“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Harry Potter may be a strange, even controversial, theme for a Catholic Youth Ministry program event.  The Youth Leadership Team convinced me that we should hold a Tri-Wizard Tournament as our First Saturday activity this weekend.  It’s a BYOB (bring your own broom) event.  Indoor Quidditch, Scavenger Hunt through the Chamber of Secrets, Polyjuice Potion Charades, Capture the Horcrux, Muggles and Wizards…the ideas came fast and furious.  I am a little bit nervous, but it’s going to be fun.(I hope….)

Harry Potter has a wonderful, positive mesage.  If all you see is that it’s about magic or wizards, I think you miss the point.  Our daughter, Sarah, has often spoken of the Christian allegory of the books.  Last night I asked her if she would jot down a few of her thoughts for me.  I am sharing them with you today. (Did I mention my recessive gene for awesomeness?)

General Harry Potter Themes:
1.Love is the most powerful force in the world
2.Objective morality (there is good, there is evil)
3.There is a battle between good and evil
4. We must choose a side
5.We should choose the good
6. Those who choose the good do not fear death

Illustrative Quotes (all by Dumbledore)

“It is important to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated.”
Points: There is evil in the world. Humans cannot get rid of evil by themselves, but those of us who choose to side with the good must continue actively fight evil, even when it seems that we will fail, even when we do fail. We cannot give up hope.

“That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children’s tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped.”
Points: Good is stronger than evil. Even though evil is strong, stronger than us humans, it is doomed to lose this epic battle. Evil does not understand love, truth, and goodness (God), and although we are not as strong as evil, if we embrace love, truth, and goodness (God), we can fight evil, because love, truth, and goodness are stronger.

“Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love.”
Points: Love (God) is the one thing that can defeat Voldemort. There are parts of the series when Harry doubts the power of love, but when he finally decides to meet his death so that those who he loves won’t die, he makes the ultimate act of love, free of vengeance and selfishness, and this is what finally allows him to defeat Voldemort.

“To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”
Points: There is an afterlife. It’s a good thing if you have a “well organized mind.” “Organized mind” (as my Theology professor loves to point out – he’s a big fan of this quote) rings with the Platonic concept of a well-ordered soul – a soul that loves justice and can achieve true Happiness.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Points: We have free will. We are given the choice between good and evil, and it REALLY matters which side we choose. The Good guys (Harry and Dumbledore) stand for truth, love, and friendship and do not fear death. The Evil guys (Voldemort and the Death Eaters) stand for lying, hatred, and superiority and are scared as heck of death (Voldemort’s ultimate goal is to live forever, “death eater” connotes someone who is victorious over death). You can tell the difference between good and evil. You must choose a side. You should choose the good.

~ Sarah Neitz, University of Scranton, April 27, 2010


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14 Responses to ““It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.””

  1. ccblittle Says:

    #1: Recessive gene, my eye!
    #2: I hope you’ll share this post, or at least its content, with your youth!
    #3: Your Sarah should have a blog, I’m telling you! 🙂

  2. cyndie Says:

    definitely sharing with abbie : ) and, what chris said.

  3. Eileen Says:

    Proving once again that both you and Sarah are amazing.

    But if you next try to tell me about the underlying Christian themes in the Twilight series, I’m gonna really be annoyed!!! 🙂

    I haven’t read Harry Potter, nor seen the movie. Maybe some day. But your youth group sure sounds fun!

    • Noreen Says:

      Ha! I have already said that there is no need to even suggest that Twilight would be a good Chastity program theme!

      I can’t believe you haven’t read Harry Potter!

      • Annie Says:

        Oh, and there’s many more in Twilight: the good old theme of accepting others, not being too quick to judge others, and that ultimately love and respect are stronger bonds than fear.

  4. Sharon Says:

    I’ve never read the books but those sound like great points, Sarah!

    And Noney, have fun with your ambitious plans! That could turn into something big!

  5. It is our choices … « Everyday Feats of Courage Says:

    […] the Chamber of Secrets last night. Wowee! Here’s an interesting and locally grown bit of commentary on the series. Looking forward to the third […]

  6. James Says:

    “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

    About this last quote and what you said about it: I think, the context of the quote should also be considered. Yes, we must “choose” good over evil. But I’ve always felt this quote was about judging people or categorizing. There is a great amount of prejudice in this world (and one of the main themes in the HP series is about prejudice) especially against people who are different, people from the ‘hated’ country.

    I would say this quote tells us to judge people on their individual merit and their choices and their personality, ideology and thinking rather than what they are, from where they come from.

  7. Iva Says:

    “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
    I believe that this quote implies that no matter how smart or able people are (Tom Riddle was a Head boy at Hogwarts) this does not show their real personality. It is much more important how they use their abilities.

  8. Emeth Says:

    Apparently J K Rowling is a Christian and did deliberately write a Christian allegory, according to Seminary professor Jerram Barrs… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxySk24J_bs

  9. Melissa Lileas Says:

    Found this online….good article….

  10. Phil Says:

    absolutely awesome!!

  11. Saphexteni Says:

    “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

    I believe this quotation has an even broader meaning that what it’s centered around in the books. It’s not just about choosing good over evil, or social justice over judging (or whatever else could fit here).
    It’s just a matter of choosing, period. Choosing to do the right thing. Choosing to do something today rather than tomorrow. Choosing the help that person. Choosing to challenge yourself. It illustrates the importance that should be put on one’s choices, rather than one’s abilities. It doesn’t matter WHAT you can do if you DON’T do it, or at least, do it in the right way.

    And in relating to your own self growth- choosing is the key to everything. I always tie it back to something my father always told me: “To become a diamond, you need heat, pressure, and time.” This ties straight into choices- To become a diamond, you have to CHOOSE the heat. You have to CHOOSE to take on the pressure, and you have to CHOOSE to take on the test of time, while undergoing all those factors. It means choosing not to take the easy way out, but to take on the challenge- only then, can you become a “diamond.”

  12. Julie Says:

    @ Saphexteni,
    I love your father quote ” to become a diamond, you need heat, pressure, and time.” It really hit me at these moments in my life, especially everything seems falling a part. I am so glad that i found this quote at the right time 🙂
    Thanks for sharing with us.

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