Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone
The Harry Potter series has been a source of both fan accolades and at the same time Christian rejection. Christian apologists have been wary of fully accepting Rowling’s works due to the use of spells, Wiccan practices, and humanist undertones that they believe are contrary to Christian principles. This begs the question, starting with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, can there be a New Stories, Old Book theme in fiction literature that may run counter to Christian beliefs?
At its very foundation, Harry Potter is a story of good versus evil underpinned with self-discovery. Harry’s heroic journey begins with his initial inclination that there is something that sets him apart from other people. From that introduction and use of prophesized destiny there are several examples of what could be considered Biblical themes and symbolism.
Harry is referred to as “the boy who lived” by those he meets in the wizard world, and is a living example of faith and love besting darkness. One of the first examples of faith is Harry charging the Platform 9 ¾ wall to enter the magical world on the Hogwarts Express. These examples can be paralleled with humans taking a leap of faith by believing in a power much greater than themselves, or in making a transition from an earthly world to heavenly destination.
The importance of companionship and loyalty is an important theme when Harry becomes friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Such relationships and companionships are notably mentioned throughout many scriptures such as Jesus and his disciples, Moses and his people, etc.
Harry is sorted to Gryffindor, whose symbol is a Lion, which is synonymous with the son of God in not only the Bible but also several other literary works, such C.S. Lewis’s lion, Aslan, in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Christmas is celebrated in the book, where Harry receives his Invisibility Cloak as a gift. Whether or not she means this as a religious holiday, or a celebration of the secular tradition is not completely evident. However to take a stand that it is not a theological based book, one would wonder why one of the most religious based holidays would be celebrated so prominently.
The plot develops into a mystery concerning “the Sorcerer’s Stone” which can provide the elixir of life, hinting at man’s desire for eternalness. Professor Quirrell is revealed as the antagonist, who has allowed Lord Voldemort (the embodiment of evil) to possess him. This could be construed as a reference to Lucifer’s role as the great deceiver and one who has two faces.
Finally, sacrifice is ever present in the Sorcerer’s Stone. Harry sacrificed greatly in his ten years living with the Dursleys, wizards sacrificed some or all in fighting Voldemort, Ron makes a sacrifice during the chess challenge so Harry can get to the Sorcerer’s Stone, and finally it is revealed that it was Lilly Potter’s sacrifice which protected Harry.
J.K. Rowling has given interviews where she has stated that Harry Potter is not based in theology or religion. She states that Harry Potter is meant to transcend religion to universal themes. Which brings us back to the question…can New Stories, Old Book themes be found in fiction literature which may not be intended for that purpose? Are New Stories, Old Book principles in the eye of the reader? What other novels contain these Biblical elements that may be on the surface counter to Christian beliefs?