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October 18, 2007

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Malcolm Campbell

The archetypes behind the stories are timeless. As readers, we recognize them intuitively long before such symbolism as you point out becomes obvious.

Malcolm

Kelly

There are entire treatises written on the Christian elements in Tolkien's work. I think I have a book on it. But anyway, how could Rowling have gotten around it? All the great works in the fantasy genre have been heavily laden with Biblical allegory.

Sue Ann Edwards

I haven't been reading the Harry Potter books but my kids have. I Trust in your expertise on the subject. In light of what has recently been reported, that Dumbledoor is gay, who does this correlate with in our Christian myths? Just curious....

Now, the Lord of the Rings trilogy I am familiar with. I fastforward through all the Frodo parts, because his whining bores me. What I've always wondered, is why the Eagles didn't just fly Frodo to the volcano from Rivendale in the first place.

Ahhhh but then, the story wouldn't have been much of a drama, would it?

James

This is my first visit to this site; might not be my last. I was looking for links and connections concerning Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, and you know, an agenda. There is certainly an agenda and I am not surprised that the OBE (Order of the British Empire) author outed Albus Dumbledore as homosexual. I am not the only person who sees this as a very well orchestrated plan to erase the line between male and female as well as just plain confuse the c**p out of people. These books are sick and your kids (baby goats!) are adapting them to their subconsciousness.
;E

Secret Simon

Thanks for all your comments.

Malcolm – This kind of begs the question as to whether the symbolism which Rowling has used in The Deathly Hallows is really desirable. Are the best books those which focus on communicating their underlying ideas at a deeper, less explicit level?

Kelly – Welcome to my blog! You say that all great fantasy novels are heavily laden with Christian allegory, but I’m not so sure about Titus Groan and Gormenghast, for instance. I suppose that any book about a struggle between good and evil can be taken as a Christian allegory, especially if you happen to be Christian yourself. I, on the other hand, saw Frodo’s troublesome ring as representing the human ego because that is an issue at the centre of my own spiritual ‘beliefs’. Perhaps the great books simply provide a mirror in which can glimpse our own perspective on Truth.

Sue Ann – Of course you are bored by Frodo’s whining! He’s a human struggling with his ego - whining is what we do. Don’t you remember?

Dumbledore being outed as gay is something which happened after I wrote this post, so I’m not really sure how it impacts on the Christian ‘thesis’. It seems to me, however, that Rowling is playing rather fast and loose with Christians, first revealing that Harry Potter is all a Christian story and then coming out with this new revelation in flagrant breach of the teachings of St Paul: it’s kind of like inviting them into the parlour for a friendly chat and then hitting them over the head with large stick. Fortunately those many Christians who understand that homosexuals have a right to be as God created them will not have a problem.

Hi James – Thanks for visiting but I think I’m missing something here. Why are the books ‘sick’ exactly and why is it confusing for Dumbledore to be gay? There are homosexuals in real life so why not have them in books? It seems to me it would be more confusing to leave them out.

Grace

How funny :) I came to tell you I had tagged you for a Meme...then focused in on this piece again. I may be one of the few left who have never read one word of a Harry Potter book - not have I ever had a desire to! lol Not sure why...and I fell asleep watching the Lord of the Rings (not sure which one...think it was the first).

Anyway, consider yourself Tagged :)

Kelly

It's not just the Frodo and the Ring part that's Christian allegory in LOTR. You'd notice it a lot more if you would also read The Silmarillion, which is kind of a LOTR Bible. I also recommend The Children of Hurin, which actually came out in April of this year. Children is about a Job-like figure. Silmarillion goes a lot into the mythology of LOTR, including the origins of the devil figure, Morgoth (Sauron is just his servant), and it reveals a lot more about the Christ-like nature of Gandalf and his mission. If you really want to get into it, I think you could hardly go a chapter in LOTR without finding some evidence of Biblical allegory.

Marion

I haven't read the last book, Simon, but I've noticed the spiritual aspects to these books from the beginning.

I've read a lot about the last book, however, and I think it's time I caught up with my reading!

Thanks for the post, Simon, as usual I go away thinking deeply...

Liara Covert

We hear so many interpretations of books after they have been published. An author's conscious and unconscious intents are varied. I agree many archetypes are timeless. We also discern and build on traits we choose to see projected from inside ourselves. On some level, people just love to talk!

One of the recent Harry Potter debates that has unfoldeed concerns the possible homosexuality of Albus Dumbledore. Some readers find this idea inconceivable. Others claim how reading between the lines uncovers more than hints or subtle nuances of this. A greater number of people concur that this sexual orientation seems more likely for the character of Snape. In the end, you, as an individual will decide what matters. You will find connections to what values and beliefs you have or would like to change in yourself. As with children's books, multiple facets mean multiple layers of symbolism and significance can be found.

More generally, I sense Harry Potter books trigger a widespread awakening of our human consciousness. People are realizing they have innate abilities which they assumed had to be supernatural or miraculous before. For example, I believe psychic ability, ESP and skills like divination, are achieveable for many people than actually realize it. You decide what will be possible for you. You create limits for yoruself and you cna also dissolve them. I invite readers to visit my blog and especially posts under the thread called "Consciousness."

Secret Simon

Grace – It seems to me that you either do fantasy (and science fiction) or you don’t! It seems to be in the genes.

Kelly – I bought The Silmarillion when it first came out but never felt any inclination to actually read it – so I eventually took it to the charity shop! I think you’re only going to get into that stuff if you’re really, really impressed with The Lord Of The Rings, which I wasn’t. I’m just interested in why Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter have been so mega, mega successful. You may well be right about all the Christian symbolism in LOTR but I think its appeal is broader than that. After all, it was *LOTR* that was voted most popular book of the 20th century, not the more explicit Christian metaphor of Narnia.

Marion – I hope you enjoy the book – I just hope I haven’t spoiled it for you!

Liara – As I understand it, it’s not the *possible* homosexuality of Dumbledore. It’s definite. J K Rowling is Creator in the Harry Potter universe so she should know. As for Snape, we learn in the final volume that he is definitely heterosexual…

You make a good point regarding the potential for miraculous abilities which may be glimpsed in Harry Potter. I’m not convinced about the books *triggering* an awakening of human consciousness but it’s possible that they may reflect it. You mention divination though, and that is treated rather sceptically in the books.

Many thanks for all your contributions!

Sue Ann Edwards

{{Simon}} I wasn't even that whiny as a child of 4. Too stubborn, willful & pigheaded for any of that.

Liara Covert

Hi Simon.
I agree with you authors have conscious and unconscious intentions when they write. At the same time, that doesn't necessarily shape all the visions that go on in the minds and imaginations of their readers. We all choose to intuit and detect what we desire to see. Acceptance or denial of what authors intend to write often relates to a reader's values and preferences.

Granted, divination is treated with some scepticism in Harry Potter books. However, not all characters concur on that issue. We each choose to have faith or not based on our own reasons. As with anything in this life, you can only advance in areas where you believe in yourself. At the same time, you may also choose to dissolve self-created doubt and imagined limitations.

The Harry Potter books may indeed reflect a supernatural awakening that is ongoing underneath many people's noses. Just like Muggles or magical beings only see what they train themselves to see, people who aren't ready for any kind of awakening will remain at least partly in the dark.

jen_chan, writer SureFireWealth.com

Hi there! I am also a big fan of the Harry Potter series. We can learn a lot about ourselves and about other people through the books. While I never really picked on the Christian parallels as detailed as you did, I also didn't appreciate how some people kept trying to associate Harry Potter with evil. It's such a medieval concept. Anyway, I actually found the Harry, Hermione and Ron forest scenes pretty important. :)

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