Growing up, I never picked up Harry Potter. While I did have friends who read the series, my parents didn’t recommend it, so I avoided it all together. The last couple of years, I’ve interacted with Christian friends who have casually mentioned J.K. Rowling’s series. At first I was a little surprised but not particularly interested.
I heard one friend rave about the redemption theme. Redemption theme? My friends claimed it mirrored the Gospel and I was intrigued. I guess my mind thought on this for a while, before hearing another friend casually mention the series. When I saw the books were free on Kindle Unlimited, I decided to check them out. If they weren’t free, I probably wouldn’t have messed with them at all 😉
Before delving too much into the actual series, here’s my little two cents on magic. My beliefs are shaped by my upbringing, personal experience, and the Bible.
I believe Satanic magic exists but not in the manner portrayed in the Harry Potter series. Magic is a tool Satan uses to replicate God’s power. Satan gives humans power, much in the same way God blesses us with His Spirit. In Matthew 4, Satan tests Jesus “Bow to me… and all the kingdoms of the world shall be thine.” Satan offers to duplicate the miracles God does but with a price.
Magic in the Harry Potter Universe
In the Harry Potter universe, magic is a skill gained when born. A force certain humans are born with, that properly trained is used for both good and evil. Magic is passed on from generation to generation and occasionally to a child not born into a “magical” family.
This differs vastly from the magic we are warned against in the Bible. Even the Dark Arts in Harry Potter do not call upon Satan: they learn to use their own natural powers to create destruction. While the story completely leaves out any reference to God or Satan, I would not say it is inherently Anti-God.
Harry Potter is more similar to The Chronicles of Narnia. While Aslan comes from a land beyond Narnia, it is never clear that there is a ‘satanic’ figure giving power to the white witch. One might guess she is born with it and uses her natural skills with magic to try to overthrow the good.
In both stories, there is clear good and evil, with both sides given equal opportunities. How they use their power is the crux of the Harry Potter universe and The Chronicles of Narnia.
There are seven books in the Harry Potter series which leaves a lot of material one can cover. J K Rowling deftly covers several themes, including a quite a variety of truths, half-truths, and lies.
But for today, I think we’ll just discuss why there is enmity between the young Harry and the truly evil antagonist, Tom Riddle, aka Lord Voldemort.
Blinded by Power and Magic
Tom Riddle craves power. Orphaned at a young age, he abandoned his ‘common’ roots, creating the image of power through skill and his self-created name, “Lord Voldemort”. As he rose to power he has sought to destroy death, to be immortal. In his quest for immortally, he has committed unspeakable atrocities.
When Lord Voldemort hears a small portion of a prophecy, he understands one is coming who will destroy him.
We read about the prophecy in the 5th book. I was super excited to finally read the prophecy, because it explained why Voldemort tried to kill Harry, when Harry was just a very non-threatening baby.
“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. The Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not, and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.”
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
What I find most intriguing is how the magic works in both The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. Both the White Witch and Voldemort push the magic: Voldemort is afraid of the prophecy and seeks out his enemy to kill. The White Witch insists Edward must die, and is delighted when Aslan volunteers. Neither one understands it is their own choice that will ultimately destroy them.
Also neither comprehends the second half of the prophecy or the magic. Voldemort only heard the first part of the prophecy: one with power to vanquish him was approaching. The White Witch demanded a blood replacement, she didn’t understand that an innocent volunteer would break the stone table.
Voldemort did not understand how Harry survived his killing curse, “the power that the dark lord understands not” This power haunts Voldemort the entire series and culminates in the final battle. I will be discussing what this power is in a second Harry Potter post.
Another fascinating aspect of the prophecy is how it is not self-enforced. If Voldemort did not act upon hearing the prophecy, he would not have created the boy who could destroy him. But Voldemort was terrified of a more powerful enemy so he sought Harry Potter out to destroy him. But in attempting to destroy the child, Voldemort was destroyed by a powerful protection he could not break.
This also parallels to Narnia’s white witch. The White Witch knew Aslan was more powerful and longed to destroy him. But in her brief moment of victory, she was outmatched by the true laws of magic.
What is this powerful protection that destroyed the power-hungry Lord Voldemort? I’ll discuss that in my next post on Harry Potter.