Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Boy Who Lived

I have an empty feeling inside of me, having just finished the seventh and final installment of J.K. Rowling's epic Harry Potter series. First off, the final book is by far the best, tying together all the loose ends created beforehand. You know you have seen a really good movie (or 24 episode) when the complicated plot comes together towards the end, and it all clicks in your mind as you go "Ohhhh, I get it!" THAT feeling is what occurs during Deathly Hallows, particularly in the chapter where Harry looks back into the past. I can only hope that the last movie does justice to the wealth of great action scenes.

Everyone loves the great characters of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. But the brilliance of the genius, yet far from flawless, Dumbledore plays a rather large role in a story in which he is dead (or is he!? You had to love innocent Ron throwing the idea out there every few chapters or so that maybe Dumbledore is not dead, only to be shot down by a frustrated Harry or Hermione). For better or for worse, the numerous soap opera relationships took a backseat to the main storyline, but you had to love the whole Ginny situation, especially how she boldly cuts short the awkward return of Cho. Rowling even manages to make the reader feel sympathetic towards the deep characters of the Malfoys and Severus Snape, perhaps the only figure more hated then Voldemort himself.

The emotions created by this book is second only to the Bible. Speaking of which, the parallels between Potter and Christianity should not go unnoticed. Although Rowling quietly omitted religious references during weddings, births, deaths, funerals, and the characters never thought about praying in all of their dangerous and near-death experiences, there are some subtle references to the Good Book that the average reader will not notice. When Harry visits his parents' graves, he reads: "The last enemy to be destroyed is death" on the headstone. Those words were originally written by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church of Corinth (15:26). If the Potter family being a Christian one is not enough, the tombstone of the Dumbledore family reads, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." These are the words of Jesus Christ during the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:21).

In his now widely spread article, Jeffrey Weiss points out how "Harry believes that only his demise will save his friends. Like his mother, Harry is willing to choose that death without fighting. The final battle includes death and resurrection, spiritual power carried by blood, and an apparent total loss followed by ultimate victory. Distinctly Christian? I'd say so."

As for all the press that the Harry Potter saga has gotten for its supposed immoral themes, such as blatant witchcraft and defiance of elders and authority figures, conservative Christians, including myself, need to relax and back off. There are actually quite a lot of good morals that children can learn from reading these books. Besides, there are tons of far worse entertainment venues out there that simply should not be.

Rowling has made it clear that this is the end for the Harry Potter saga. However, everyone knows that money makes the world go around, and with such an enormously profitable franchise, do not be surprised if Potter makes another triumphant return. Even if Rowling herself refuses to do it, think about the potential spinoffs that someone else could work up once they slither around legal barriers. The epilogue alone hinted at a whole another adventure for the next generation of Hogwarts teenagers. Imagine the possibilities of the appropriately named children building upon their parents' and grandparents' adventures going forward? Speaking of grandparents, the story could also steal an idea from the just as epic Star Wars franchise and go back into the past! The world loved learning how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, so why not do the same for Tom Riddle and Lord Voldemort? Some of the books merely grazed upon the tip of icebergs such as the developments of the Riddle and Dumbledore families. I want to know how exactly did James and Lily end up together, and what role did Sirius Black and Severus Snape play during their years together at Hogwarts. There is an action-packed chick flick waiting to happen. Imagine the loads of books and movies that can be created from the Potter universe, just on a different point on its timeline.

Forgive me for sounding like a boasting Slytherin, but when something of the sort comes out decades from now, remember that I called it long ago.