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  • C. J. Korryn

Preaching With Potter, A Comparison With Lord Of The Rings.



Well, if you haven't figured it out yet, my soapbox is the double standards we Christians tend to have in literature, so here is the promised blog about Harry Potter. Today I will be discussing the similarities in themes between the two....you could say...."opposite" ends of the spectrum in the religious world. I don't really know how else to explain it, other than that.

First, let me say I love both movie sets.....haven't read the books, so can't tell you about them. I have mentioned time and time again that you can preach Jesus from the Harry Potter movies, just like you can preach Jesus from LOTRs. I would dare to say some of the Christian themes are more prevalent in Harry Potter.

The theme good versus evil is obvious in both. We have the great evil dark lord with his desire to rule the whole of Middle Earth; then you have the dark lord with his desire to rule the world of...well...wherever Hogwarts and all is.

Now let's not forget the theme of sin corrupting the pure. Though we never really see Tom Riddle as not "evil" except for maybe a few short clips, we can assume he wasn't "born evil" and he discovered some aspect of magic at Hogwarts (which I believe is eluded to in the movies) that corrupted him. We also have the rings that the dark lord forged - any who wear them eventually succumb to the dark ways and turn evil. This theme can be easily seen in both movies, as there are characters who struggle and do turn evil to some extent. I think of Malfoy in Harry Potter and the infamous Smeagle in LOTR. Sure, Malfoy was always a jerk....but he never completely becomes evil as evident in the last movies where he seems to be more fearful than desiring for Potter's death - well that's my interpretation, anyway.

A theme that I really love in both movies sets is ordinary (ordinary as far as wizards go with Potter) people who are thrown into this battle against a great evil - an evil greater than themselves to which they should not have been able to win - yet they do, through perseverance, through determination, and even through desperation. Both parties know they must win or die trying, as the fate of everything they care about will be affected by their success. It seems to reflect the real-life spiritual warfare that happens every day for the believer - the weapon reality has against evil, of course, is the armor of God and God, Himself, fighting for us.

A theme that we might not realize at first, but if we think about it, is the theme that speaks to the biblical idea that it is not the end destination that matters, but the journey on how we get there. Both movies grow the characters as they face these challenges and each challenge prepares them for the next challenge - to an extent - until they face the final challenge. Just like us, we real-life people, must remember it isn't the end that is the focus, but the journey to get to the end.

I will end the themes, though I could probably go on with another half dozen themes we can find in both, is the theme of Christ. I know, how sacrilegious to claim that Potter can portray Christ! Well, I must be honest...I personally believe that Potter's theme of Christ is more apparent than LOTRs. In LOTRs it seems that Gandalf is a picture of Christ because he dies to save the others...I would argue, however, that he dies fighting, and saving the others was just a byproduct of his battle. He did not choose to fall to his death. He then is known as the white wizard after that, symbolizing the resurrection of Christ. Here is the thing, though, I think Potter represents a "better", if you will, depiction of Christ because during his battle he realizes that he must die to save his friends and so makes the choice to sacrifice himself because the only way to defeat Voldemort (Satan) is to "kill" the last hall crux, which happens to be Potter himself (it seems imbued accidently as a child and his parents/Voldemort's deaths). Sound familiar...to a degree...the garden of Eden...power given to the evil one.....maybe not, but I digress. Voldemort thinks he has won and throws the body to Potter's friends who all now think it is all over and they lost (reminds me of the disciples at Jesus's crucifixion) and suddenly Potter wakes up and destroys Voldemort (kinda like Jesus resurrecting and taking death's power away).

Well. That is it for my heretical post. Hope it was an interesting read for you, and you will check out my next post.

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