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Christian Lessons from the Half-Blood
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
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.
“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
“Once again, Lord Voldemort fails to grasp that there are
more terrible things than physical injury.” (Chapter 26,
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
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
The Power of Love
“‘You have a power that Voldemort has never had. You
“‘I know!’ said Harry impatiently. ‘I
can love.’ . . . ‘Yes, Harry, you can love,’
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
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