“Give me Harry Potter,” said Voldemort’s voice, “and none shall be harmed. Give me Harry Potter, and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter, and you will be rewarded.”
From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter Thirty-one, “The Battle of Hogwarts”
Bloody hell and Merlin’s beard!
It’s happened. I have finished the entire Harry Potter series! The Deathly Hallows was the best finale I could have hoped for, and it took me by surprise. I feel like an official “potterhead” now. I’ve seen all of the movies except for Deathly Hallows Part 2. I started watching it yesterday but haven’t exactly finished it yet.
It’s going to be a late night.
After finishing the entire series, it feels like a breath of fresh air. I am going to go over the main points of the story that I felt were significant, and essentially, what I learned from the character of Harry Potter.
As always, this post will contain major plot spoilers, so please DO NOT read my post until AFTER you finish the Harry Potter series. And trust me when I say that this book is NOT ONE TO BE RUINED.
Okay, if you keep reading, I take no responsibility for ruined expectations.
Yes, Matt. Spoilers.
Let’s do this thing.
I’m going to be discussing only two points in this post, so as to keep it brief, and those two things are (and these are spoilers):
- The Death and Resurrection of Harry Potter as a topic
- The Life and Death of Severus Snape as a topic
So, let’s begin then, shall we?
Terror washed over him as he lay on the floor, with that funeral drum pounding inside him. Would it hurt to die? All those times he had thought that it was about to happen and escaped, he had never really thought of the thing itself: His will to live had always been so much stronger than his fear of death. Yet it did not occur to him now to try to escape, to outrun Voldemort. It was over, he knew it, and all that was left was the thing itself: dying.
From Chapter Thirty-four, “The Forest Again”
When I finally realized that Harry Potter was going to die, it was a shocker. I think for the entire Harry Potter following, once a fan comes to this point in the story, everything seems to have been wasted. All of the stories, from book one to book seven, have all been about the survival of Harry Potter, keeping him alive, and destroying the Dark Lord.
It was odd to me, that Harry would actually die. You read the stories, and you read about a hero. One that cannot die. And yet, at the end of the story, it looks like he’s about to give up his life for his friends. Harry constantly exclaims that “no one else is going to die for me,” and when he realizes that giving himself up will save his friends, he willingly takes that route.
I am going to be a bit obvious here, but when I read the ending of the story, there are so many parallels that can be drawn between Harry and Jesus. This has been argued ever since the book came out, and Rowling herself even admitted to the fact that the books contain Christian themes. She says:
“There is a lot of Christian imagery in the books. That’s undeniable. And certainly in Hallows [it is] very clear . . . That’s an allusion to a belief system in which I was raised” (McCauley).
She also says:
“To me [the religious parallels have] always been obvious, but I never wanted to talk too openly about it because I thought it might show people who just wanted the story where we were going” (Adler).
That said, I think the similarities I am about to draw between Harry Potter and Jesus Christ are immensely accurate, true, and obvious to understand. As Rowling said, in Hallows especially, the themes of Christianity are so clear and jump out from the pages.
Harry’s death is the loudest way through which this message is communicated.
Let’s think about why Harry had to die for a second. When Harry was an innocent child, Voldemort tried to kill him, and when he did so, the killing curse rebounded off of Harry’s forehead (leaving the adorable lightning scar), bounced back to Voldemort, and, this is important, a piece of Voldemort’s soul flew out of his body and became implanted into Harry.
In The Half-Blood Prince (I wrote an analysis post on that HERE), Dumbledore taught Harry about Horcruxes, which is an object in which a portion of someone’s soul is stored. Voldemort made six horcruxes intentionally, and Dumbledore entrusted Harry and co. with the task of finding all six and destroying them. However, Voldemort made one unintentional Horcrux: Harry.
When the bit of Voldemort’s soul landed inside of Harry, Harry became a horcrux. Therefore, the only way to destroy Voldemort was to let Harry be killed by him.
Now, let’s compare this with Christ.
Why did Christ have to die?
Our sin, the sin of the world, was placed on Jesus, so that when He willingly gave Himself to be slain on a tree, the sin of the world would be abolished with Him, and He would arise renewed, free of our sin, and us free of our sin as well.
Now, back to Harry.
The piece of Voldemort’s evil soul was inside of Harry, just like the sin of humankind was upon Jesus. Neither deliberately wished for it to be there, but their obedience to what must take place caused them both to die, but both arose again renewed.
And remember the creepy little baby that Harry saw crying after Voldemort killed him? I believe that that mangled infant is symbolic of the evil “Voldemort-bit” inside of Harry. When Harry died, it was abolished.
And, like Christ who arose without sin, Harry arose from death renewed without Voldemort’s soul inside of him. This, put simply, is the odds and ends of resurrection doctrine.
Now, let’s look at Harry when he faces down Voldemort after he’s risen again. This also parallels the day when Christ returns. Think about it. Dumbledore’s army, Harry’s army, is all around him fighting with him, just like we will do with Christ in the end times. Then, Harry, facing down Voldemort, says the following:
“You won’t be killing anyone else tonight,” said Harry as they circled, and stared into each other’s eyes, green into red. “You won’t be able to kill any of them ever again. Don’t you get it? I was ready to die to stop you from hurting these people—”
“But you did not!”
“—I meant to, and that’s what did it. I’ve done what my mother did. They’re protected from you. Haven’t you noticed how none of the spells you put on them are binding? You can’t torture them. You can’t touch them. You don’t learn from your mistakes, Riddle, do you?”
From Chapter Thirty-six, “The Flaw in the Plan”
And that’s just like us, isn’t it? Because Christ has died and risen again, the enemy cannot do anything to us. He cannot touch us. He may be able to fiddle with our minds and inflict pain upon our bodies, but nothing he can do, unless we let him, can ever bind us, just like Harry said.
Isn’t that beautiful?
I stayed up till 11:30 reading this chapter, and I had to finish the book. I was jumping up and down, internally screaming, just going berserk over the final battle. Harry Potter has my heart.
This is me now:
Heeheehee. Alright, let’s move along
Now, I want to talk about the life and death of Severus Snape.
Ah, Severus, how I love thee.
I have always been a big Snape lover, even though Harry hated him so much. Even though he was always taking points from Gryffindor and being annoying to everyone else, I loved his grumpiness.
But when he killed Dumbledore, I was starting to get worried. I wanted him to be good, and I think Rowling knew that.
Reading about Snape was emotionally difficult. Firstly, his death at the hand of Nagini was so hard to read without tearing up, but as soon as he died, I knew that there was good in him…even though it looked like he was evil through and through.
Then Harry looked inside the Pensieve and saw the memories Snape left him.
His abusive childhood, his enduring love for Lilly Potter, and his despair in her death at the hands of Voldemort. His pledge to protect Harry, to act as a double-agent death eater, to kill Dumbledore, to assume the role of the evil overlord, if you will.
Snape was hated by those closest to him, those he was trying to help, and most obviously, to Harry. Rowling goes into so much depth throughout the stories about just how much Harry viciously hates Snape, only in the end to realize how devoted the grumpy Potions Master was to protecting him.
If a Bible verse could be used to summarize the life and sacrificial death of Severus Snape, it would certainly be Luke 6:35, which says:
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”
Without question, Snape desired nothing in return from Harry. His life was a bitter and despairing melting pot of rejection, and all Snape received from his heroic deeds was hatred, disgust, and exclusion.
Snape also sets an example to be followed by readers of the Harry Potter series. In all honesty, we turn from anger at Snape in Half-Blood Prince to shame and guilt. We see a figure who was used, abused, and cast aside, but the impact he left when he disregarded the fancies and accusations of everyone else was exemplary.
As an example, Snape is a selfless individual with eyes on one goal: the deliverance of Harry Potter. What drove him? His love for Harry’s mother. When everything looks grim for our twenty-first century butts, let the love for our families, our God, and our friends drive us against the hate, the rejection, and the defeat.
Love like Snape.
I wish Snape was my grandpa.
Watching Sense and Sensibility after Harry Potter was kind of weird, but it made me love Snape even more…even though Snape isn’t Colonel Brandon…or is he?
Okay, that was weird, sorry 😛 But Alan Rickman is my second favorite actor now, so that means something since I don’t always remember actors’ names.
Well, there it is, my friends!
Another spotlight post! I hope you enjoyed hearing about Harry Potter as much as I did. I’m officially a Potterhead now. Well, I need to finish watching The Deathly Hallows Part 2, but besides that, I have arrived at the top of Pottermania.
It’s wonderful up here.
I have finished Hamlet, so be expecting a post on that in a few days. It was so delightful to read; a real treat. Full of twists, and I feel like Shakespeare leaves so much in your mind when it ends.
I thank the Bard.
Talk to you soon, friends!
Emily 🙂 (see what I did there?)
And here’s a bibliography for those sources I cited (the formatting stinks, but this isn’t Word 2016, you know):
Adler, Shawn. “’Harry Potter’ Author J.K. Rowling Opens Up About Books’ Christian Imagery.” MTV News, 17 Oct. 2007, http://www.mtv.com/news/1572107/harry-potter-author-jk-rowling-opens-up-about-books-christian-imagery/.
McCauley, Patrick. “5 Ways Harry Potter Mirrors the Christian Story.” BeliefNet, http://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/books/galleries/5-ways-harry-potter-mirrors-the-christian-story.aspx.