Who Dies In Harry Potter?

Some borrowed thoughts on Harry Potter.
Some borrowed quotes from the Great Dane.
Some questions of my own for you to ponder.

First, Harry Potter:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — the final installment of the famed series by J.K. Rowling goes on sale at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and the world will finally know the fate of the boy wizard. I read a column in Time Magazinethis week that I thought was brilliant, insightful and important. I would like to share it with you.

Who Dies in Harry Potter? God
By Lev Grossman

Joanne Rowling has three fancy houses and more money than the Queen, but she still doesn’t have a middle name: the K. is just an empty invention, added for effect when she published her first book. Starting with that first letter, she has orchestrated a sustained dramatic crescendo unlike anything literature has ever seen. By selling 325 million books in 66 languages, she has almost single-handedly made the case that the novel can still be a global mass medium. With the fifth Harry Potter movie opening on July 11 and the seventh and last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, coming at midnight on July 21, the crescendo has reached a grand climax.

Rowling’s work is so familiar that we’ve forgotten how radical it really is. Look at her literary forebears. In The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien fused his ardent Catholicism with a deep, nostalgic love for the unspoiled English landscape. C.S. Lewis was a devout Anglican whose Chronicles of Narnia forms an extended argument for Christian faith. Now look at Rowling’s books. What’s missing? If you want to know who dies in Harry Potter, the answer is easy: God.

Harry Potter lives in a world free of any religion or spirituality of any kind. He lives surrounded by ghosts but has no one to pray to, even if he were so inclined, which he isn’t. Rowling has more in common with celebrity atheists like Christopher Hitchens than she has with Tolkien and Lewis.

What does Harry have instead of God? Rowling’s answer, at once glib and profound, is that Harry’s power comes from love. This charming notion represents a cultural sea change. In the new millennium, magic comes not from God or nature or anything grander or more mystical than a mere human emotion. In choosing Rowling as the reigning dreamer of our era, we have chosen a writer who dreams of a secular, bureaucratized, all-too-human sorcery, in which psychology and technology have superseded the sacred.

When the end comes, where will it leave Harry? He’ll face tougher choices than his fantasy ancestors did. Frodo was last seen skipping town with the elves. Lewis sent the Pevensie kids to the paradise of Aslan’s Land. It’s unlikely that such a comfortable retirement awaits Harry in the Deathly Hallows.

Anyway, I thought that was some penetrating thinking from Lev Grossman.

Here are ten random thoughts from my favorite philosopher, the Great Dane, Soren Kierkegaard:

Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.

Be that self which one truly is.

Boredom is the root of all evil — the despairing refusal to be oneself.

Faith is the highest passion in a human being.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.

Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.

Take away paradox from the thinker and you have a professor.

The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins.

The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen, but, if one will, are to be lived.


Good stuff from the K-man.

Here are ten questions from the Z-man:

What If?

What if the next revival is an unrevival?

What if it’s quiet instead of loud?

What if we let the gospel work from the inside out?

What if we become friends with sinners — because we can totally relate?

What if we communicate the good news as news and not religious rhetoric?

What if we learn to share this good news in a way that’s not “us vs. them”?

What if the only government we really hope for is the government of God?

What if we quit being in such a hurry to get out of here and actually belong?

What if we stop segregating ourselves and share our common humanity?

What if we become known as disciples of Jesus because we love like Him?

What If?

I’d like to find out.

Think about.