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Archive for the ‘Voldemort’ Category

In a previous blog post, I have written about my disappointment with the way the final cut of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 downplays the religious symbolism which is present both in the novel and  in some of the film’s unused set design elements. (You can read about it in this blog post: https://phoenixweasley.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/christian-imagery-in-harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-one/) Although there are some Christian images in the theatrical cut of DH1, there are not enough in comparison to the novel. (I really missed Harry and Hermione’s discussion of 1 Corinthians 15:26 in the Godric’s Hollow graveyard scene.)  I certainly don’t expect DH2 to be any better in that regard, but apparently some critics are seeing something with regards to Christian symbolism in the plot and themes of the film. Of course, I have not yet seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. It will be released on July 15, 2011 in the United States, so I don’t know exactly what it is that these film critics are seeing. Here are some of the quotes from the latest reviews for consideration:

“These quests pit treachery and self-interest against steadfastness and sacrifice, a fundamental series conflict that’s embodied by Harry and Voldemort, the Christ and Satan at the center of Rowling’s coming-of-age saga. Still, the propulsive film (penned, like all but one of its predecessors, by Steve Kloves) remains interested in such religious notions of martyrdom, fate, and rebirth only insofar as they reflect the story’s overriding celebration of friendship as an unbreakable bond even under the greatest of strains.”

http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-07-13/film/harry-potter-s-final-destination/

“The final film is heavy on what can now be seen as the series’ Big Themes: mercy, self-sacrifice, forgiveness. In the way the overarching narrative eventually plays out, Rowling’s novels – and the ensuing films – seem deeply indebted to another literary fantasy series from a British author: C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Both use fantastical tales to get at deep truths.”

http://www.larsenonfilm.com/index.php?Page=SoloReview&ReviewID=2011

“Ultimately, though, the heart of the story is simple: a version of the messianic  myth, perhaps, or an allegory of growing up and mustering courage, loyalty, and  a belief in human decency in the face of evil and death.”

http://thephoenix.com/Boston/movies/123738-review-harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part/

This review has a lot of commentary on the performances given by the various actors and actresses in the film. Be warned that it is filled with spoilers!

http://www.thevine.com.au/entertainment/movie-reviews/harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-2-_-movie-review20110712.aspx

In addition to the religious symbolism and all of the deeper layers of meaning that the Harry Potter novels contain, I am enamoured with the character development of Rowling’s heroes, young and old, and I adore the blossoming romance between Harry’s sidekicks, Ron and Hermione. All of these reviews have comments that the Ron/Hermione shippers will appreciate:

“As with all finales, people are getting it on left, right and centre. The long-awaited kiss between Ron and Hermione isn’t a letdown, its sweetness reminding us of their true age and experience. With the maturity they’ve been playing with over the last couple of films, it’s nice to be brought back to something as simple as first love and awkward first kisses.”

http://www.moviereviews.co.uk/reviews/harry-potter-and-deathly-hallows-part-2-review

“Watson and Grint shine in their few scenes including that long-awaited kiss, and both sob convincingly as their teenage wizards come to terms with the enormity of their loss.” This reviewer is one of many who sees similarities between the war in DH2 and the epic battles in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: “There are echoes of The Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers as the forces of darkness breach the school’s walls with horrific intent.”

http://www.hertfordshiremercury.co.uk/Whats-On-Leisure/Movies/Harry-Potter-11072011.htm

“The feeling that Voldemort and his dark minions are close on Harry’s heels is palpable, making small moments of intimacy (Ron and Hermione kiss like adults — then giggle with surprise like children) all the more precious.”

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20483133_20488634,00.html

“As the crucial battle against good and evil approaches, the simmering sexual tension between our young heroes is also broken and several romances blossom, with a passionate kiss between Ron and  Hermione prompting whoops of delight and applause from the auditorium.”

http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/freetime/latest/9133274.MOVIE_REVIEW__Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows__Part_2_____/

I have indeed read reports from fans around the world that there were “whoops of delight and applause from the auditorium” when Ron and Hermione have their big moment. I am looking forward to seeing that scene in the theater and hearing the audience’s reaction to it, as well as hearing the audience’s response to Neville’s heroism, the Molly’s duel with Bellatrix, Harry’s self-sacrifice and final battle with Lord Voldemort, and most of all, Alan Rickman’s critically acclaimed performance of Severus Snape. Is it July 15th yet? 😉

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If you are not familiar with the Portal Awards, read this blog post: http://www.airlockalpha.com/node/8571/voting-begins-in-2011-airlock-alpha-portal-awards.html Notice that Harry Potter cast members Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson have won this award more than once.

BEST ACTOR 2006 – Daniel Radcliffe, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

BEST ACTRESS 2008 – Emma Watson, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”

BEST ACTRESS 2006 – Emma Watson, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

BEST YOUNG ACTOR 2010 – Daniel Radcliffe, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

BEST YOUNG ACTOR 2006 – Emma Watson, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

BEST YOUNG ACTOR 2005 – Daniel Radcliffe, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

BEST YOUNG ACTOR 2003 – Daniel Radcliffe, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”

BEST MOVIE  2008 – “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”

BEST MOVIE 2006 – “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

GENE RODDENBERRY AWARD 2008 – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter fans, you can vote for Emma Watson (Hermione Granger)  for Best Actress again this year, and also vote for Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) for Best Young Actor again. The talented Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) has never won the Portal award, and I think it is time that he did!  You may want to consider voting for Rupert Grint in the Best Actor category. You may also want to consider the brilliant actors Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) for Best Actor and Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix LeStrange) for Best Actress. Don’t forget to vote for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One for Best Movie. Here’s the link to the ballot for Airlock Alpha’s Portal Awards: http://www.airlockalpha.com/specials/portal-awards-2011.html

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Voting has begun in the MTV Movies Blog event, The Harry Potter World Cup. You can watch a video in which James and Oliver Phelps make their predictions and you can read more about the tournament here: http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2011/06/17/harry-potter-world-cup-bracket/.

Here are some of the predictions from the blog post I just mentioned:

Privet Drive
Really, is there any chance that the Boy Who Lived doesn’t survive long enough to win his division? On the surface, Harry seems like a lock for the Final Four, but he does have some serious contenders to worry about, most notably Dobby, Professor McGonagall and — further down the line — Severus Snape. Smart money says that the Hogwarts hero and the Half-Blood Prince will be at each other’s throats when the Elite 8 comes around.

I completely agree with the prediction above, the question is, will the fandom support Snape or Harry in the Elite 8? It will be quite an intense match, but as much as I love Severus, I’ll bet my galleons on Harry in this one.

Godric’s Hollow
Again, it’s easy to say that Hermione Granger and Albus Dumbledore are locked and loaded for the final two positions in the Godric’s Hollow bracket. But don’t underestimate fan support for Remus Lupin (my personal favorite) or George Weasley (who’s sure to blow Umbridge out of the water once again). I know that more than a few of you are pulling for Hedwig and Fawkes, too, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see those two competitors take flight.

Another likely scenario, but I am not so sure about Hedwig. Hermione vs. Dumbledore would be another intense battle that I am anticipating. I’ll predict Hermione as the Godric’s Hollow champion in the Final Four.

Hogsmeade
Beyond some immeasurably cruel match-ups like Arthur Weasley versus his son Percy and Lily Potter against Horace Slughorn, it should go without saying that this division contains the biggest fear for “Potter” fans everywhere: Cedric Diggory, better known to many as “that dead dude Robert Pattinson played before he was Edward.” If the “Twilight” fans come out and support their champion, then Ron Weasley — and the rest of the bracket, for that matter — could very well fall under Cedric’s spell.

I think not. Cedric Diggory beating Ron Weasley?!? This isn’t Twilight, and Edward Cullen is not a contender. Even if he were, it’s Ron all the way on this one. Weasley is our King!

Diagon Alley
In my opinion, this is the most contentious corner of the entire Harry Potter World Cup. Draco Malfoy and You Know Who are the two players best positioned for success, but then you’ve got notable fan favorites like Sirius Black and his wicked murderer Bellatrix Lestrange who could absolutely go deep. Honestly, Diagon Alley is a bit of a toss-up, but if there’s one certainty, it’s this: Tom Riddle is going to destroy Moaning Myrtle. AGAIN!

The outcome for this division is the hardest one to predict. Personally, I’d like to see Molly Weasley or Sirius Black as a contender, but I think Lord Voldemort has the raw power to win this one.

There it is. My Final Four predictions are Harry, Hermione, Ron, and NYAAAAH!…  Voldemort. Will it be Harry vs. Voldemort in the final battle? If so, Harry would win, Voldemort would be destroyed, and the defeated Ron and Hermione could console each other by going off to snog. But what if the final showdown is between Hermione and Ron? I’ll predict Hermione would win, and Ron would say, “I let her win. It’s just good manners, isn’t it?” 😉 Ron vs. Harry? I’d remain loyal to Ron, but Harry might win that one. The same could be said for Harry vs. Hermione. Harry would probably win, but I’d vote for Hermione anyway. Well, what are you waiting for?

You can vote for your favorite Harry Potter characters here: http://moviesblog.mtv.com/ and view the tournament grid here: http://www.mtv.com/content/news/2011/harry_potter_world_cup.jhtml. Check the http://moviesblog.mtv.com/ site frequently for updates.

My picks for the first round of the Privet Drive division are Harry, Lucius Malfoy, Professor McGonagall, Neville, Dobby, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Professor Flitwick, and Severus Snape. In the Godric’s Hollow division, my selections are Hermione, Fawkes, Ginny, George, Seamus, Remus Lupin, Mr. Ollivander, and Albus Dumbledore. Voting is in progress now for the first round of the Godric’s Hollow division. Cast your votes now. 🙂

I’ll update this post as the http://moviesblog.mtv.com is updated.

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On an upcoming  episode of SQPN’s “Secrets of Harry Potter” podcast, we will be discussing chapter four of The Lord of the Hallows, entitled “Harry Potter and The Bestiary of Christ.” This week, I am posting excerpts from that chapter. Here’s the first installment.

“There might be eagles. There might be stags…”

Badgers!” said Lucy.

—conversation between Peter and Lucy Pevensie in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (LWW 112, emphasis mine.)

            In addition to the themes of free will, life after death, the immortality of the soul, and the power of love and self-sacrifice, the Harry Potter novels are rich in symbolism derived from ancient and Medieval folklore and legends. A wealth of information on Christian symbolism relevant to Harry Potter can be found in The Bestiary of Christ by Louis Charbonneau-Lassay.

This book was published in French in 1940 and in English in the early 1990’s. Much of the information in this book is a compilation of various Medieval bestiaries, which were treatises on animals and what they symbolized. Bestiaries were highly imaginative popular literature in Medieval times and were used to teach moral lessons and Christian theology. Some of the animal symbols in this book which are used in the Harry Potter novels include the lion, the serpent, the unicorn, the stag, the phoenix, the basilisk, and the weasel, among others. Our examination of animals used as symbols in the novels will begin with a closer look at the mascots of the four Hogwarts houses: the Slytherin serpent, the Gryffindor lion, the Ravenclaw eagle, and the Hufflepuff badger.

The Symbolism of the Four Houses

            During Harry’s first year at Hogwarts he is introduced to the Sorting Hat ceremony, a yearly ritual at the school in which the new students are sorted into one of four different houses, each house named after the four founders of Hogwarts: Salazaar Slytherin, Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Helga Hufflepuff. The hat sings a song to explain the qualities that the four founders of Hogwarts were seeking when selecting students for his or her house:

 

            You might belong in Gryffindor

            Where dwell the brave at heart,

            Their daring, nerve, and chivalry

            Set Gryffindors apart;

            You might belong in Hufflepuff;

            Where they are just and loyal,

            Those patient Hufflepuffs are true

            And unafraid of toil;

            Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,

            If you’ve a ready mind,

            Where those of wit and learning,

            Will always find their kind;

            Or perhaps in Slytherin

            You’ll make your real friends,

            Those cunning folk use any means

            To achieve their ends. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, page 118)

            The conflict of good versus evil at Hogwarts focuses on the enmity between two houses that are always in direct opposition to each other: Gryffindor and Slytherin. Harry Potter, our heroic Gryffindor, is a model of what this house stands for: chivalry and courage. Draco Malfoy, Harry’s Slytherin arch-rival, is also a model of his house’s ideals: ambition and pure-blood supremacy. Even the two characters names reveal their allegiances.  Likewise, Professor Albus Dumbledore, a Gryffindor, and Lord Voldemort, the Heir of Slytherin, have names that were carefully chosen for their symbolic meaning.

Harry’s name could be thought of as the verb “to harry.” The term “to be harried” means to be harassed or distressed by repeated attacks,” as when Harry is harried by the many attempts Voldemort has made to kill him. The name Potter has symbolic meaning derived from the Bible, where God is referred to as a “potter,” as in Isaiah 64:8: “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we are all the work of thy hand.” (KJV) Other references to God as the “potter” can be found in Jeremiah 18:5-6 and Romans 9:20-21.

Harry, Hermione, and Ron are in Gryffindor House, the House of the Lion. Their friend Luna is in Ravenclaw House, but here Luna is showing her support for her friends on the Gryffindor Quidditch team by wearing her unique lion hat.

The name Albus Dumbledore means “white bumblebee.” An alb is the white garment worn by a Catholic priest, and dumbledor is an archaic word that means bumblebee. Tolkien made use of this word in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil in “Errantry,” a poem which tells of a diminutive hero who vanquished the giant insects in battle. (Tolkien Reader 214) According to the Bestiary of Christ, the bumblebee was a symbol of the soul’s survival after death. The bee disappears in winter and reappears in the spring, thus becoming a signifier of the Resurrection.

"Dumbledore means 'bumblebee' in old English and JKR said that she liked to think of him walking down the corridors, humming to himself, so I thought I'd draw him humming away to the first spring bumblebee."--fan artist penguin2006

Draco Malfoy, on the other hand, has a name that has very negative connotations. Draco is the Latin word for “dragon” or “serpent,” both traditional Biblical symbols of Satan, most notably the serpent who tempted Eve in the book of Genesis and the serpent described in Revelation 20:2, “…the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan…” (KJV) The surname Malfoy can be thought of as the French mal foi, which translates as “bad faith,” so Draco Malfoy’s name literally means “Dragon of Bad Faith” or “Serpent of Bad Faith.”

Draco Malfoy's Dark Mark.

            The most extensive serpent imagery associated with any one character in the novels is that imagery which surrounds the supreme villain, Lord Voldemort. He is a descendant of Salazaar Slytherin, the founder of Slytherin House. He, like his ancestor, is a parselmouth who can speak to snakes. Voldemort has a hairless, snake-like appearance, having two slit-like nostrils instead of a human nose.

Voldemort

His loyal minions, the Death Eaters, are each identified by the Dark Mark, a distinctive snake and skull tattoo. This is a symbol from Christian art: the skull and serpent are often depicted at the foot of the Cross of Calvary. The skull represents death, the punishment for the sin of Adam, and it is symbolic of the fallen nature of mankind. According to Jewish legend, Adam’s burial place was at Golgotha, the “place of the skull.” The skull at the foot of the cross was there to represent Adam’s skull, and the serpent was present as an allusion to Satan, the great tempter in the Garden of Eden who brought about the fall of mankind.

In this depiction of the Crucifixion by Fra Angelico, the skull of Adam is present at the foot of the cross.

As the teenager Tom Riddle, Voldemort opened the Chamber of Secrets and unleashed the great serpent, the basilisk, upon the Hogwarts School. The basilisk, or cockatrice, is another symbol of Satan which is mentioned in Isaiah 14:29 (KJV): “Out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.”  In The Bestiary of Christ, the basilisk is described as a symbol of Satanic evil. This is mentioned in a description of a little country church that was decorated with “the image of a knight on foot striking a helmeted basilisk with his sword. It is the struggle between Good and Evil, so often and variously depicted, and could be seen as Christ fighting with Satan.” (Bestiary 423) This imagery is found in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in the chapter that describes how Harry used the Sword of Godric Gryffindor to slay the basilisk.

The name Godric means “power of God,” reminding us that the Christian, like Harry, will not be abandoned in his or her fight with the Great Serpent. We have the “power of God” on our side in our conflict with the Dragon. Also note that the surname Gryffindor can be thought of as the French griffin d’or which means “griffin of gold.”  The griffin, according to the bestiaries, is a symbol of Christ because of its dual nature: it is both lion and eagle, just as Christ is both God and Man. The eagle is a creature of the heavens, symbolizing the divine nature of Christ, and the lion is a creature of the earth, representing Christ the Man. The griffin’s mastery of the earth and sky came to be associated with Christ’s Ascension. The griffin was, through its association with Jesus Christ, thought to be the enemy of serpents and basilisks who, as previously mentioned, are symbolic of the Devil.

Griffins from the recent film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

The eagle, mascot of Ravenclaw House, was a symbol of Baptism because the ancients believed the eagle’s life was renewed by plunging itself three times into a body of water, hence its depiction on Christian baptismal fonts. The eagle was often depicted as a slayer of serpents in many cultures, and thus viewed as an enemy of Satan. Its ability to soar to great heights was associated with Christ’s Ascension, as well as with St. John, the evangelist who was considered to be the most “intellectual” of the four gospel authors. This association of the high-flying eagle with great intellectual acumen may be the reason J.K. Rowling made it the mascot for Ravenclaw, whose motto is “Wit beond measure is man’s greatest treasure.” The eagles in Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have a brief but important role, used symbolically to represent Divine Providence or Divine Intervention.

"The Eagles are Coming" by fantasy artist Michael Whelan depicts the rescue of Frodo and Sam in The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien

That the Gryffindor mascot is a lion is not surprising; the lion is a Biblical symbol of Christ and a symbol of the Resurrection.  In Revelation 5:5 Jesus is referred to as “the lion of the Tribe of Judah.” The lion was also a symbol of the Resurrection to the early and medieval Christians because it was believed that lion’s cubs were born dead. When the cubs were three days old, the father lion breathed on them and brought them to life, just as Christ lay in the tomb for three days before the Resurrection. This same symbolism of Christ the Lion is used by C. S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia. The character of Aslan is a magnificent lion and a literary “Christ figure” who sacrifices himself to save the life of a human traitor. He is gloriously resurrected due to the workings of “Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time.” We know that Jo Rowling read and loved this story as a child, and I believe that Lewis’s Narnian Chronicles had an influence on the plot and symbolism of the entire Harry Potter series.

Aslan's dramatic resurrection in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Perhaps that is why Aslan’s colors are associated with Gryffindor House: Peter Pevensie’s shield was decorated with a red lion rampant, and his sword had a golden hilt. (LWW 160) Aslan’s army had tents of crimson and yellow, with banners depicting the red lion. (LWW 168) The colors of Gryffindor House are, of course, red and gold.

High King Peter, a knight of Narnia clad in Aslan's colors.

J.K. Rowling’s description of the Hufflepuff dormitories will seem familiar to fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: There are “little underground tunnels leading to the dormitories, all of which have perfectly round doors, like barrel tops,” she said in the Bloomsbury live online chat on July 30, 2007. This description sounds remarkably like the description Tolkien gave of Bilbo Baggins’ home, a comfortable hobbit hole called Bag End. Bilbo’s home is a cozy, luxurious tunnel-like construction with perfectly round doors.

Gandalf visits Bag End in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Hufflepuff House is known for the virtues of loyalty and hard work, and is represented by a badger mascot. Perhaps a Narnian influence can be detected here as well: in Lewis’ Prince Caspian the badger Trufflehunter is one of the Old Narnians that aids Caspian in the war with the wicked usurper, King Miraz. Trufflehunter the Badger is loyal to Aslan even in the darkest of times. Trufflehunter’s faith in the Great Lion remains strong, even when many other Narnians have ceased to believe. Likewise, there are many Hufflepuff students who are loyal to Harry: some are members of Dumbledore’s Army, and many more are among the large number of Hufflepuff students who stand alongside the Gryffindors and Ravenclaws who fight to defend the castle in the Battle of Hogwarts.

Loyal as a badger: Trufflehunter was known for his loyalty to Aslan in Chronicles of Narnia. Loyalty is also a virtue that the members of Hufflepuff House are known to display.
 Please subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss the next installment of “Harry Potter and the Bestiary of Christ,” which is entitled “The Slaying of the Unicorn.” If you would like to order a copy of The Lord of the Hallows: Christian Symbolism and Themes in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter by Denise Roper, the book can be obtained from www.outskirtspress.com/thelordofthehallows.

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Warner Brothers official Harry Potter site has been updated with new film clips from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and all of them look fantastic! These clips can be seen at http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/harrypotterandthedeathlyhallows. When you click on the site menu’s different selections, a new film clip will play as you go to each new page of the website. I strongly suspect that all of these clips are from the new trailer that is going to be released later today.

The tumblr blogger at  http://h0gwarts.tumblr.com/  is one of the many fans who has made gifs of the new film clips. Some of my favorites are these:

You can find a lot more of these (reblogged by me) on my Tumblr photo blog: http://phoenixweasley.tumblr.com/.

And thanks to http://rupelover.tumblr.com/ for posting these YouTube videos on Tumblr today. They are from the  YouTube channel.

Also from rupelover’s Tumblr is a photo that speaks for itself.

Word are inadequate to describe what I am feeling right now.

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These are some of the posters for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 that were released today. “It all ends”–what a depressing thought. I’m glad the twins finally have a poster of their own. I hate to imagine George without Fred. 😦

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Christian Symbolism in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One: Missed Opportunities

I have seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One twice now–first on opening day and again yesterday–and there is something that has been bothering me about the film for a week now. I am profoundly disappointed by the absence of the two Biblical quotations Rowling included in the novel and which were left out of the theatrical version of the film. The first was from Matthew 6:21.

Harry stooped down and saw, upon the frozen, lichen-spotted granite,  the words KENDRA DUMBLEDORE and, a short way below her dates of birth and death, AND HER DAUGHTER ARIANA. There was also a quotation: Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows page 325)

This inscription is from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, verse 21, which should be examined in the context in which it appears in the Bible: This quotation is from Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount.”

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21, NRSV)

We know that the tomb of Kendra and Ariana Dumbledore was designed for the film; a photo of it was published in the book Harry Potter Film Wizardry.

The quotation from Matthew 6:21 is visible at the bottom of the tombstone.

In an earlier blog post I explained the significance of the quatrefoil and the IHS which appear at the top of this grave marker. Here’s a quote from this earlier post: https://phoenixweasley.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/christian-imagery-in-deathly-hallows-film-photos-of-godrics-hollow-churchyard/

 

Quatrefoil: ubiquitous in Gothic architecture, the quatrefoil symbolizes the four evangelists, as do the Winged Man (Matthew), Lion (Mark), Ox (Luke), and Eagle (John) — the four beasts of Ezeckiel and the Apocalypse.

IHS: dating from the 8th c., this is an abbreviation for “IHESUS,” the way Christ’s Name was spelled in the Middle Ages (despite popular belief, the monogram stands neither for “Iesus Hominum Salvator” –”Jesus Saviour of Men” — nor for “In His Service.”) Popularized by St. Bernardine of Siena, the monogram was later used by St. Ignatius of Loyola as a symbol for the Jesuit Order.

I really missed seeing this Christian imagery in the theatrical version of the film. I also wanted the film makers to include more information about Dumbledore’s background and personal tragedies. Perhaps this need for more exposition in the film is the reason that the tomb of Kendra and Ariana was not shown in the theaters. Dumbledore felt a great deal of guilt about their deaths, a burden that he had to bear for the rest of his life. I think that Dumbledore learned a lesson that Voldemort had not been able to comprehend: his “treasures” were not possessions or objects of power, but the people that he loved. If they had included this Biblical quotation in the film, it could have been made to tie in nicely with Ron’s return. The light from Dumbledore’s deluminator went into Ron’s heart and then guided him back to the one he loves most: Hermione. Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.

The “heart” can also serve as a metaphor for the human soul. Where Voldemort’s “treasures” (the Horcruxes) are hidden is where Harry, Ron, and Hermione will find the Dark Lord’s “heart”– that is, the fragments of his torn and mutilated soul. They will be the thieves that break into Gringotts to steal the cup Horcrux in order to destroy it in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two.

The tombstone with the quotation from Matthew 6:21 is discussed briefly in the video game based on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One. (Harry remarks that he did not know that Dumbledore had a sister.) You can see a video of this part of the game in the blog post that I made yesterday: https://phoenixweasley.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/deathly-hallows-part-one-video-game-walk-through/ The Biblical quotation from Matthew 6:21 is not visible in the game walk-through however.

In the video game, Harry reads aloud the words inscribed on his parents’ grave marker–the second Biblical quotation Rowling included in the novel.

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

This is a quotation from 1 Corinthians 15:26. The quote can be seen on the Potters’ tomb in the theatrical version of the film but it is not discussed by Harry and Hermione as it was in the novel.

These photos of the Godric’s Hollow churchyard are from the Panini sticker book.

 

This is Rowling’s description of that scene which was omitted from the film:

Harry read the words slowly, as though he would have only one chance to take in their meaning, and he read the last of them aloud. “ ‘The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death’…” A horrible thought came to him, and with it, a kind of panic. “Isn’t that a Death Eater idea? Why is that there?”

“It doesn’t meaning defeating death in the way the Death Eaters mean it, Harry,” said Hermione, her voice gentle. “It means…you know…living beyond death. Living after death.” (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows page 328)

The theme of death and of life after death was one of the most important themes in the Harry Potter series. The omission of these lines from the film was a huge thematic flaw in my opinion.

Christian Symbolism in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One: What They Got Right

The theatrical cut of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One did have a certain amount of obvious Christian imagery, which was very well done. Early in the film, when Hermione has erased her parents’ memories of her and leaves home, she walks down the street in the direction of a building which may be a  church. (This is a scene that was not in the novel.)

When Harry and Hermione arrive in Godric’s Hollow, the sound of a church bell tolling can be heard as they walk down the street. When they arrive outside the graveyard we do hear the sound of singing inside of the little village church. The congregation is celebrating Christmas Eve. When Harry looks through the iron fence at the church graveyard and asks Hermione if she thinks his parents are in there, she assures him with confidence that they are. Once inside the churchyard there many are cross-shaped gravemarkers that are visible. There is no mistaking it: James and Lily Potter are buried in hallowed ground.

Then there’s the Sword of Godric Gryffindor:

The scene is as I described it in The Lord of the Hallows: Christian Symbolism and Themes in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.

It is on the day after Christmas that Harry and his friends begin to make real progress in accomplishing their mission to defeat Voldemort. Just as King Arthur’s knights followed the white stag through the forest to find the Grail Chapel, Harry followed the silver doe to a frozen forest pool where he saw a shape  like “a great silver cross” (DH 367).  It was the Sword of Gryffindor hidden beneath the ice. The sword is one of the most fundamental Christian symbols:

The Cross is God’s sword, held at the hilt by the hand of Heaven and plunged into the world not to take our blood, but to give us His. (Kreeft 224)              

Harry, while wearing the locket, tried to retrieve the sword, but the Horcrux around his neck began to choke him. It was when Harry began to drown that Ron returned to save his life. Proving himself to be a true Gryffindor, Ron pulled the sword from the water and severed the locket’s hold on Harry. Voldemort, like Satan the Father of Lies, made a desperate effort to claim Ron as his own, and Ron, like the weasel who strikes against the venomous serpent, was able to strike the first fatal blow against Voldemort by destroying the locket Horcrux with Gryffindor’s sword.

This quote was from page 81 of The Lord of the Hallows. The quote within the passage above which describes the Cross as God’s Sword is from Peter Kreeft’s wonderful book Catholic Christianity. J. K. Rowling herself described the Sword of Godric Gryffindor as being shaped like “a great silver cross” in the novel on page 367, (emphasis mine).

I gave chapter 8 of The Lord of the Hallows the title “Belief in God in the World of Harry Potter.” Here’s an excerpt:

“How in the name of heaven did Harry survive?” asked Professor McGonagall at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. (SS 12) This is the first of many examples of how the language of Christianity is used throughout the series. In book one there is a reference to the concept of sin in the warning given to those who would steal from the Gringotts goblins: “Enter stranger, but take heed of what awaits the sin of greed.” (SS 72) Harry, Ron, and Hermione even manage to escape from a deadly plant called the Devil’s Snare. (SS 277-278) In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Mr. Weasley asks, “Good lord, is it Harry Potter?” (CS 39) Draco refers to Harry as “Saint Potter, the Mudbloods’ friend.” (CS 223) Dumbledore even leads the Hogwarts students and faculty in “a few of his favorite carols” at Christmastime. (CS 212) In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban the manager of Flourish and Blotts says “thank heavens” (PA 53), Draco Malfoy says “God” (PA 113), Hagrid utters “Gawd knows.” (PA 274), and Remus Lupin says “My God.” (PA 363) Lupin also helps Harry learn the difference between losing one’s life and losing one’s soul. (PA 247) In these numerous references and in many others, there is evidence of a belief in the Christian God in the world of Harry Potter. (The Lord of the Hallows pages 69-70)

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Rowling’s use of Christian references and images becomes more obvious than in the previous novels. Good wizard characters say “thank God” (Harry on page 74, Molly on page 78, Ron on page 142), and there are jokes about a wizard being “saint-like” or “holy” (George on page 74). That George Weasley would call himself “holy” (“hole-y”) refers to his missing ear, which was cursed off during a battle with the Death Eaters. St. George was a Christian saint, who, according to pious legends, was a dragon slayer, taking up arms against Satan, who appeared to him in the form of a mighty serpent. (The Lord of the Hallows pages 72-73)

George’s “holy” joke is in the film, in a particularly well-acted scene between the Weasley Twins. I also noticed two exclamations of “Oh my God!” in the movie. The first was uttered by Ron Weasley when he is in disguise as Reg Cattermole at the Ministry of Magic. The second exclamation was made by Hermione Granger in the tent when she makes the realization that the Sword of Godric Gryffindor can destroy Horcruxes.  The Deathly Hallow known as the Resurrection Stone is also mentioned by Xenophilius Lovegood after Hermione reads aloud “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” I loved the animation which accompanied her narration, particularly the appearance of the Angel of Death who ascends to Heaven with the third brother at the tale’s conclusion. We have seen the Angel of Death in a Harry Potter film prior to this one, in the graveyard scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Yes, there are action figures. Is this the “Harry Potter and the Angel of Death” playset?

I am eagerly looking forward to the Christian themes and imagery that inevitably will be present in the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two. If you are interested in the topic of Christian symbolism, imagery, and themes in the Harry Potter series, please consider reading my book, The Lord of the Hallows, which is available from www.outskirtspress.com/thelordofthehallows.

Comments are welcome!

 

 

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