“Not all wizards are good wizards, Harry. Some of them go bad and a few years ago one of them went as bad as you can go.” That paraphrased quote from Rubeus Hagrid, gamekeeper at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to a young Harry Potter, sets the stage for one of the most popular book and movie series ever produced. Many evangelical Christians have been extremely suspicious of Harry Potter and I used to agree with them. After reading all the books and seeing all the films, I have a much different point of view. In fact, you can find a lot of Christian values in the Harry Potter series.
The word “witch” as used in the Bible doesn’t exactly mean what many people think it does, and we should remember that the wise men who visited baby Jesus in the manger were called the “Magi.” Does that word remind you of anything?
In the Harry Potter series, there is a wizarding world that exists parallel to the regular world. It is regulated and controlled by a government called the Ministry of Magic, which is composed of various departments. There are wizard courts and even a wizard prison known as Azkaban.
Harry Potter is the only son of Lilly and James Potter, who were murdered by the evil Lord Voldemort when Harry was a baby. Voldemort sought to rule the wizard world by force and was successful until he tried to kill Harry as a baby. But the curse rebounded, sparing Harry and almost killing Voldemort, who was severely damaged. Wizards rescue Harry from the bombed house and deliver him to his non-magical aunt and uncle, who treat him badly until he is rescued once again and taken to Hogwarts School at age 11. He had never known he was a wizard until Rubeus Hagrid informed him of the fact.
For the next few years, Harry and his new best friends receive their magical education at Hogwarts while experiencing numerous adventures, but Voldemort, in his diminished state is plotting a return to once again seize control of the wizarding world. The only impediment to doing so is Harry Potter himself, who was saved by his mother’s sacrificial love as she tried to protect him from the original attack. It was that sacrificial love in giving her life for Harry that caused the original curse to rebound.
For several years, it is clear that Harry, the good wizard, and Voldemort, the dark lord, are headed for a final epic battle. We see substantial evidence of Christian values among the good wizards along the way:
• Lilly Potter gives her life for her son.
• The Weasleys, a wizard family, effectively adopt Harry as one of their own.
• Acting as a double agent, Professor Severus Snape risks and eventually gives his life to protect Harry and others.
• Harry’s godfather Sirius Black gives his life to protect Harry and his friends.
• Harry spares the lives of his enemies Peter Pettigrew and Draco Malfoy.
• Professor Dumbledore gives his life to protect Harry and the rest of the wizarding world.
• Professor Minerva McGonagall faces off against Snape to protect Harry, not realizing Snape is actually a double agent.
• Harry and his friends protect each other at great personal risk.
• Multiple witches and wizards give their lives for the greater good in the final battle against the evil Lord Voldemort.
• As the final battle approaches, Harry decides he will sacrifice his own life for the sake of his friends and the wizarding world. Happily, he doesn’t have to do so in the end.
What we actually see in the story of Harry Potter is the very stark contrast between good and evil, which are constantly in conflict. In fact, the Ministry of Magic has a department known as the Auror Office, which is sort of a magical police force. An auror is a dark wizard catcher.
They have some great Christmas celebrations at Hogwarts, in fact, reference is made to singing “O, Come All Ye Faithful” in one passage.” In the last of the original books, mention is made of a Biblical passage stating, “And the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
The story of Harry Potter is ultimately a story of the triumph of good over evil and in the end, sacrificial love conquers all. So if you’ve ever wondered what all the fuss was about, I encourage you to check it out for yourself. Don’t let excessive Biblical literalism keep you from enjoying this great series of books and the outstanding film versions. This only scratches the surface of some great life lessons that are clearly evident in J.K. Rowling’s magnificent work.
Longtime Ashville-area resident P.W. McWhorter is an aspiring novelist. The opinions reflected are his own. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.