Saturday, November 03, 2001

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

PRISONER OF AZKABAN
(2004)
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CHAMBER OF SECRETS
(2002)

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SORCERER'S STONE
(2001)
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Sol O Mann and Links
Interview with JK Rowling


Click to enlargeMy wife and I finally saw the Harry Potter film over the weekend, and for myself I have not felt that elated or happy watching a movie in a long time. We couldn't stop talking about it afterwards. It gave me the same thrill that movies like Star Wars and The Never Ending Story gave me as a child. As a movie lover, it ranked up to being one of my new favorites. As a Christian, it made my faith stronger. As a person who loves kids and is still a kid at heart, I feel better about kids watching this film than I do about violent things like Dragon Ball Z and Power Rangers. Many parallels to the Bible in HP have been noted by others, and though some of these will be repeats of them, here is what I saw in the film...

LIKE MOSES AND JESUS
-Harry is born and is immediately pursued by an evil being with murderous intentions...the same can be said of Jesus and Moses.


Click to enlargeFEAR NOT
-Hermione says, "Who does Voldemort fear? Dumbledore! As long as Dumbledore is around, he can't hurt us."...The Bible says that Satan and his demons "tremble" at the very word, mention, or presence of God! If we are in Christ, we needn't fear; Satan can't hurt us beyond what we can bear.

Click to enlargeABOUT THE MIRROR
-Before seeing the film, I heard others mention that Harry "communicates with the dead" by talking to his parents in a magic mirror. But in the film, they do not "communicate" at all, and there is no intention of contacting a spiritual world for communication. He simply sees an image of them, because the context of the mirror is that it shows you what you most deeply desire, a hint at your true self and what you want; Harry dreams of being reunited with his family. (And what is a movie screen but a reflection of our dreams as well?)

I was concerned when Ron Weasley wondered if the mirror foretold the future, then was relieved when Dumbledore reassured Harry what it really was, and the dangers behind it. What he says about the mirror, that it contains "no knowledge or truth" and that "men have wasted away before it" (by relying or obsessing on it) can be said of deceptive fortune telling devices like palm reading and astrology in real life. He says now that Harry has found the mirror, it will be hidden away in the dungeon. Everything that is dangerous or relates to some actual occult principle is described in the story with a warning.Click to enlarge

THE MEANING OF THE CHESS GAME
-Ron sacrificially lays down his life for his friends in the chess game, and Harry's mother sacrifices her life to save him, giving him a mark against evil as a gesture of love.... I think this parallel is pretty obvious.

Click to enlargeTHE SATAN FIGURE
-I saw Voldemort as a Satan figure, and like Satan, a frustrated rebel with limited power. Some people have argued that HP is not about fighting between absolute good and evil. But one of the most memorable lines in the film for me was when Voldemort tries to tell Harry "there is no absolute good or evil, only power!"...which sums up Satan's mission statement for the pantheistic New Age movement...to which Harry replies "You liar!" Sounds like Jesus' temptation in the desert.


Click to enlargeTHE MEANING OF OUR LITTLE HEROES
-An element that I especially loved was the relationship between the child heroes, and the fact that they often used their brains, their intellect, as their weapons to battle Voldemort: Hermione's "book-smarts", Ron's chess strategies and Harry's grounding in truth. Whereas Satan's New Age spirituality encourages us to empty our minds through Eastern meditation and occultic trances, the Bible tells us to USE OUR MINDS, and "be transformed by the renewing of our minds." God gave us brains for creativity and discernment, and our little heroes demonstrate this for us.this for us.

Click to enlargeABOUT THE OCCULT AND CONTEXT
I will admit that some of the images and ideas in this film may not be suitable for very young children, and that it could potentially make some of them curious about the occult. (I also admit that I still have not read the other three books, so I can only speak for this one at this point.) However, I think one thing that is freaking some of us Christians out over HP is failure to recognize context. Most cults and denominational splits in the church derive from taking one Bible verse out of the context of the whole book. Some of us raise these controversial quarrels by saying, "The Bible says..." without researching or praying for understanding of why it was originally “said” or to whom it was addressed.

Click to enlargeMAKE-BELIEVE STUFF
A similar principle can apply if we get huffed over Harry Potter without bothering to recognize the context or even worse, without bothering to read/see the book/film! Yes, there are some real occult practices and ideas presented in the film, but they are presented within a context of caution or ridicule; if kids pick up on this there is nothing to fear. The rest of the "magic" is stuff that even a 5-year-old could tell you is make-believe. At best, it will spark the idea in a child's mind that there is a spiritual realm beyond what we see, that the "good magic" in the world is in the beauty and miracles given to us by God. It then becomes our job to teach our children discernment regarding evil, and the characters they read about are already helping us. God forbid we should bring our children up in a world where imagination is stifled and the only reality is that which we can see. My wife and I are avid watchers of the show "7th Heaven." There is an episode where 10-year-old Simon is concerned that his 5-year-old sister Ruthie doesn't believe in Santa Claus, so he prays to God that He will find a way to make her believe in Santa, because it will prepare her mind for believing in the "big stuff like You!" An interesting spin on it, I think!


Click to enlargeAVOIDING EXTREMES
I think we need to avoid both extremes of either letting Harry Potter be viewed by children without explaining to them what magic is real and what is not, or harping on it as "Satanic." I think we need to look for Christ in everything. God spoke to me through the Harry Potter movie about the reality of spiritual warfare and the importance of truth, friendship and intelligence. I would think and hope that it would make kids ask their parents for a chess set rather than a ouija board!


Click to enlargeABOUT TRUTH
It is said, "all truth is God's truth." The occult is real, it has truth in it, but it is still "God's truth!" That doesn't mean He comes up with the specifics, but it means He has its author on a leash, and will not be overcome by it! Turn around, focus on Christ, enjoy the magical world He's given us, and long for the even more magical world to come, where we will be able to fly without brooms!!!!


PRISONER OF AZKABAN
(2004)
Review
Trailers, Photos
About this Film
Spiritual Connections
Forum

CHAMBER OF SECRETS
(2002)

Review
Trailers, Photos
About this Film
Spiritual Connections
Forum

SORCERER'S STONE
(2001)
Reviews
More Reviews
Sol O Mann and Links
Interview with JK Rowling