Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Biblical Resurrection of Harry Potter in The Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter  film time again and the first part of the final book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Next year, in the final part  JK Rowling's subjects her hero Harry Potter to the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. It takes shear courage to do that!

I must admit I enjoyed early Potter. The books and films were such fun. Hogwarts was the sort of school I should have loved to attend. True the school I went to was housed in the most beautiful old fantasy mansionCaldcote Towers in Bushey but there the comparison ended. However I did get an absolutely first class religious education so I can recognize an ironic, biblical parody  when I see one. What I find surprising is that so few readers have done so. It is so obvious even I can see it.

Harry Potter has a powerful effect on its readers. JK Rowling is extremely skilled and I realized as I read  the novels  that Rowling based some of her plot lines on famous authors work for example  the torture incident where Harry is subjected to have 'I am a liar' slowly etched into his hand by a soft feather is pure Kafka. In  Kafka's The Penal Colony he describes the last use of an elaborate torture and execution device that carves the sentence of the condemned prisoner on his skin in a script before letting him die. all in the course of twelve hours.

On first reading I found the final chapters of the Deathly Hallows confusing. Harry sacrfices himself dies and ends up in a waiting room at Kings Cross Station before coming back to life again. Kings Cross Station was a bit of a puzzle at first and then bingo  Purgatory. A quick peruse again over the last chapters and it was as clear as crystal.

 The Passion and Resurrection of Christ.  Rowling does little to disguise her plot using words like 'Resurrection Stone' and 'crucio' and in fact when you think about it the Bible is perhaps the most powerful book in the world. God knew a good story line that would sell and it still does and so does JK  Rowling.

So for all Potter lovers here is how it works. Dumbledore is God the Father who sets up his sort of son Harry/Jesus to be sacrificed to save mankind. Harry/Jesus allows himself to be killed by Voldemort, then like the dead Christ descends into to Purgatory/Limbo/hell disguised as the Waiting Room at Kings Cross Station where the damned cannot be helped hence the creature in the background writhing on the floor. Harry meets with the dead Dumbledore and allows himself to be resurrected to save the world and enter into paradise. In the last confrontation between Harry/Jesus , Vodlemort/Satan can only be saved if he shows 'remorse' and seeks redemption. Voldemort like all fallen angels choses death and damnation. Harry Potter goes on to lead a normal life and is nothing special just an ordinary wizard. Perhaps a way of indicating that Jesus was just an ordinary human being nothing special.

These last  chapters have biblical references on every page. Rowling must have known exactly what she was writing. I wonder how long she thought it would take to be discovered?  It takes a lot of spunk to plagiarize the bible but hey Shakespeare did it all the time with his contemporaries nothing was safe and the Bible is well out of copyright.

I admire her courage and I enjoy her literary braiding and use of literary references in her work.

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