Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsI finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last night. What a superb book! The dénouement was everything that I could have hoped for and more, wrapping up the whole series beautifully. It becomes apparent that Rowling had this ending clearly in her sights from the very start of the first book. Also, if there are any doubts in anyone’s mind that Rowling self-consciously writes as a Christian, this book should answer them. I can’t wait until the Christian Harry Potter experts start to comment on this book. If you have not yet read the book, go and do so right away! If you have, add Hogwarts Professor and Sword of Gryffindor to your feed aggregator and follow their post-book discussions. They should be very interesting. Even when you have already read the books, I have no doubt that these bloggers will bring to your attention the inner dynamics of the series and help you to appreciate many more subtle details that you might have missed.

[BEWARE: the comments of this post may contain spoilers!!]

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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16 Responses to HP7

  1. Matthew says:

    Can I break the dam on spoilers?

    Molly Weasley’s cry before ending Bellatrix was AWESOME!!!!!!!!

  2. Al says:

    Yes, I loved that part! 🙂

  3. Al says:

    I was so impressed with the NT verses on the tombstones, and the clear connections that were made with the ringing in of Christmas Day later on. I was expecting strong Christian themes in the final book, but was really not expecting them to be so explicit.

  4. Matthew says:

    There were a lot of incredible moments and I’ll admit, I was overcome emotionally a time or two. Probably none more so than at Mrs. Longbottom’s words about Neville.

    As fast as I read it, I’ll probably have to go back and reread it to catch some of the more significant Christian themes. I thought it was a lot more explicit in this one.

  5. Al says:

    I can’t believe that I missed the significance of ‘King’s Cross’. It just didn’t really register when I read the chapter. Someone just mentioned it on another blog and suddenly the allusion makes sense. Wow!

  6. Matthew says:

    Yes. I was in a prayer meeting tonight when a lot of it came together for me, including King’s Cross. Harry willingly giving up his life, his “death” ultimately defeats Voldemort, the resurrection like return in the Forbidden Forest. “Harry is Alive!” And, of course, King’s Cross. Wow.

  7. Thanks for the link!

    What a tremendous book. And I agree with Alastair: I never expected the Christian content to be so specific. This debate is over. She was so explicit with Christian references, I can’t imagine how anyone could complain again (they will, but it’ll be all the more ludicrous).

    Yes, King’s Cross was a brilliant move. There were actually three cross moments. The two others: When Harry carved a cross in the tree over Moody’s buried eye, and when he saw the sword in the pool and thought it was a “silver cross.”

    Brilliant book. I’ve started analyzing over at Sword of Gryffindor.

  8. garver says:

    Just finished. Wow. Great book. Three of my primary inklings about the final book turned out to be correct too!

  9. Al says:

    I was wondering how closely the Deathly Hallows are supposed to be associated with the three temptations of Christ. That some connection exists seems clear enough to me. They would seem to promise a way for Harry to achieve his mission without the ‘cross’. However, could it be closer than that?

    Following the account in Matthew 4, the Resurrection Stone corresponds with the first temptation (stones into bread). The temptation is that of restoring life in the wrong and unnatural manner (‘man shall not live by bread alone…’). Being driven purely by a hunger for holding onto life (both your own and those close to you) is wrong. Admittedly, this one is a bit of stretch. Perhaps someone has a better idea on this one.

    The second temptation (Christ casting himself down from the temple, confident in his Father’s protection) is far more clearly related to the Invisibility Cloak. The Invisibility Cloak is the ‘father’s protection’. Just as Christ is tempted to presume on the protection of his father and avoid the suffering of the cross, so Harry could rely on the Cloak of his father’s and avoid his fate, even when his ‘hour’ has come (quite literally).

    Jesus walked, as it were, invisible though many crowds seeking to kill him (Luke 4:30; John 7:30; 8:59; 10:39) and could have done so again. However, both Christ and Harry have to step out from under the protection of their fathers’ cloak and face evil alone.

    The resurrection stone might also relate in some way to this temptation. The spirits of Harry’s friends and relations help him as he approaches death, playing a role similar to that of the angel in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to Christ’s death (Luke 22:43). Jesus could have had spirits to minister to him throughout his sufferings and could have appealed to a legion of angels to fight his battle with him (Matthew 26:53). However, he must fight the final battle alone. Harry is in a similar position, being ministered to by the spirits of friends and family as he approaches death, something that he has to be prepared to lose as he faces his enemy alone.

    The Elder Wand corresponds to the final temptation (rule over the kingdoms of the world on condition of worshipping Satan). The Elder Wand gives the greatest power in the world to its owner, being the means by which the owner can rule over all others. Jesus is tempted to grasp at rule in the wrong way. However, he must undergo the self-sacrifice of the cross. Only then will Satan be disarmed and the rule be given to him as its rightful possessor. Much the same thing happens with Harry. He must resist chasing the wand before it is given to him as its rightful possessor following his self-sacrifice.

    Harry, like Christ, is given three temptations to pursue a ‘crossless’ victory. However, as he takes the way of the ‘cross’ he becomes the rightful owner of all. The last enemy of Death is defeated, but not by means of the tools that Death himself offers.


  10. Al says:

    I was also wondering whether Rowling was trying to make a point with the character of Pius Thicknesse as the puppet Minister of Magic. His name is certainly suggestive of something like that.

  11. Nathan Banek says:

    Great thoughts on the way of the cross and the temptations of Christ. Book 7 in particular and the whole story of the series in general holds strong parallels to Matthew 16:25-26. In light of your comments above, I ought to have been starting at 16:24.

  12. David Kirkman says:

    After reading the book I did a bit of google search because I was wondering about all the Christian imagery and came across this quote from an interview in 2000:

    “Is she a Christian?
    ”Yes, I am,” she says. ”Which seems to offend the religious right far worse than if I said I thought there was no God. Every time I’ve been asked if I believe in God, I’ve said yes, because I do, but no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that, and I have to say that does suit me, because if I talk too freely about that I think the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what’s coming in the books.””

    HOW TRUE IS THAT! Why didn’t I start wondering before?

  13. David Kirkman says:

    The other interesting ‘Christian’ thread is that of faith in Dumbledore. Several times Harry realises that he had to choose whether to believe and trust in the Dumbledore he knew (however partially) or believe those he knew to be liars (Rita S etc) in the supposed search for unbiased truth.

    That’s poorly put but there we go.

  14. Matt says:


    Do you think we can find a Mount of Transfiguration moment, since Harry clearly discusses his “exodos” with Dumbledore, as well as with his family, whom he summons up with the Resurrection Stone?

    The anti-HP evangelicals will probably fix on this stone as an instance of “necromancy.”

  15. Al says:

    I hadn’t thought of that. That is quite an interesting possibility. I like it.

  16. josh says:

    why doesn’t this post show on your site?

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