Saturday, July 23, 2011

Religious References and Iconography in Harry Potter

A short list:

1. The very concept of Horcruxes presuppose that the soul is a real and physical part of humanity-- that it can be maimed, that it can be whole, and that it exists separately from the body.

2. Harry is killed, then resurrected, and lives a second life after his final battle with Voldemort. He might not be Jesus incarnate, but he's living the fictional life many fundamentalist Christians believe awaits the faithful.

3. James/Harry/Dumbledore = Father/Son/Holy Ghost
This one needs work, because I'm not Christian and can't really speak to the finer points of how perfectly this works out.

4. Christmas, gosh darned it. Why do wizards celebrate it, when their lives otherwise seem to be motivated by secular humanism (or a lack of it)?

There. I basically just wrote the Cliff's Notes for your next Comparative Religious Studies essay. You're welcome.

1 comment:

  1. While I see your point about the Christmas thing, Christmas has become so pervasive in historically Christian countries that I think at this point it's become a secular holiday as well as a religious one. The vast majority of people I know who don't specifically practice a non-Christian religion celebrate Christmas regardless of whether or not they believe in Christ. My impression of British culture is that that's even more true there--everybody celebrates Christmas. Knowing that and that Muggle-born wizards are so common, and lacking any knowledge of the history of the wizarding world's relationship to religion, I have to say I'm a lot more puzzled by some other stuff than by the Christmas thing. (Also, let's not ignore narrative convenience or the desire to make the wizarding world mirror our own + magic as much as possible...)

    I am intrigued by your Father/Son/Holy Ghost theory but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I will have to ponder that.