Friday, September 7, 2012

Re-reading Harry Potter

I finished reading Harry Potter this week to my kids. This is my third time through the series. Each reading have brought fresh insights. I wanted to share some reflections on the last three books.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: The genius of this book is that we see that Harry Potter is not perfect. We see that flaws exist in everyone. At different parts, Harry is not a likeable fellow. We also see that one of Harry's teachers tortures Harry. This woman is suppose to be fighting evil, but she uses evil to fight evil. This reminds one of Machiavelli's the ends justifies the means. In addition, Harry's intellectual curiosities leads to terrible results. He is warned against following them, but he is unable to restain.

Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince: Harry finds a textbook that had belonged to the Half-blood prince. His book is filled with his markings and his notes. It is like two books in one. Some people say you shouldn't write in your books, but Mortimer Adler argued that is the way we gain ownership of the book. Marking your book will help you to be a more active reader.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: At the end of the previous book, Dumbledore gave Harry the job of destroying horcruxes. Voldemort has split his soul into seven pieces. These horcruxes must be destroyed for Voldemort to die. Harry, however, finds out about the Deathly Hallows which would allow one to be the master of all others. Harry cannot do both. He must choose between destroying horcruxes or acquiring the deathly Hallows.

 After Dumbledore's death, many unknown truths about Dumbledore becomes common knowledge. These truths cast doubt on Dumbledore's goodness. Harry struggles for belief in Dumbledore despite these doubts. I believe Rowling is alluding to the Christian's struggle to believe in God. I think this novel shows that we ultimately are free to choose if we are going to believe. In the last part of the book Harry sacrifices his life for others and comes back to life. I think Rowling is pointing to the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Harry Potter books are not perfect, but they are very good. Harry Potter, however, is fun to read and it points to the permanent things, like truth, goodness, and beauty.

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