Quiz: Which quotes are from Harry Potter? Which quotes are from the Bible?
1) “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death….”
2) “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be….”
3) “You’ve been raising him like a pig for slaughter….”
4) “You’ve kept him alive so that he can die at the proper moment….”
5) “It was love. You see… it provided him with the ultimate protection… It was old magic, something I should have foreseen.”
There has been much debate over Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling, the author, since the first Harry Potter book hit the press. Since that first moment, there has been tension and discussion and no small controversy in Evangelicalism about the Harry Potter series. The quotes I have provided, though, above could easily be mistaken for being from the Bible, but they come from Harry Potter whether in book form or movie form. Some might be inclined to immediately assume they are from Harry Potter and not from the Bible. Some might be inclined to think they are from the Bible, perhaps, and not Harry Potter.
Answer: Again, all of the quotes above are from Harry Potter, but the first 2 quotes (1 and 2) come specifically from the Bible and are quoted and used in Harry Potter, the books. The first quote was inscribed on the gravestone of Harry Potter’s parents and is written as stand alone text in the book, and foretells what will happen later in the plot. However, the biblical citation is absent (book, chapter, verse) from the text. One would not know it was directly from the Bible unless one was familiar with the apostle Paul’s writings to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 15). The second quote is from Matthew 6 and was on a family gravestone of the Dumbledore’s. Also, absent from the movies, but present in the books. The remaining quotes do not come from the Bible, but the third quote above closely parallels Isaiah 53:7 on the ‘Suffering Servant.’ Though, instead of lamb for slaughter you have pig for slaughter, the parallel also comes with the chosen one being sent to die and even going willingly. We learn, in the story, that Harry Potter learns that he will have to die before he can deal the final blow to the Evil One (aka- The Dark Lord).
The fourth quote is from the final movie as was the third, and comes from Severus Snape who is commenting on the plan that Dumbledore constructed to defeat The Evil One. Dumbledore, throughout the movies, serves as a sort of father figure to Harry Potter. Dumbledore sends him into the world as a baby to live with non-magical relatives, and looks after him throughout the length of the series and even after his own death. Harry undergoes various tests and trials throughout his youth and wins little battles over The Evil One throughout, and when he begins to sense his purpose as the “Chosen One” to defeat The Dark Lord he submits to Dumbledore’s will, consults with Dumbledore, and goes on missions to destroy The Dark Lord which involve sacrificing himself along the way in order to further defeat The Dark Lord (being resurrected, and returning to claim a complete victory over the evil one).
The fifth quote comes from one of the movies and comes from The Dark Lord, Voldemort. He states that love prevented Harry from dying when he was young, and that love prevented specifically him from killing Harry. Love was the ultimate protection. His stating that he didn’t foresee it as a problem is telling of his inability to comprehend love as having any sort of power. This quote is not in the Bible, but it would seem after reading 1 John and perhaps John 1 (the prologue) that the quote would be along the lines with their understanding of love and darkness not comprehending true light and love.
The story of Harry Potter is about a boy nearly killed at birth. A boy who was taken from his home and brought into the world to live among human parents, though not his own parents. The boy would grow up learning more about his purpose and mission while fighting against the Evil One along the way. Then, one day Harry understands that he is the Chosen One who will defeat the Evil One and bring lasting peace to world, having vanquished evil. Then, though his real father was no longer in the world, Dumbledore serves as his father looking out for him and formulating a plan to destroy the Evil One and expecting Harry to follow his plan. Then, Harry goes on mission to defeat the Evil One and obey the plan and clues left by Dumbledore, a father figure. Harry learns of his need to sacrifice himself and before going to his death willingly, communes with his family in a secluded place. Harry has 2 close friends throughout the series, and the 3 typically work together to defeat every foe in the series. Harry also trains many in his skills in order to ‘defend against the dark arts.’ By the end of the series, we find those Harry has trained also fighting along with Harry to destroy the Evil One and the evil forces. After going willingly to his death and dying, experiencing death through the deadly curse, he is raised to life again. We learn that in his death the Evil One was dealt a blow that he didn’t foresee, but also that Harry returns after dying to fight in a final battle to fully destroy the Evil One and restore peace to the world.
There are more parallels between the Gospel story and Harry Potter, as you can see, than simply the quotes I have provided. It is because J.K. Rowling is a Christian and admittedly, states that her faith has influenced her writing even though she struggles at times with parts of her faith (Read More). Now, we can pick apart her theology and her view of the afterlife in the Harry Potter series which seems to be a little flawed at parts, but then again, whose theology isn’t flawed and whose view of the afterlife isn’t perfect?
There is the question of using magic and witchcraft in the series which is troubling and a cause for debates among Christians. Sadly, more seem to be passionate about what they and others shouldn’t believe and less about what they and others should. Why is it that Christians get in an uproar and make things like The Da Vinci Code, The Shack, and the Harry Potter series the most talked about books in the world in such short time, but cannot, it seems, come to promote and talk about the Bible, specifically, the Gospel of Jesus Christ with such urgency and passion?
Why do Christians get more excited about what they don’t like, and fail to get excited about things that truly matter (loving God, loving others, sharing the Gospel, fighting for justice in the world, caring for the poor and marginalized)?
People seem to take notice at the things that we get excited about, whether good or bad. I think there is a big difference between The Da Vinci Code and the Harry Potter series. One has parallels to the Gospel story, and the other distorts and denies the Gospel entirely. Both are fictional works and have sold countless numbers. One features prominently love, friendship, and self-sacrifice that had a strong aroma and flavor of the Bible while the other does not. One takes bits of history and creates various new truths and stories about them in order to intentionally mislead the reader into error and doubt. The other begins at fiction and ends at fiction while throwing in some parts of the Gospel story along the way with Scripture quotes. This is why the Harry Potter series is not on par with things like The Da Vinci Code, and why there are some Christians who appreciate the Harry Potter series. It is not that these Christians are supporting magic and witchcraft and want to start a cult, abandon and blaspheme God, burn Bibles, and abandon their faith in God. Rather, these Christians acknowledge that it is a work of fiction, it doesn’t promote evil, it doesn’t promote the modern day practice of magic and witchcraft which modern day witches will attest to, the author is Christian, the Gospel story is infused into the series, and it can be an enjoyable read that doesn’t distort the Truth. It is a fun story that promotes friendship, love, and self-sacrifice. That is all.
This post was intended to show some ways in which Harry Potter and the Bible and the Gospel parallel, and how Harry Potter isn’t really that bad and on a different level from works such as The Da Vinci Code or The Shack. If there are deeper questions or you would like to read further, I did a little writing on the subject in the past which might be helpful. You can find the link below.
That said, you might notice I don’t say the Gospel itself is in the Harry Potter series, but the Gospel story. That is because there are parallels to Jesus and the life of Jesus in the Harry Potter series, but there is only one Gospel of Jesus Christ and it is contained within the gospel accounts in the first four books of the New Testament in the Bible. The event of the Gospel is recorded in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; however, the meaning of the Gospel and the meaning of Jesus is explained further in the letters of the New Testament and the entirety of the Old Testament. The Harry Potter books and movies have parallels and bits of the Bible, but it is no substitute for the actual Gospel and the actual Bible. The story is entertaining, but for all Christians whether you like or dislike the Harry Potter series, the ultimate story should be the Gospel and the ultimate book should be the Bible. It doesn’t mean we can’t read anything else, but simply that the ultimate story for the Christian is the Gospel because we are a part of it and without it we would not be Christian and we would have no hope in a world tainted by sin and death. With it, we have hope beyond this present world, but also bring hope to this world ourselves in showing what that hope is and what the Kingdom of God looks like.
For those who love to hate the Harry Potter series, perhaps your love would be better directed toward God and caring for others despite your disagreements. Your hate is a hindrance to the message of the Gospel and is making the Harry Potter series more significant than it is and more significant than the Gospel. Your hate is making you a person marked by faith in the hatred of things rather than a person marked by faith in Jesus Christ, the Gospel, loving God and others.
For those who love the Harry Potter series and love the Gospel parallels, be careful. Not that Harry Potter books are dangerous in themselves, but it can be dangerous to love anything too much apart from God. Anything can become an idol, and it can be dangerous with things like Harry Potter or other writings to speak of the Gospel being in them. There are many books written today which talk about the Gospel according to somebody or according to some movie or according to some book, as if the Gospel were in anything other than the Bible and Jesus Christ. The value on the thing is the presence of something else in it while you don’t actually promote the very thing that makes it valuable in the first place, and thus, become a hypocrite. Now, Harry Potter books can be appreciated on their own, but with the knowledge that it is a fictional work of myth as most children’s books tend to be and is not to be equated with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the only Gospel, which is not a myth and not a fictional tale.
May we all seek to enjoy reading and learn to love our friends, family, and even enemies so as to learn from the Harry Potter books, but may we ultimately focus on the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and may our passion be for God and his glory and for loving others.