Here comes the spoiler disclaimer once more:
Warning: There are definitely spoilers in this post. If you have not read all the books yet, STOP reading right now! (I’m looking at you, wife.) Instead, go read these delightful books for yourself, before the movies or other people spoil the story for you!
Now then, on with the show, as they say. After reading several other blog posts about Harry Potter (here, here, here and here), my mind was jogged to remember several things that I’d forgotten to mention in terms of theology in Harry Potter. I probably plagiarized an idea or two too. ;)
The character’s attitudes towards death are what fundamentally shape them. Voldemort is afraid of death, and this is what drives him to become the horror he is. When Dumbledore tells him that there are things worse than death, Voldemort simply cannot comprehend this. Dumbledore and Harry, on the other hand, portray a healthy—and even heroic—attitude towards death.
There are two direct Scripture references in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and it might be said that the whole series is a reference to John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” The other two references are seen on the tombstones of Harry’s parents and Kendra Dumbledore. The former has “The last enemy to be destroyed is death,” (1 Cor 15:26) while the latter has “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21).
The journey of faith is symbolized in Harry’s struggle to trust Dumbledore despite his fears that Dumbledore might only be treating Harry as a pawn. Harry uncovers some unsavory accusations against his mentor and wonders if Dumbledore actually ever loved him. Although he doesn’t have answers to his questions, Harry decides to trust Dumbledore and his plan for Harry to destroy the Horcruxes. This faith in Dumbledore, it turns out, was well-placed, but Harry does not discover this until later on. This is, in my mind, an excellent description of faith: trusting in a person who has proven him/herself trustworthy, even though serious questions and/or doubts linger.
But even without the richness of theological allusion in Harry Potter, these books are worth a read simply because it’s a cracking good story. Mystery, intrigue, believable characters and a richness of detail make for books that I never failed to read in extremely short durations. Thank you, J.K. Rowling, for a good story.