“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, February 26, 2010

Harry’s Selfless Love and Mercy

In the previous posts I described how Harry Potter is a Christ figure and explained in depth what I perceive to be beautiful Christian themes in Harry Potter. In the next few posts I will make a few final observations of other elements in the books, including: phoenix imagery, light and darkness imagery in The Prisoner of Azkaban, and themes of humanity and community. But first, some observations about Harry’s character:

  • Harry is “a remarkably selfless person” (DH ch. 35). This becomes clear when Dumbledore describes the uniqueness of what Harry sees in the mirror of Erised: “[The mirror showed] only the way to thwart Lord Voldemort, and not immortality or riches. Harry, have you any idea how few wizards could have seen what you saw in that mirror? Voldemort should have known then what he was dealing with, but he did not!” (HBP ch. 23) Harry desired only the defeat of his enemy, not his own gain – this reveals his remarkable humility.
  • Harry is “unusual” in his capacity for love; he “loves fiercely” and will protect his friends at great cost to himself.
  • Harry is merciful, saving the life of the man who betrayed his parents to their deaths (PoA 375). (Lord Voldemort, on the other hand, tells his followers “I do not forgive, I do not forget…I want thirteen years’ repayment before I forgive you.” (GoF 649).)
  • Harry accepts his own death, realizing that he “must die.”
These qualities make Harry shine even brighter as a Christ figure and are, in my view, among the highest virtues a person can have. They are all well worth pursuing.

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