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