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Peter T Chattaway

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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I think what I appreciated

most was how important community was to defeating Voldemort. The Horocruxes were destroyed by Dumbledoor, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville. It was how the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledoor's Army treated the lessers of the Wizarding Community that ultimately led to their success. It was the house-elfs, the Lovegoods, and the Neville Longbottom's of the world that came through in the end. Sacrifice, loyalty, courage, and friendship triumphed over individualistic evil. After completing the book I was saddened by how much of the Christian community would be opposed to this book when there were so many parrallels to the Christian life.

As to the "death"/rebirth of Harry, I too think it worked. Especially since, Voldemort only killed a horocrux and not Harry. I was deeply moved by it all considering Harry did not know what would happen. Harry was ready to die a real death. He willingly laid down his life for the world, or at least his friends.

Edited by Kyle

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I caught myself just a few minutes ago wondering where I could get some good discussion of the last HP installment...and where should I end up but here, of course? Actually, I'm surprised there hasn't been more discussion since Saturday. *shrug*

Hang on a minute...gotta figure out the spoiler tags thing...oh, man. It doesn't work for lists. Hmm. OK, so the list will be manual.

I didn't actually cry toward the end, but when Harry realized he was going back I actually cheered out loud because I was so elated. It was quite brave of Rowling to write such a clear allegory, and I (as a Christian) am proud of her work. As I mentioned (very vaguely, no spoiler tags there) in my brief blog post, whatever the other merits and demerits of Rowling's work contrasted with Pullman's may be, Rowling's deeply Christian types are so much more enjoyable than Pullman's endless griping.

I'm very interested to see the Christian community respond to the entire HP series, now that the Christian underpinnings are clear. I don't think we see an obvious 1-for-1 matchup with Christian theology, of course, but the combination of ideas is interesting. Here's a grab-bag of things that come to mind:

1. Harry's birth was prophesied

2. An evil ruler attempted to have him killed as an infant

3. Harry grew up with a dual-nature...but not fully each (as Christ was).

4. The Horcrux in Harry could easily be taken to be a representation of a sinful self.

5. The Potterverse is explicitly non-materialist (and has an afterlife). (Not sure what happens if you've been kissed by a Dementor, though.)

6. The series as a whole is a morality tale about lots of things, but among them, and perhaps most importantly, living well without believing that death is the end. Second on the list might be respectful egalitarianism for all people. (This turns out to be crucial to the plot in a way; as wikipedia noted within the day of the book's release, the only person who destroyed more than one of the Horcruxes was Voldemort himself. It took a communal effort.) Somewhere close after on this list would be a strong pro-family, anti-divorce, pro-parenting view. (This is something Rowling would know about.)

7. I'm not going to reread HP7 for a few weeks, so it'll take me some time to figure out what I think about the squalling bundle in King's Cross. But ATM I suspect it's the Horcrux-Harry-Voldemort, and as Dumbledore says, "Nothing can be done for it now." i.e., that bit of Voldemort's soul is suffering after death, and there is no help for it. This is a weighty point to draw from there so I'm hesitant, and perhaps I'm just wanting this to be in there. Not sure.

8. Harry dies as a sacrifice to save the world, and he comes back to life. (Is he really "dead", since it's the Horcrux that (apparently necessarily) *stays* dead? I don't really care. The symbolism here cannot be denied.)

Next to a list like that (and I'm sure I'm skimming the surface here) the Christian complaints against HP (as I remember them) are so pale and weak.

For example, I remember some folks making much of a careful distinction between magic and non-magic worlds in Tolkien and Lewis, and arguing that this distinction is absent in HP -- hogwash. (Er, was that you, SDG? Don't remember for sure...) In Tolkien the wizard could show up on your doorstep any day, or if you travel far enough you could find magic people or powerful magical objects. In Lewis, any closet might be a doorway to the magic land. (How many people have played Narnia in their closets?) In Rowling, you just can't do magic unless you've been born with the gift, so it's not something you can go learn from a book just because you want to. I'm not saying there's nothing to discuss here (and perhaps I'm missing important details), but I don't think this is a distinction that holds up well or that is particularly important. Children should be taught about fantasy v. real life no matter what they're reading (or having read to them), and (it's easy for me to say this -- no kids...) it's a parent's job to do that teaching, not to turn kids loose on any literature without parental interaction.

The Abanes-style complaints about Harry breaking rules seem so petty (but worth discussion with young readers, of course...in light of John Granger's discussion of Harry's true and worthy moral compass), and the intial Christian fear/skepticism toward a story about "witches" and "wizards" seems to lose all foundation in light of the true nature of the series, as revealed in the last book.

FWIW, I didn't mind the epilogue at all. I don't think her goal was to fend off sequels (by herself or someone else); I think her goal was to satisfy her readers in such a way that we won't really want sequels. We've been told the state of things 19 years down the road -- why not be happy with that? And if it had been less "sappy", there would've been more story to tell. I'd be interested to know how many versions of that epilogue ended up on the floor, and how many characters she mentioned at one point and then took back out. She had to tell just enough to satisfy without opening the door for additional serious questions to be asked, and I think she did a pretty darn good job of that.

Lastly, I couldn't decide for a while before HP7 whether Rowling was more fundamentally romantic or tragic...and I decided that too many things pointed to Harry's death for that not to happen. So a couple weeks before book 7, I predicted his death in my blog. Of course, I hadn't been willing to imagine that she would actually resurrect Harry, to satisfy both the tragedians and the romantics! It was more than I had hoped for.

Edited by moquist

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I had to leave town for a beach cottage with no internet and limited TV (thanks to my relatives' invitation--they are equally devoted readers--and their interest in the Tour de France) in order to read HP7 with few interruptions and no unintentional spoilers. Finished it last night in a fit of insomnia, which was well worth it.

Am I crazy or was this the first book in which characters frequently said things like

"Thank God!"

?

I had thought we would probably see

Dumbledore's resurrection, but am just as pleased, if not more so, to see the book assert the reality of the afterlife. Harry's sacrificial virtual death and return was quite satisfactory.

About halfway through I thought the story bogged down a bit--JKR still needs an editor, perhaps?--as

Harry, Ron, & Hermione were still wandering more or less aimlessly around England and had still accomplished only ONE of their objectives.

Fortunately, things picked up just about then, and I found the conclusion quite effective.

As always, hogwartsprofessor.com has a lot of good discussion points--with :spoilers:

Edited by BethR

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I finished this late Sunday night, and I've been mulling over it for a while and waiting for others to finish. In general, I'm satisfied; it was a fine resolution to the series and well exhibited both the most compelling aspects of the series and its niggling flaws. The more I reflect on it, the more it seems like the natural and proper ending to the story, a little bit expected and a little bit surprising.

It's interesting, though, that right around the halfway mark

when they introduce the actual deathly hallows with the Tale of the Three Brothers

, I perked up quite a bit. This was a book I'd come to with the express demand of answers to a million previously established questions, and suddenly there was a new mystery right at the heart of it, one which opened up a whole new set of possibilities. For me, there was a glimmer of something genuinely mythical, something almost transcendent utterly mysterious in

the story of the Three Brothers

. I don't mean mysterious in the traditional Harry Potter sense, which is more along the lines of a detecive novel mystery; magic in the Harry Potter books, after all, has never had much of an element of transcendent mystery about it; you figure out the logic and mechanics of it, figure out how to apply it, and that's that. But with

the hallows

, as in the Department of Mysteries from OotP, was something venturing beyond functionality in the world at hand and into deeper waters. I can understand why

Harry went for the Horcruxes, but there was another story entirely in the Hallows, one lingering on the graves of the Potters-- the last enemy to be defeated is death

. For a while, I almost entertained the hope that I would be not satisfied but bewildered and elated to find something deeper in the series than I expected.

In the end,

Harry reasonably relinquishes the Hallows,

and that makes perfect sense. And I think the echoes of the fairy tale worked in the book's favor, and its

treatment of mortality-- Harry's sacrifice, the role of the ressurection stone, the graveyard scene

-- was one of its best features. And yet!

As for the

death and resurrection

, of course that in and of itself is not explicitly Christian. But I do think the idea of

a hero like Harry going willingly and bravely to his own fate, through a Gethsemene of sorts, and laying down his life for his friends (no greater love is there than that!), and, specifically through his sacrifice, engendering the highest form of protection for his people from a devil-like figure bears more than an archetypal resemblance

. It's not exact, and I don't think it could be, but certainly it's the Christian model that's going to come to mind for most of Rowling's audience. And for Rowling, who, if nothing else, is very, very canny with her references, to not know exactly where

those two graveyard quotes

come from would be very surprising to me. I was also interested to see that, for the first time I can think of in the series,

it's very deliberately a church they stand outside on Christmas Eve, and thus not secular Christmas carols but hymns that float through the air as Harry contemplates his parents' sacrifice

. Perhaps she's a bit timid about it, yes, but I feel like anything more direct would have stood out like a flock of pterodactyls, given the established tone of the series.

I don't remember the "everybody creates their own heaven" gobbligook, though. Where was that?

Anyway, on the negative side, Rowling is still not much of a prose stylist, and goodness gracious some of her exposition is clumsy. (

Why look! It's a band of refugees from government oppression with convenient information in an empty forest far from civilization! Let's have a listen!

) I still don't care one whit about Ginny, and I really found myself missing some of the other secondary characters. Sometimes I felt like she was

playing darts with character deaths

, just to up the "serious" quotient, and

Harry's gaining of the Eldest Wand

felt like awfully tortured plot mechanics. And, of course, the epilogue felt ENTIRELY gratuitous, with absolutely nothing that surprised me, enlightened me, or touched me

except "Albus Severus."

I can see where it would have been hard to resist writing, though, so I'm not too upset. All in all, I was pretty well pleased.

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No, no, no, no, no...

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! It's been a long time since I've had this kind of interaction. :)

Death and resurrection

are *not* uniquely or originally a Christian idea. Please read Lewis on this. The mere fact that the story uses these archetypical mythic elements may help us, as Christians, to identify with the story and to use the story to explain the Christian gospel as the "true myth", but it does not make the story itself Christian in nature or bespeak anything about Rowling's convictions, per se.

Of course they're not unique or original to Christianity; I wasn't saying that every depiction of

death+resurrection

is Christian, or that the mere fact that this story has those elements makes it Christian. I was saying that I think Rowling intends the association in this case to be to Christianity, and not to the general body of all

death+resurrection

myths. Yes, in part my confidence in assessing JKR's intentions here comes from that much-ballyhooed interview that gets discussed over at hogwartsprofessor.com. There's plenty of room to argue about whether or not she was successful, but what she intended seems clear to me, and I have no problem reading it that way. (Perhaps I'm simply too ignorant of the other myths.)

Almost every Disney movie involves

death and resurrection

, but they're hardly Christian. It is the universality of these elements and not a specific instance of them that points to Christ.

This is a great point, though I've never doubted that

death and resurrection

can be in a story that we wouldn't call Christian.

The obtuse and uncredited use of Scripture throughout the book is very interesting ("The last enemy to be destroyed is death" 1 Co 15:26). BUT, the lack of any reference to the Bible or ANYTHING Christian does *not* mean that Harry's hope is in Jesus, only that there's a hopeful statement in the book that Rowling (perhaps even unknowningly) took from Scripture.

Of course she knew where it came from. I'm not looking for Harry's hope to be in Jesus. Neither was Lucy's, or Peter's, or Susan's, and yet we're satisfied that Lewis' work is Christian.

I think the book also suffers from a lack of ecclessiastical presence, with no cleric in attendance either at Dumbledore's funeral (in the last book) or at the

marriage

in this book.

Yes, that is curious. I'm inclined not to be too worried about it, though. Does Lewis ever mention the church or Jesus in the CoN? Why is this a detriment here?

there's some gobbligook about "everyone creating their own heaven."

Yeah, I missed that, too. I'll watch for it when I re-read.

...almost amounts to anti-theism. It would be like writing a book about Christianity without mentioning or even alluding to Jesus.

Yeah, like Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. Is it bad to write a story that illustrates, allegorizes, enlarges, challenges, or generally inspires our understanding of Christianity without explicitly involving Christianity in the story? Why?

Mrs. Weasley's vulgarity at the end was trite.

I don't think "trite" captures it; I don't recall that word ever being used in the series until then, and certainly not by her. Is it over-used in general? Does it make you think of Aliens? Yes. So in that sense, trite may not be an unfair accusation. But did I like it? You bet. As others have pointed out, the

victory is won by a very large community of people, and I saw that moment as the inclusion of the mollycoddling mother-type into battle with the anti-mother character. Furthermore, the book had built up (just a bit) how Ginny was an only daughter, and that's what Molly expresses as her concern. This was really a fight involving three women, and about women,

so the particular vulgarity in question was apropos. Plus, it signals that we're seeing a drastically different side of Molly. The

kick-ass dark-magic combatant

side was hidden from us until then.

The continual use of "snogging" seems, in my mind, a low-brow pitch to teenage consumers rather than the thoughtful use of words by an author.

Perhaps. OTOH, that's definitely not a rarely-discussed topic among 17-year-olds. Was the lack of it in the first books a pitch to pre-teen consumers?

If forced to make a guess about the author's inclusion of obtusely spiritual content, I'd speculate that she is a Christian, and sought to ground some elements in Christian archetypes or Bible passages, but that it was done clumsily and timidly.

Clumsy is up for grabs; I didn't find it so, but I could perhaps be convinced. But timid? I took her to be aiming for more subtlety than Lewis, but I wouldn't have chosen the label "timid". I also doubt that she simply wished to "ground some elements" in Christian archetypes or Bible passages. I think she set out to write an allegory with more subtlety (and yes, vagueness) than Lewis' CoN.

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spoilers...

BUT what I wonder is: What is Harry DOING now? Is he an Auror? What happened to Azkaban? How was Hogwarts rebuilt? etc.

That's what surprised me, yeah. If she was going to bother with a

19-years-later epilogue

, why only tell us the obvious?

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N.K. Carter wrote (citing Alan W):

I don't remember the "everybody creates their own heaven" gobbligook, though. Where was that?

I think maybe Alan is grumpy about this passage:

"I feel great at the moment, though," said Harry, looking down at his clearn, unblemished hands. "Where are we, exactly?

"Well, I was going to ask you that," said Dumbledore, looking around. "Where would you say that we are?"

..."It looks," [Harry] said slowly, "like King's Cross station..."

"King's Cross station!" Dumbledore was chuckling immoderately. "Good gracious, really?"

"Well, where do you think we are?" asked Harry, a little defensively.

"My dear boy, I have no idea. This is, as they say, your party."

(p.712)

and perhaps also:

"Tell me one last thing," said Harry. "Is this real? Or has this been happening in my head?"

Dumbledore beamed at him..."Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

(p.723)

IMO, the context in which these passages take place is quite similar to that in Lewis's The Great Divorce, which I certainly don't think is "gobbledygook." Also, it's not heaven, because

Harry isn't dead yet, and It's

King's Cross station--get it? The allusion couldn't be much more obvious.

Edited by BethR

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"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

That was actually one of my favorite lines in the whole book.

Potter ostensibly takes place in the "real" world where there are churches, priests, and Bibles. If Muggles have Jesus, who do the wizards have? If Muggles have the Church, what do wizards have? They would have to have Jesus and the Church, but Jesus must be a Muggle, it seems!

I agree that would have been an interesting subject to tackle, and I do wish Rowling had shed a little light on it; given how rich her world is in interesting wizarding takes on real world tropes and given the existence of Christmas and churches (and wizards that put scripture on their tombstones!), it's a glaring absence. But it's the kind of thing that would have to be done well if attempted at all; she'd need a heirarchy of the magically supernatural (which works according to fairly natural laws) and the truly supernatural, since her world is neither mythic nor realistic. (The most obvious explanation would be that Jesus was an especially powerful wizard who learned how to raise the dead, but that would be deeply troubling.) I can understand where she'd want Lewis's freedom from pedantry, even though you're right: their worlds are too different to allow similar principles.

So she only allows religion in obliquely. I might desire otherwise, but there's a lot of things about Harry Potter I might desire to be otherwise.

Edited by N.K. Carter

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Just finished this (I'm a slow reader, I realize). You can put me in the "loved it" camp.

I felt sorta good because most of the predictions I had were accurate, even some of the smaller ones like "Who is the bartender for the Hog's Head?" I thought the book worked overall, and while I also realize that Rowling could use an editor, loved every second of it. I was moved to tears a few times, even--especially with Snape's flashback.

Edited by Jason Panella

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BUT what I wonder is: What is Harry DOING now? Is he an Auror? What happened to Azkaban? How was Hogwarts rebuilt? etc.

These are good questions, but maybe Rowling was trying to show

that she felt Harry (and the rest of the gang)--no matter what their jobs were--were most importantly parents, friends, role models.

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Thomas Hibbs of NRO gives an insightful review.

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:spoilers:

I agree that the name of the child was very touching, and how Harry described it FINALLY gave some props to Snape. (And I *knew* he had to, on some level, be a good guy! I knew it!)

BUT what I wonder is: What is Harry DOING now? Is he an Auror? What happened to Azkaban? How was Hogwarts rebuilt? etc.

From http://nz.entertainment.yahoo.com/070726/6/10x6.html:

[Rowling] gave a glimpse into the lives of the main characters in the future.

She said: "Harry and Ron utterly revolutionize the aura department.

"And I think Hermione is now pretty high up in the department of magical law enforcement."

Asked who the headmaster would be at Hogwarts 19 years later, she said: "It would be someone new. McGonagle was really getting on a bit.

"If I ever do the encyclopedia I have been promising, I will give details."

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Just finished this and I loved it too. Possibly my favorite in the series. A rollicking good adventure tale, with some terrific individual scenes like

the escape from Gringotts, and the offering of himself by Harry, and Mrs. Weasley's showdown with Bellatrix. The cuss word may have been unnecessary, but man, I have to admit that was satisfying!

The ending was more upbeat than I was expecting. I was expecting more main characters to die, but it's a relief to know that Hagrid, Neville, and Luna made it out OK. I guess JK's a softie at heart. It was sad about Dobby, that was the most touching scene in the book.

I thought the epilogue worked well the way it did, short and sweet. A good writer should leave the reader wanting more, and I liked the fact that Rowling didn't try to tell us what happened to everyone, but gave us some touching details and left the rest for us to figure out ourselves.

Edited by Crow

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To quote what I wrote elsewhere when I was half-way through the book:

The Bible verses on the tombstones. *Very* interesting.

Indeed, I can't recall a church ever playing anywhere remotely as big a role -- even as part of the set design -- in the Harry Potter books. People have talked before about how the kids at Hogwarts celebrate Christmas, but a very secularized version of Christmas. Yet here, wow, we actually get a reference to people singing carols in a church.

Like I say, *very* interesting.

And the choice of tombstone quotes! The notion that death, itself, will be defeated! And the fascinating paradox whereby Harry is reminded of how Voldemort and the Death Eaters want to defeat death, and Hermione says that the verse on the tombstone refers to something *different* ...

Like I say, *very* interesting.

And of course, much earlier than all this, there is a two-page section in which Harry says "Thank God" regarding some good news (has anyone ever mentioned God before in these books? I can't remember) and then the wounded Weasley twin says he feels like a "saint" because he has become very "holey" -- a bad joke, but still, a telling reference.

I have no idea, of course, what Rowling will do with these themes in the next 300 pages. But I am very, very curious to find out.

And how different her treatment of these themes seems to be, compared to that of Philip Pullman, whose His Dark Materials trilogy (beginning with The Golden Compass, the movie version of which comes out in a few months) is all about the *dissolution* of the soul after death.

And to quote what I wrote elsewhere tonight, in response to other people, after finishing the rest of the book:

> After reading it did anyone else think the ending was

a big Christ allegory? I did.

John Granger would argue that Harry Potter has been a Christ figure in *all* of the books. But yeah, the death-and-resurrection motif is arguably more explicit -- more literal -- here than it has ever been.

> Harry Potter the new Aslan.....?

Or Frodo (he

wears the locket on a necklace, and it begins to possess him and/or his friends who also wear it?

), or Neo (he

has a near-death experience in a train station

), and so on, and so on.
:)

I was also struck by the striking parallels to Aliens (when

Mrs Weasley tells that "bitch" to get away from her daughter

) and, um, at least one other movie, though I forget which one or why I thought of it.

> Big time! I figured

Harry was going to be a Christ figure, dying in sacrifice, but had no inkling Rowling was going to carry it so far!

What startled *me* -- as I think I mentioned in another e-mail -- were the quotes taken from *scripture* on the Dumbledore and Potter tombstones.

"Treasure" is a recurring theme in this book, isn't it? The British (and Canadian) book cover features Harry, Ron, Hermione and the Goblin practically swimming in treasure as they break into / out of Gringotts. And a recurring quote -- the Ravenclaw motto, IIRC -- says that "wit" is the greatest treasure. And then there are all those people looking for the Horcruxes and/or Hallows. And of course there is the Bible verse about treasure on the Dumbledore tombstone -- a verse which, in its original context, has to do with storing up treasure in Heaven rather than storing up treasure on Earth, which in turn ties directly into this book's exploration of the afterlife (cf.

the "cloud of witnesses" that empower Harry to go to his martyrdom

, or the scene where Hermione and Ron exchange a few words about whether Ron should be "comforted" by the fact that his soul would not be harmed if someone were to run a sword through him).

>

Having to die because he had a foreign piece of Voldemort attached to him, having to let Voldemort himself kill him. "Trampling down death by death" as the Orthodox say. And then that "King's Cross" chapter. Give me a break! Anyone think the name of the chapter means something? (Other than referring to the train station, natch.) And then coming back to life in victory.

Yeah. All very interesting.

> I'm curious if

Harry really did die, though

. The chapter left it a bit ambiguous, yes?

Sort of. I don't think

he *did*, exactly. J.K. Rowling has been pretty consistent about keeping the dead characters dead -- the importance of passing through death rather than shrinking back from it is thematically essential to her books, after all. But Harry probably gets as close to death as you can without actually *dying*, there.

I love that final exchange between

Harry and Dumbledore

, though. It reminds me of a line from a Mike Scott / Waterboys song ('The Wind in the Wires') that I have in my "Favorite Quotes" at my Facebook account: "And if it's all in our minds -- well, where else would it be?"

[ snip ]

Another remarkable motif in this book is the way characters who dislike Harry come to... like, or at least appreciate, Harry. It all begins in the early chapters, when Dudley shocks Harry by saying, "*I* don't think you're a waste of space." And then

there is Kreacher

, etc.

> > There were just lots of great moments in the book.

>

> I had many things that disturbed me but overall i think she closed the story well.

Personally, I could have done without

Harry *and* Professor McGonagall using Unforgivable Curses during the Battle of Hogwarts

.

>

Now....why 19 years

?

I can't answer this question, but I *do* find it interesting that the bulk of the book takes place during the 1997-1998 school year -- which is almost a decade in the past, but which also means that

the epilogue must take place in 2017, which is an entire decade into our future

!
Alan Thomas wrote:

: I think the book also suffers from a lack of ecclessiastical presence . . .

To a point, sure, just as Hogwarts suffers from a lack of anything resembling an arts class. But given that churches and their various accoutrements really do exist in Harry Potter's world -- even if they are off to the side a bit -- do we really want the wizards to create their own PARALLEL religion?

: . . . and there's some gobbligook about "everyone creating their own heaven."

I don't remember this at all.

: You can't compare Potter with Narnia for the above cases.

: Potter ostensibly takes place in the "real" world where there are churches, priests, and Bibles.

And so do the Chronicles of Narnia. We can ask why we never hear about the Potters attending church, and we can ask why we never hear about the Pevensies attending church when they are in our world, but I don't think we can ask one question without asking the other.

: They would have to have Jesus and the Church, but Jesus must be a Muggle, it seems!

Not according to the ancient sources! :)

: For example, it's pretty scandalous to think that,

having died, it's up to Harry (not God) as to whether he lives or dies. It's a self-made resurrection

.

Um, assuming that

Harry actually DID die

. Hasn't Rowling herself said that no one comes back from the dead in her books, but THIS book shows just how close you can get to death without dying, or something like that? (Wish I had the exact quote handy.) Any

resurrections

in this story are allegorical, more than literal, I think.

Oh, one extra thought: I like how Rowling describes

"the cloud of witnesses" (my term, not hers) being MORE real than the people who had not yet died. This fits VERY well with C.S. Lewis's notion of "shadowlands" and the new Earth and Narnia being more real than the old Earth and Narnia. True, it would be nice if there were a more explicit resurrection, rather than the suggestion that people go straight from dying to their heavenly (or hellish) rewards. But, as with so many other complaints that get tossed at the Harry Potter books, you could always make the same complaint about the Narnia books

.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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One huge, huge bit that remains unresolved at the end:

Is the death of Voldemort really all it takes to save the wizarding world? What about all those people tracked down and carted off to Azkaban, or whatever, for being less than "pure-blood"? Dolores Umbridge, for example, is not a Death Eater, but simply a regular witch who is all too happy to do dark and evil things once the Death Eaters create an environment for doing dark and evil things. Will people like her be punished, or at least stopped? And if so, how? How do you reform an entire governmental bureaucracy, after the figure who was manipulating things from BEHIND the scenes is no more? The Allied powers, for example, were able to impose reform on Germany after they crushed the Nazi regime, but what force is there in the wizarding world that could impose such a thing on, say, the Ministry of Magic

?

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I've been too busy (same things that keep me consistently away :( )to get back here and respond, but, FWIW, I'm much more cautious in my enthusiasm than I was immediately after finishing the last book. I still think it's a carefully crafted and very fun story, and I'm sure we'll read them to our children (someday, when we have them), but I no longer think the series is

an out-and-out Christian resurrection allegory on the level of Narnia

. Still, a "rollicking good tale", as they say.

I'm frustrated in part that, having pulled back the curtain completely on the Big Issues, Rowling shows us nothing more than pretty lights.

That seems a bit harsh; I think there's more than just pretty lights (this is a very carefully crafted story, even if you don't like all the inclusions and exclusions), but even if there weren't something more, pretty lights are, after all, pretty, and that's worth something.

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I'm intrigued by the parallel between the three brothers in the tale of the Deathly Hallows and the three most significant wizards of the series: Voldemort, Dumbledore and Harry. Anybody else reflected on this? I haven't seen anything elsewhere (apart from what I wrote) but I haven't spend much time on HP sites and I'd be surprised if there isn't a lot of discussion of this somewhere.

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Tony Watkins wrote:

: I'm intrigued by the parallel between the three brothers in the tale of the Deathly Hallows and the three most significant wizards of the series: Voldemort, Dumbledore and Harry. Anybody else reflected on this?

Alan Jacobs' article is headlined "The Youngest Brother's Tale", and draws an explicit link between the youngest brother and Harry, and between the oldest brother and Voldemort. He alludes to a counterpart for the middle brother, but on a quick re-skim of the article, I don't think he spells out who that counterpart is.

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Tony Watkins wrote:

: I'm intrigued by the parallel between the three brothers in the tale of the Deathly Hallows and the three most significant wizards of the series: Voldemort, Dumbledore and Harry. Anybody else reflected on this?

Alan Jacobs' article is headlined "The Youngest Brother's Tale", and draws an explicit link between the youngest brother and Harry, and between the oldest brother and Voldemort. He alludes to a counterpart for the middle brother, but on a quick re-skim of the article, I don't think he spells out who that counterpart is.

Thanks for this Peter. I'll take a look when I have a minute. It seems to me that there's a sense in which the deathly hallows are a bit of red herring at first sight. The cloak we're used to already - they're not that central to the story. Unless they have significance beyond simply that of plot. The connection between the third brother and Harry is obvious, as is the connection between Voldemort and the first. But Dumbledore isn't obviously connected to the second - except by his desire to use the resurrection stone. And Harry's painful journey of discovering Dumbledore's past shows us that he had a strong streak of arrogance.

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Surely not libelous.

No, not really. I was feeling cross on behalf of sufferers of autism and their families that somebody like McCrum can make such appallingly crass statements.

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I've now read it.

Like some others, I found the epilogue to be a bit unsatisfactory. Perhaps because we really don't know how the typical wizard or witch lives, do we. We know about professors and ministry personnel, but not your run of the mill wizard.

I find it a bit interesting that I want to know what became of people. Compare that with my favorite gospel being Mark, which ends so abruptly you think they left a page out. So for me that epilogue is sort of like one of the tacked on endings to Mark.

And of course Harry has been a Christ figure throughout the series -- but not a Christ allegory.

The encyclopedia mentioned above is an interesting concept. A chance to create backstory and what happened then for various characters.

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Well blow me down. I had no idea, and confess to suspecting the worst about Rowling all along.

Forget whether the mainstream press picks up on it. This has to be the literary story of the year in Christian circles. Will this news reach the ears of everyone who's decided that Rowling is opposed to Christianity?

I'll do my part to see that it does. Considering my own suspicions over these many years, it's the least I can do.

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Christian wrote:

: Well blow me down. I had no idea, and confess to suspecting the worst about Rowling all along.

Really? She doesn't say all THAT much more here than she has said before, though she does confirm the suspicions that people have had for several years now. (It was in a much-quoted interview with a Vancouver reporter back in 2000 that I first heard her say that she was happy not to talk about her religious beliefs for now, because it might give away where she was going with the books. Personally, I'd like to hear her talk about them in some MORE detail. But I guess a press conference, with many reporters of various and divergent agendas, isn't the place for that.)

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