The New Commandment and Covenant Revealed through Harry Potter

*This post contains Harry Potter spoilers*

John 13:34-5 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

After an early quiet start in St Peters Church for the 8am service, I’ve spent most of the day working on the film part of one of my modules, where I was asked to analyse a recent film for its theological themes. If you know me well, you’ll know I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to study Harry Potter; so my film analysis is on the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. I’ve written 5 and a half pages of notes today (don’t worry I’m only half a page’s worth of noted thoughts today), and that’s only on this film, and that isn’t everything either, the notes I did today are just some thoughts which apply to my particular area of analysis. So if you haven’t read or seen Harry Potter, I thoroughly recommend it, and you should bookmark this post and come back when you have read/seen them so as not to receive major spoilers!

Here’s my viewpoint. Personally, I see Albus Dumbledore as a Father figure. We all love him and see him as a nurturing parent to orphans – Harry embodies the Son, shortly after birth already prophesied as The Chosen One who will redeem people from Voldemort, the Dark Lord (who embodies Sin). In the final book and the two final films we begin to see a Dumbledore who we are tempted to doubt. There are things about him that we didn’t know, behaviour revealed that we don’t understand; with people asking Harry if he really knew Dumbledore at all, if he could really be trusted. And so is the temptation in the loneliness that Harry feels trying to fight the darkness that has swamped so much of their world. Harry continues to put his faith in Dumbledore, even when towards the end of the film it is revealed through Snape’s memories (Harry being the Collector of Tears) that Dumbledore had known from Harry’s birth that he would die “at the proper moment” to save the people from Voldemort (Sin).

Harry dies. He talks with Dumbledore who welcomes him happily and remarks on how brave and strong he has been. Dumbledore says: “Do not pity the dead Harry, pity the living. And above all, those who live without love.” Harry is resurrected. He returns to life with these words, and as always remains compassionate. Despite all that Voldemort has done, he calls him by his first name, Tom, humanising him. And when Tom dies, even then Harry is not the final cause, he uses a defensive spell and Tom’s own spell meant to finally kill Harry takes his own life.

Harry has the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand ever to be in existence with which he could be invincible and rule over the world. But he does not. Instead he does what Dumbledore (previous owner of the wand) did not. He breaks the wand in half and throws it away. With this there is a new covenant. That we must love one another as Harry did. As God did revealed in the human body of Christ. Dying, coming back and breaking the wand, suffering on the cross, dying, resurrecting and coming back to remind his followers of the gift of Spirit, Harry and Jesus Christ have a great deal in common. In breaking the wand Harry took away one last time the image of power that he could have held, and made the world a freer, loving place of equality. Harry became one of us. God showed himself to be one of us in Christ.

We must remember Harry and Christ’s compassion and mercy. I see the Holy Spirit of the Harry Potter world to be the magic. That which enables the wand to choose the wizard, the sorting hat to suit the student – the Holy Spirit gives us direction with which to best understand and utilise our gifts. “Help will always be given at Hogwarts…”

Yes this really was only half a page of handwritten notes. Looking forward to my dissertation!

This week’s song of the week adapted from Psalm 32-3, composed by Ludovico da Viadana, arranged by Carlo Giacco:

Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just; praise befits the upright. Give praise to the Lord on the harp; sing to him with the psaltery, the instrument of ten strings. Sing to him a new canticle, sing well unto him with a loud noise. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just; praise befits the upright.

(William Mahrt translation)

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