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'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince'
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The views expressed in this article is the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Broadcasting Network. Leading Christian thinkers have disparate views on the Harry Potter products, and how Christians should respond to them. We have offered several different viewpoints on our site so that you, the reader, can prayerfully decide what is the correct response for your family.

Visit our special section: The Harry Potter Controversy.

 
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'A Parent's Guide to Harry Potter'

 
HARRY POTTER

Christian Lessons from the Half-Blood Prince

By Gina Burkart
Author, A Parent’s Guide to Harry Potter

CBN.com - Like more than 6 million readers, I pre-ordered my copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I pondered what its pages would hold. What direction would Harry take in year six of Hogwarts? What new information would be revealed in his battle of good vs. evil? What lessons would be learned?

As I immersed myself in the book, I again found myself connecting with Harry. I found it eerie how the Prime Minister’s conversation with the Minister of Magic paralleled so many recent events—especially since the bombings at King's Cross (location of Platform 9 ¾) happened so closely to the release of the sixth book. Needless to say, Tony Blair held up much better to the tragedies than the fictional Prime Minister. I quickly scribbled a note in my book about the connection so I would later remember to ask my children about it sometime in the future when we were reading together. I believe it may give me a window into how they are perceiving and reacting to recent world events.

Other lessons presented themselves as well. The sixth book gives us the opportunity to talk about souls, eternal life, death and loss, coming of age, relationships, friendship, fears, school, war, tragedy, and much more. Importantly, this book continues to emphasize the power of love. Not only is it woven throughout the entire book, several pages are devoted to the subject. This is important because love is the foundation of the Christian faith. God is love. Thus, it is God that Voldemort cannot understand, and it is God who protects and lives on in Harry.

Pope Benedict’s letters from a few years ago (before he was pope) voice concern that Harry Potter has the potential to undermine Christianity. Unfortunately, everything in life has the potential to undermine Christianity. It is our responsibility to bring our faith to all we encounter. Likewise, we should teach our children to do the same. I have found many Christian connections in the Harry Potter series. The sixth book is no different. Here are just a few opportunities present in the new book that could be used to connect the story with Christianity. I have found that stopping and talking about these types of connections with my children brings us closer together, encourages them to talk to me about their lives, and develops Christian critical thinking.

Christian Connections in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The following excerpts from Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince can be used to begin and lead discussions that will help develop Christian critical thinking skills.

Christ’s Gift of Eternal Life
Dumbledore tells Harry: “There is nothing to be feared from a body, Harry, any more than there is anything to be feared from the darkness. Lord Voldemort, who of course secretly fears both, disagrees. But once again he reveals his own lack of wisdom. It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” (Chapter 26, Page 566)

We often fear death because we don’t know what the afterlife will be like. Jesus’ words of reassurance that we will have life after death with him calm us and soothe our fears. As Christians, we believe the soul is important—not the body. Jesus’ death on the cross protects us from death and darkness. Dumbledore points out that Voldemort unwisely fears the body and darkness.

Walking in Light/Gifts of the Holy Spirit
“However, like many creatures that dwell in cold and darkness, they fear light and warmth, which we shall therefore call to our aid should the need arise.” (Chapter 26, Page 566)

At Baptism, we are born into the light. The light helps us to follow Christ and lead others to him. The Holy Spirit guides us and helps us to find our way through the darkness. Satan and his follows live apart from God in darkness—they fear the light. Voldemort lurks in the darkness and fears the light.

Seeing God’s Goodness in Others
“Was this more of Dumbledore’s insane determination to see good in everyone?” (Chapter 26, Page 569)

God calls us to look for the good in everyone. Christ calls us to even love our enemies. He ministered to all people—even the sinners. Harry struggles with Dumbledore’s continued trust in Snape. We must also strive to see the good in everyone—even those who are unkind to us.

Free Will
“You see, the prophecy does not mean you have to do anything! But the prophecy caused Lord Voldemort to mark you as his equall. . . . In other words, you are free to choose your way, quite free to turn your back on the prophecy.” (Chapter 23, Page 512)

God gives us free will. He knows what we will do, but we always have the free will to choose our own actions. We can choose to do good or evil. God planned for Jesus save us from sin, but Jesus had the free will to choose to die on the cross. He chose to be crucified because he loves us and wanted us to have forgiveness and eternal life. Harry is free to choose whether or not he will fight Voldemort, just as Voldemort chose to mark Harry as the chosen one.

Spiritual Death/Sin
“Once again, Lord Voldemort fails to grasp that there are more terrible things than physical injury.” (Chapter 26, page 559)

Sometimes we fear physical injuries to our bodies. We know that it is spiritual death and injury that we should fear most. Lord Voldemort places more emphasis on the physical body and this world. This foreshadows that his preoccupation with his body may be his downfall.

Finding God in Others
“‘I am not worried, Harry,’ said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. ‘I am with you.’” (Chapter 26, Page 578)

This reminds us that even the small and weak can lead us and guide us. Dumbledore finds strength and comfort in Harry’s presence. We are also reminded of Christ’s promise to be with us always.

Love even Our Adversaries
“‘I appreciate the difficulty of your position,’ said Dumbledore. ‘Why else do you think I have not confronted you before now?’ Because I knew that you would have been murdered if Lord Voldemort realized that I suspected you.’” (Chapter 27, Page 591)

Dumbledore shows concern for Malfoy even when Malfoy is threatening to kill him. Dumbledore attempts to save Malfoy from evil and darkness despite the danger of the situation. He places Malfoy’s safety above his own. This models Jesus’ teachings and example. Christ placed us before himself. He died and rose for our salvation.

Forgiveness and Mercy
“‘No, Draco,’ said Dumbledore quietly. ‘It is my mercy, and not yours, that matters now.’” (Chapter 27, Page 592)

Dumbledore realizes that he must forgive Malfoy. Only evil comes from hate and grudges. Hating Malfoy could lead Dumbledore to the dark side. Hate also causes us to be separated from God and may result in spiritual death. We most love others and forgive everyone no matter what the physical risks may be.

Life after Death
“Bright, white flames had erupted around Dumbledore’s body and the table upon which it lay: Higher and higher they rose, obscuring the body. White smoke spiraled into the air and made strange shapes: Harry thought, for one heart-stopping moment, that he saw a phoenix fly joyfully into the blue, but next second the fire vanished.” (Chapter 30, page 645).

If we accept Jesus as our savior and live according to Jesus’ teachings, we will rise to an eternal life with God. The bright, white flames symbolize the goodness of Dumbledore’s actions and his rise to a new life. The phoenix is also a symbol of eternal life.

The Power of Love
“‘You have a power that Voldemort has never had. You can—’”
“‘I know!’ said Harry impatiently. ‘I can love.’ . . . ‘Yes, Harry, you can love,’ said Dumbledore.”

Like Harry, we too forget how important and powerful love is. God calls us to do everything in love. There is a reason for this. God is love. And God is all powerful. With God all things are possible, and thus by acting in love we are allowing God to do his work. Love makes all things possible. Dumbledore does not have love. He does not understand it and unwisely underestimates it. Love protects Harry from evil. Thus it is God that is protecting Harry—not magic. God also protects us.

Dressing Our Children in Spiritual Armor
While the media is once again trying to connect a rise in the occult with Harry Potter and digging out and misusing old letters from our new pope, we can find ways to dress our children in the armor of Christ. What does that entail? It means that we guide our children through society. It means that we dialogue with them about what is going on in the lives and in the world. We help them make sense of life. We get to know them personally as God knows each of us. We connect all aspects of our life back to our Christian faith. We help them to develop Christian critical thinking skills.

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