Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Jesus Christ and the Deathly Hallows...


Believe it or not, I have managed to hold off this long on HP7. And not only have I managed to hold off on reading the book, I've managed to hold off on reading the press surrounding the book, including all spoilers and reviews. Honest to gosh, I went in with no sense of what I was about to read.

So I don't know whether or not I'm "supposed to" love it or hate it.

But I love it. I totally do.

It's a really good book. Clunky in places, because Rowling sat down to write it with 6 books of world-building behind her, and has to reconcile the past books with this one-- make every little detail match up. So the histories interweave in sometimes awkward ways. But that's how it goes, with a slow-growing series of any complexity. And Rowling's logic is TIGHT. And her characters are real.

Major props, Ms. Rowling.

I'm about 23 pages to the end of the book, and I just shed a few tears (yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh) but that got me thinking about something...

I couldn't shake how much the scene where Harry goes out to meet Voldemort, accepts his own death, reminded me of something... of something... else.

Couldn't think what.

And then I knew what it was! It was Narnia. It was Aslan. It was Aslan, with Lucy and Susan only walking so far... watching from a distance as the lion let himself be bound and slaughtered by the White Witch. Aslan going those last steps alone. Submitting. Dying to be reborn. Dying so that unknown (deep) magic could be fulfilled and undo the evil at work in humanity.

Hmmm...

The use of submission so critical to both tales, but also other things--the 2 companions held back, too human to accompany... and then the two sets of descriptions... of the evil creatures in the darkness. A hoard of evil creatures in a forest, hungry for the death of goodness. The most evil of all waiting with a weapon, foolish, missing a piece of the story.

So much the same, these scenes. Harry Potter, Aslan, Jesus. The only thing that could overcome death was the willing submission to death. Powerful, heavy, lonely, sad.

"Into your hands..." and all that.

Funny for me, as a Jew, to be reading this now, and shedding tears over it. Since of course, in the original, my people were the giants, the hags, the Death Eaters... waiting in the darkness, too foolish to see what was about to happen.

Huh.

So what I still don't understand is.. why are the fundamentalist Christians so bothered by Harry? Here in Georgia, they're still trying to ban him from the library...

I mean, he's Jesus with a wand, for Chrissake.

9 comments:

Talia said...

I'm totally with you on the Christians. I'm a fundamentalist to the full extent, conservative Christian and all of that, yet, I wince at the whole Harry Potter thing. But I think it is mostly due to an ignorance of literature in general, an ignorance to the conventions of the fantasy/adventure genre. I have not read any of the HP books (it's not my genre) but husband has (the only thing I can get him to read!) And he, being more conservative than me on a lot of things, does not see anything, except that HP lies every now and then and seems to get away with it.

Christy Lenzi said...

>> I mean, he's Jesus with a wand, for Chrissake<<

Ha!

Elisson said...

While the Christian allegory in the earlier Harry Potter books was something that sat quietly in the background, it took a Great Leap Forward in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.

The story of the Gospels is a powerful story - "truer love hath no man, than that he lay down his life for his friend" and all that. It's one of the better-written polemics of all time, complete with a Hero, his sidekicks, and villains. It's unquestionably one of the reasons for the success of Christianity (from a recruitment standpoint) for lo, these past 2,000 years.

Great literature begets imitators. Why wouldn't an author avail him- or herself of one of the greatest storylines of all time?

As for Christians who hate or fear the Potter phenomenon, these are Biblical literalists who believe in the Bible as the Inerrant Word o' God. Literalists without literature, you might say. (Strange, how they rarely read the book in its original, untranslated versions.)

Jeff said...

Just finished reading it last night, and my review will be posted Monday, but I agree with your assessment of the series as well! Fantastic and deeply meaningful for those with a discerning eye.

Thanks for the entry!

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