$168.5 million dollars…
I want that number to have a chance to sink in. That’s lottery money. That’s the kind of money that neither you or I will ever see our lifetimes. That’s more than the GDP of some developing countries. And that is how much Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 grossed in its first three days in the box office, shattering all previous opening day and opening weekend records.
Some of that money was mine. I was there, at midnight, the night it opened. I was back again on Sunday night. I admit it, I am a fan. I own all the movies, and have both read and own all of the books. They have my nerdy flare. And so I enjoy them.
Beyond my leanings towards all things nerdy (i.e. Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Transformers, Harry Potter, etc.), the phenomena that is Harry Potter cannot be ignored. Its hard to believe that seven books, the first of which was released nearly 15 years ago, by a first-time author who was only trying to write a story for her children, turned into the fastest selling books series in history selling over 450 million copies in 67 languages. Not only that, it spawned eight movies grossing billions, and the entire brand has a current estimated worth of $15 billion.
As believers in Christ, it could be easy for us to dismiss this all as the once again silly and Godless leanings of the world. They are witches and wizards relying on personal and mystic powers instead of the power of God. Isn’t it just like the world to look for power elsewhere?
Yes, it is. It is like the world to look for power elsewhere. But shouldn’t it be just like us to find God elsewhere?
The picture I attached to this blog is of the three main characters of the series, Harry Potter (played by Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Grainger (played by Emma Watson), and Ron Weasley (played by Rupert Grint). I used this picture because it best illustrates what this story is really all about, the best of people. The wizarding world was merely a backdrop to an even greater story. The author, J.K. Rowling, could have chosen any scenario to place her story in and it would have been successful; military school, fire academy, seminary, because her story is not dependent on the magic. It’s dependent on the great qualities of our loving God which shines through us all:
You see, the story isn’t about Harry Potter. Its about Harry, Hermione, and Ron. Its about the three of them working through and building lasting friendships that will see them through anything. A number of times in various ways these three bare each other’s burdens. They care for each other when they are sick. They buy for each other when they are poor. They comfort each other when they experience loss and heart ache. The thing that keeps me coming back and reading the books and watching the movies again and again has nothing to do with magic. It has everything to do with that innate part of me, given by God to be in relationship with others. The most powerful thing in all of the Potter series is not Avada Kadavra, the killing curse, but the friendship of those three kids!
As believers we are all a part of the family of God. We are also instructed to be faithful to our families. The Potter series illustrates this beautifully. Potter is faithful and obedient to his aunt and uncle who raise him, even in the face of their hatred towards him for being different. The Weasleys show love and affection, constantly working hard to make sure that everyone in their family of eight is cared for emotionally and materially. The Graingers, who are not magical either, support their daughter in her endeavors, and when the time comes, out of her great love for them and desire to keep them safe, Hermione wipes their memories of her in order to protect them from evil. Beyond their blood-families, they have extended families that they show loyalty to. Family is something that we believers should love and cherish when it is found.
Finally, love is the cornerstone of this series. When evil approached Harry as an infant, it was the love of his mother, who sacrificed herself for him that allowed him to live. It was the love that he had for his students that ultimately led to the death of the school’s headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, in order to keep his students safe. It was the love of his best friend that allowed Professor Snape to play a part he did not want to play and ultimately die to protect her son, Harry. It was the love he had for his friends that led Harry into the woods to die to save his friends. Sacrificial love is the bedrock of this series, and constantly illustrated as Christ said, “Greater love has no man than he who lays down his life for his friends.”
Some of you will undoubtedly say that I have blinded myself or concocted these thoughts in an effort to justify my enjoyment in this otherwise demonic series. And itis your right to have that opinion. In my opinion, it is merely literature. Literature however which illustrates the best qualities given to us by a God that exhibits the same qualities. I hope that if you choose to read these books and/or watch the films that you will see them as I see them, a reminder of all that is great that God has given us. I hope that they will help you appreciate the gifts of friendship, family, and love that are present in your life. I hope they will inspire to you courage and loyalty in life’s most pressing times. These are God’s gifts to us, once again illustrated to my by the Boy-Who-Lived…