin is a half lion, half eagle; master of earth and sky, the human and the divine. A griffin is a symbol for Jesus, the God-man.

Unicorns -- also a common symbol for Jesus -- pure and powerful, could only be tamed by a virgin just as Jesus could only be incarnated by a virgin. In the first Harry Potter, drinking a unicorn's blood would give life.

Draco Malfoy -- "Draco" means "dragon" or "serpant" in Latin, while "Malfoy" means "faith in evil" in French.

Neville Longbottom -- "Neville" means "no village" and his last name is pretty self explanatory, long at the lowest place. Remember, Neville is an orphan who is picked on a bunch, but later finds strength in his great weakness.

Alchemy -- this can be pretty complicated, but basically, think of it as an ancient idea of turning lead into gold. It was thought to be a magical or spiritual kind of "chemistry." Medieval Christian writers would talk about alchemy in relationship to our souls. Our souls are turned from lead into gold by a spiritual kind of "chemistry" that only God can do. Preachers would weave this into sermons as a picture of the soveriegn transformation God works in our hearts. Alchemy was (and should be) a reminder that this world is not all physical, it is also spiritual.

This is but a taste of what awaits you if you are interested enough to follow my links and explore what lies behind those doors. Discover Harry Potter again for the first time.


Blogger James said...

That is really cool. but I just like to read the books so...
do you think that there should be an age to read the Harry Potters?

9:00 AM, July 18, 2005  
Blogger W Sofield said...

Certainly, yes. It takes a measure of maturity to see the evil protrayed in the Potter books without being overwhelmed completely. I appreciate how Rowling protrays evil, and it makes the protrayal of good so much more redemptive and loving and joyful and wonderful. But the evil is dark and scary and requires some life experience, some maturity to understand well. It would damage immature people. Those people are not bad people, they just need more time. Thank God that he is patient with all of us who are too immature to understand the fullness of his greatness, yet.

9:16 AM, July 18, 2005  

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