Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Post-Modern Culture Meets the Magic Kingdom
The World of Harry Potter

Yes, I've read the Harry Potter books, all six of them. Yes, I've seen the movies, including the latest release, The Goblet of Fire. No, these are not books for young children to read. I avoided that quandary because my youngest daughter was a teenager when I let her read the first book. Yes, she and I have talked about it.

Actually there is nothing really profound about the title to this post. What would we expect? J.K. Rowling was not writing a philosophy of life with the Potter books, but the books reflect a philosophy of life, and it's not just the witchcraft and magic. Rowling is a child of her age, and the Harry Potter books reflect that age in a context of magic. What did we expect?

Suits of armor singing Christmas carols, Christmas trees in the halls of Hogwarts in December, Easter is mentioned, but what do those mean in the world of Harry Potter? The same thing they mean in the secularist post-modern Britain that is the setting of Rowling's life, a feel good tradition with little real meaning.

But even the world of Harry Potter longs for redemption. Has Snape, the former deatheater, really changed for the better? Your heart wants to say yes in spite of all the apparent evidence to the contrary. At the end of book six, The Half-Blood Prince, for the first time in all the years Harry has known Draco Malfoy, he finally actually feels some pity for him. Is there redemption even for Draco? We'll have to wait for the seventh and final book to find out.

The world of Harry Potter is broken even as our world is. The world of Harry Potter is filled with imperfect people, and even the heroes are clearly flawed. So it is in our world. It remains to be seen if there will be any redemption in the world of Harry Potter. In our world, redemption has been made manifest in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and the final consummation of that redemption is yet to come. That is our blessed hope.

Sola Deo Gloria!

~ The Billy Goat ~

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