I’ve finally begun my journey into the world of Harry Potter. After reading the first five chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone I’ve had some initial impressions. The books are well written and very engaging. I can see why people got caught up in the story and had a hard time putting the books down.
I’m happy I’ve begun eliminating the Harry Potter blind spot from my nerd repertoire. Here are some reflections from the first five chapters.
Even from the first five chapters I can tell that Harry Potter is going to fulfill the role of a messiah figure. A lot of our great modern mythologies have a messiah figure: Luke Skywalker, Aragorn and Spock. Harry Potter seems to be the chosen one with some sort of special destiny to fulfill. Messiah figures are so prevalent in our modern mythologies because the history of the universe revolves around the one true Messiah. Our culture and its stories are filled with shadows and echoes of the most important story of all: God’s pursuit of humanity which reached its climax in Jesus Christ. The coming of God’s chosen one completely altered humanity so it’s no surprise that theme is reflected with lightsabers and wands.
While reading about Harry’s Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, I couldn’t help but think about the patriarchs of Israel. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all suffered from the same problem which created chaos within their families: favoritism. Abraham favored Isaac. Isaac favored Esau. Jacob favored Joseph. The Dursleys favored their pig of a son and it created chaos within their home. Ishmael was sent away. Jacob stole his brother’s blessing. Jacob’s other sons sold Joseph into slavery. Harry had to live in a closet under the stairs.
Harry Potter has been a lightning rod for controversy among Christians. Some Christians see the books as nothing more than a great story. Other Christians see the books as the embodiment of all evil and a gateway to hell itself. We are all entitled to our own opinions. People I know and respect have chosen not to read the books. People I know and respect, including my wife and sister, have read the books numerous times without any ill effect. There are some gray areas in our lives with Jesus where the issue is between us and God. I am reading Harry Potter with a clear conscience. If you cannot read the books with a clear conscience, though, please don’t. If you are underage and your parents have forbidden you from reading Harry Potter, obey the fifth commandment and honor them. In the end, though, I see Harry Potter as a piece of our culture worth examining through a Christian lens.
I’m off and running in my Harry Potter adventure. I’m excited to see what happens next and how the story develops. I’m also excited to continue seeing what fruit will come from looking at J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world from a Christian perspective.
What insights do you have from the first five chapters of The Sorcerer’s Stone? Remember the rules about spoilers and getting too crazy.