The Hidden Key to Harry Potter [Paperback]
by John Granger
Hold on to your Sorting Hat! In Hidden Key to Harry Potter, John Granger (no relation to Hermione) presents his thesis that J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books are written from a Christian perspective and belong on the shelf next to C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. While this book would have benefited from better editing, the ideas presented are intriguing and challenge popular assumptions about the Harry Potter series.
From the back cover:
"The Hidden Key demonstrates that all the Potter books teach Christian doctrines - sometimes with subtlety, often baldly - in their plot, imagery, and character development. Lambasted by critics who have not read her books closely or are unfamiliar with traditional Christian literature, Ms. Rowling's genius has been overlooked despite her books' success."
Zossima Press (January 2003). Trade paperback. 364 pages.
Author Web Site(s): http://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/
Check out reviews at Amazon.com of The Hidden Key to Harry Potter.
John Granger isn't the first to point out the Christian content of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. But his reasoning is the most in-depth. He uses a wide range of sources to back up his belief that the books are on an equal footing with Lewis' Narnia series and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. He goes past the obvious similarities and digs deeper to make it clear that the Potter books have a lot of good to offer, and no harm -- except in the eyes of those who are looking for it.
According to HKHP, there is a lot of oblique Christian symbolism in the Potter books. The philosopher's stone (the UK title), red lion, unicorn, phoenix, stag, centaur, and hippogriff have all been used at various times to show different aspects of Jesus Christ. Including Christian themes in literature is a tradition that Ms. Rowling is following. The Greats, from Shakespeare to Tolkien, have all done this. Their books entertained, and they also instructed.
Mr Granger divides his book into four telling parts:
1. "Taking Harry Seriously";
Critical Response to Harry Potter
Harry Potter 101, or the Maps and Influences Chapter
Prejudice in Harry Potter
Death and Bereavement in Harry Potter
2. "The Secret of Harry Potter"
Choice in Harry Potter
Transfiguration, Transformation and Alchemical Transmutations in HP
The Symbolist Outlook
Story and Character Symbolism in Harry Potter
Symbols of Christ in Harry Potter
The Ironic Secret of Harry Potter
3. "The Meaning of Harry Potter: a Book-by-Book Look"
Each chapter gives 15-20 pages to an in-depth analysis of its book. Others deal with the titles.
4."What Will Happen with Harry?"
Mr. Granger speculates about the future of the series, as well as hidden natures of various characters, including the enigmatic Severus Snape.
Mr. Granger presents a persuasive case for Harry as Christlike figure, showing his depth of character as he grows and learns (Luke 2:52 says, "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."). His place in the war between good and evil shows he's no ordinary hero, but one with depth and substance beyond the typical adolescent. His sacrifices, his willingness to place life above the law prove this. In the first book he risks his life to save a friend. (John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."). At the end of every book, he is nearly killed, and comes back from near-death to prevail. Sound familiar?
While the editing could be a bit tighter, this book is a solid resource for HP fans who want to defend the books.
Reviewed August 1, 2003 for Edenstar by Bill Bader.
Product Code: 1178