I picked up the last book, not with the eagerness some had, but not with a sense of dread, either. It was merely a book to read, something to pass the time.
So I was quite upset with the quotes at the very beginning of the book. In fact, I probably would have thrown the book against the wall, had I not been afraid it would have hurt the sheetrock. I looked at the quotes again, and I did not have that same reaction, but I still cannot help but feel disgust. And yes, most of the disgust is directed toward the “We sing to you/ dark gods beneath the earth” in the excerpt by Aeschylus. Frankly, anything that can be taken as a prayer to demons (which that displays) should make a Christian shudder, in my opinion.
But enough of that.
In this book, Harry is as far from a role model as one could be. This is clear in his exchange with the Dursleys. Now, I know some will say, “The Dursleys were awful to him. They deserve what happens to them.” Perhaps they do, perhaps they do not. But it does not excuse Harry from saying things like “Are you actually as stupid as you look?” to his uncle. By doing that, he makes himself no better than the others.
I could also mention the situation with Griphook. He manages to procure the goblin’s help through carefully choiced words and deceit. Griphook could have the sword after he helped them break into Gringotts, but he would not be told exactly when he could have it. It was a half-truth. In other words, it was a lie. And yes, I know Harry said he didn’t care much for the idea, but the fact remains that he did go through with it. That says much about his character.
But at the end, Rowling has the nerve to make him something of a Christ-figure. It’s not a direct allegory, but it is definitely hinted at. He goes willingly to his death, without a struggle, sacrificing himself to rid the world of the evil that is Voldemort. The thought of an unregenerate man taking on these aspects of Christ’s character disgusted me. And here’s why:
Harry is himself evil. Throughout the series, he lies, deceives, and threatens family. These are not the attributes of one who is good. Yet we are expected to cheer for him, the one who has wallowed in filth from the first book. I have heard one person complain about using the term “evil” to describe Harry, asking instead we choose “dishonest” or some other softer word. But I cannot. Our world is one of black and white, where you must be either good or evil. There are those who walk in the darkness, and those who walk in the light [1 Thessalonians 5:5, implied; and 1 John 2:10-11]. One whose actions fly against the will of God cannot be in the light, and as such has no business being treated as a hero.
Now that I have written this, I am going to remove the Harry Potter books from my shelf. And while I’m at it, Salvatore’s books can go, too (more on that later). C.S. Lewis’ and Bryan Davis’ books are much more filling.