While it’s doubtful this will truly be the end of all things Harry Potter since there’s already been speculation that J.K. Rowling will write more potential source material, this weekend is the moment that many movie fans have been patiently waiting for – the moment when Harry comes face to face with He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.
And really, aside from Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King back in 2003, I’m hard-pressed to recall another series finale that’s been more anticipated than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. But then again, I was a mere seven years old when Return of the Jedi released, so please forgive me if that seems wrong...
Whether you agree with my assessment on its placement in terms of cultural significance, however, the Harry Potter phenomenon has certainly kept audiences engaged for the long haul, a daunting task considering how quickly pop culture trends come and go. And for Christians, particularly, the series has also sparked lively debate, theological and otherwise, about a story with redemptive themes that also features young wizards and witches as protagonists.
Make no mistake, that battle of good and evil still wages on in the final chapter – just one of the many elements that’s made the “Harry Potter” series so attractive to the masses. Just ask Alyson McHargue, a junior studying journalism at Nashville’s Belmont University. For Alyson, and I'd imagine for a lot of fans, Harry’s story is often a reminder of the dark world we live in.
“I’ve always believed the series really isn't about witchcraft and wizardry at all, but rather about the ongoing battle between good and evil, a theme that we Christians deal with daily,” she says. “Humans are fallen beings and therefore can relate to the characters in Harry Potter when they struggle with sacrificing their own comfort for the good of others. The most unlikely of characters grow into the heroes of the story, just as Christ calls the most unlikely of us to do his work. Though the series is about a magical world, the story still reflects real people and their battle to overcome the darker side of themselves and those who have already given into that. The magic is just there for pure entertainment and evidence of J.K. Rowling's creativity.”
When the first Harry Potter book was released in 1998, Alyson’s mom, Teri McHargue, admittedly approached the series cautiously.
"There is danger in treating those who ‘dance with Satan’ lightly, as though evil is to be tolerated,” Teri says. “But as I read into the first book, and subsequent books, I realized that the real story is a classic struggle between good and evil. And in these stories, the ‘good’ are truly good. They have great character and great passion to see good win over evil. The evil characters in these stories are gruesome and monstrous, but what a stark reminder to believers that a spiritual battle is being waged against us every day by the prince of darkness Himself.”
Now on the eve of the film’s release, Alyson and Teri are looking forward to seeing Harry face the evil Lord Voldemort together. But as much as they’re anticipating the end of what’s been a “thrilling” journey, Teri is quick to admit she’ll be a little sad, too.
“Yes, it’s definitely bittersweet to think this will be the last Harry Potter movie. It’s how I felt when I read the last book,” Teri shares. “But my favorite memory about the series is not even about the stories themselves because there is just so much choose from, but the bond it gave me and my daughters as we shared the books and movies. What fun, fun times!”
Opening nationwide on Friday, July 15, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, is rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images.
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About the Writer
After graduating with a B.S. in Journalism from North Central University in 1998, Christa Banister moved from Minneapolis to Nashville, Tenn. and eventually started working at CCM Magazine/Salem Publishing in various editorial capacities as an editor, columnist and website guru for five and a half years. After that, she launched her own Dallas-based freelance writing company and writes for numerous clients including Salem Publishing, Crosswalk.com (she review movies for them each week), Christian Single, Christianity Today, Threads Media, Songs4Worship.com, PassAlong.com and also helped kickstart the first Christian music blog for MTV. In addition, she also writes bios for professional recording artists and authors and penned her first two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers for NavPress.
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