#14 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

22 Apr

I am going to go out on a limb here to discuss the spirituality in the Harry Potter series.  I may be ridiculed for my words, but this is my opinion and what I take from the series, and isn’t that what reading is about?  Your experience in reading?

It is no secret that this series is about the triumph of good over evil.  Understandably so, since the witchcraft and wizardry can be used for terrible acts, healing acts and downright funny things (enter the Weasley twins).  Most people in the wizarding world are just going about their business and trying to raise families or run a business.  Others may use their powers for trickery, stealing and other shenanigans.  And then there are wonderful people like Dumbledore and McGonagall, who have committed their lives to teaching young witches and wizards.  A lot of these themes remind me of religious communities, in which some become priests and pastors, others have “normal” jobs but do their best to represent God in their daily life, and others abuse the religious communities to have their way in things.

Another comparison that comes to mind is regarding the subject of the dementors.  Seemingly evil creatures, they are still allowed to protect the Azkaban prison, even though there is very little proof that they can be controlled by witches and wizards.  There are many ideas that have entered religious communities that are wrong, but for some reason are believed to be true and good (i.e. works-based salvation, health-and-wealth gospel).  Once these off-base ideas are introduced as okay, there is no telling where people will end up.

And the ultimate comparison: Harry Potter a.k.a. the savior of the wizarding world.  Please read this paragraph with a bit of humor as I obviously do not believe that Harry Potter is the same as Jesus Christ.  However, there are a lot of correlations.  First of all, why was Harry protected from Voldemort when he first tried to kill him?  Love.  Why was Jesus introduced to the human world?  Love.  Did the wizarding community expect Harry to have as much success against Voldemort as he did?  No.  Did the Jewish community honestly believe that Jesus was their savior?  No.  Did Harry have doubts about himself and need reassurance from Dumbledore?  Yes.  Did Jesus have doubts and need encouragement from the Father?  Yes.

I find it easy to draw spiritual correlations in what some might call ‘secular’ places in the world and I take great joy in that.  It is simply a reminder that God is everywhere, whether we acknowledge that or not.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

by J.K. Rowling

Originally published in 1999


Posted by on April 22, 2011 in top 100 children's books


2 responses to “#14 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  1. sharon

    April 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    …And ultimately (in book 7)Love triumphing over Death — again Harry is no risen Savior, but I found similar themes when I read the HP books as well.

    I sometimes wonder if I read too much into these books, so i was glad to read this. Thanks.

  2. Yehudis

    April 24, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I love the happy potter book. My family owns all the books and we read them over and over. I thought my family was extreme Harry Potter fans but I guess there are more obsessed people out there. Further more, why did you decide to review the third Harry Potter book now? From my experience people are more into the seventh movie at this time and talking about the books is not as common for a while.


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