Saturday, November 24, 2007

After Harry Potter

As happy as I was with the conclusion of the final Harry Potter book, I’m in mourning over reaching the end of this series. I have read all 4,195 pages in the past couple of months. These books have been like a magnet attracting me every time I had a few spare minutes.

After watching this boy grow up and living with him at Hogwarts, at the Dursleys, at the Burrow, and as he is on the run in the countryside, I feel like I’m almost a distant cousin. But I am definitely still a Muggle – no signs of wizardry here.

I couldn’t help but doing a “compare and contrast” with Jesus Christ after the last page was finished. This may sound ridiculous and sacrilegious, but there are some interesting parallels:

– Both had fathers of legendary repute. JC’s father was supposedly God himself. HP’s father was James Potter, one of the finest wizards of all time, who was killed in his prime by Voldemort.
– When they were but infants, both were attacked by wicked men. King Herod sent out a decree to kill all boy babies under the age of 2, hoping to eliminate JC. Lord Voldemort attempted to kill HP, leaving a lightning scar on this forehead.
– JC and HP were seldom outwardly angry, but if they were it was usually over an injustice done to someone. JC was furious about the moneylenders in the Temple. HP was quite angry at Dolores Umbridge and others who tried to have him expelled from Hogwarts for doing magic in self-defense when he was “underage”.
– Both could work magic. JC turned 5 loaves and 2 fishes into enough food to feed a multitude. HP’s whole existence revolved about magic.
– Both are constantly taking pity on others and giving them assistance. JC healed the sick, fed the hungry, and even brought back Lazarus from the dead. HP saved his cousin Dudley from the Dementors and saved Draco and Goyle even as they tried to kill him.
– Both have a philosophy that stresses fairness. JC preached the Beatitudes and stated the Golden Rule. HP supported equality for Muggles, house-elves, giants, and goblins.
– Both accepted their own death so that others might live. JC died on a Roman cross. HP died from the ultimate killing curse.
– Both came back from death. JC came back from the grave for 50 days before finally going up to heaven. HP realized only the part of Voldemort that was within him was dead, so he was allowed to come back from death to be a regular guy.
– Both had a followers who were willing to lay their own lives on the line to save their “master.” JC had his 12 disciples. HP had the members of the Order of the Phoenix and his fellow Gryffindors, who repeatedly went to battle for him.
– The story of both appeals to audiences around the world today. Missionaries have spread the teachings of JC to the far corners of the world. The HP books have been translated into multiple languages and appeal to people of all ages.

And for the differences:
– There was no virgin birth in the case of HP.
– HP never claimed to be able to absolve people’s guilt when they sinned.
– HP married and had children. Although there is a suggestion that Mary Magdalene was the wife of JC, he appears celibate in the Christian Bible.
– JC spawned a religion. HP is just a fictitious story about a boy who helps save the world from evil. It’s questionable as to which one has greater appeal.

I'm at a loss for what to read next. Any suggestions?


Blogger media concepts said...

Interesting. Didn't I read some time ago that religious groups had attacked the Harry Potter books as being anti-religion? Maybe they should have waited for your analysis before passing judgment.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Though neither Catholic anymore, nor Christian, I am enjoying Kathleen Norris's Cloister Walk.

Have you read A Little Love Story by Roland Merullo or The Rug Merchant by Meg Mullins?

5:20 PM  
Blogger Ruth D~ said...

I think anything you try to read now will pale in comparison. Get some magazines and fill your time until you're ready for another good book.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Matt -- Yeah, I do remember the Church being upset with the cult-like HP following who didn't need religion at all. Secretly everyone wants to believe in something. For many, HP is much more believable than the Christian story.

Pauline -- I will put those suggestions on my reading list.

RuthD -- About the only magazine I read is The New Yorker. Even so, I seldom seem to finish one issue before the next arrives.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Ulysses said...

I just started Trickster Makes This World, and it's fascinating.

1:35 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Ulysses -- Thanks for the tip. I read that book your recommended about the girl and the lighthouse and loved it, so I will definitely put this one on my reading list.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

I think it's high time to back slowly away from Harry Potter. Comparing him to Jesus Christ? Oh my goodness. You've had enough Harry Potter for the time being, m'dear.

I love being a muggle. The world we live in, the "real" world, is full of magic, miracles and surprises. Who needs wands and cloaks and flying brooms. I prefer my broom as an inanimate object, thank you very much!

I would suggest books but you know how different our tastes are when it comes to reading!

8:44 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya -- Yeah, probably. But if I had been about 45 years younger, I probably would have been buying all that HP memorabilia. I needed a cult! For now, I'll move on to more adult books as the Hogwarts Express chugs off in the opposite direction. No wands or broomsticks...

8:51 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

This is a very interesting comparison and I'd never thought of it as religious alleghory (sp?)but it can be in the ways you've mentioned.
I'm not a reader so I have no suggestions!

9:27 AM  

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