Stay Dead, Harry Potter

Apparently there’s this kids book coming out very soon that’s become quite popular with older readers who have reading disabilities. I think it’s called Harry Potter — wait! — I kid, I kid. Please don’t set my computer on fire. I’ve just never managed to become involved in the whole phenomenon.

I do however have an opinion on young Mr. Potter’s coming death, or non death. It’s too late for pleading, I know, but Mrs. Rowling, I really hope you haven’t tried to finish off Harry by making him the eight-millionth lame Christ figure in popular entertainment of recent memory. I just — I’m bored of it, all right? It always seems forced and it just doesn’t rate. If I hear that Harry Potter so much as gets a sniffle that miraculously disappears when all hope is lost, I’ll be very disappointed.

You seem like a fairly smart lady, you should know that a magic trick isn’t a mystery and the connections it makes to real mystery — when a surface gloss of motion, the form-filling Christ-making of recent popular heroes (unusual initiation, check, finds strange new friends, check, one of them is suspicious, check, appears to die, check) — are only paper chains.

I hope Harry doesn’t turn out to be deathly hollow.

That said, remember when Keanu Reeves came back to life at the end of that Matrix movie? That was like, so cool.

More: Here’s a link to a short AP article that relates Harry’s impending doom (or not) to other traditions.

17 responses to “Stay Dead, Harry Potter”

  1. The impending doom Christ figure? I never looked at it that way before and now I can think of a number of books with endings like that!!

  2. You’re a brave one Mr. Grinch! Writing such a post about the beloved Harry Potter and Author! More green eggs and ham for you Ian! Oh my, that virtual green ham doesn’t look done enough; here let me help ignite your PC! Or would that be to much hell, brim and fire, as your Readers may have to wait an eternity for you to resurrect your computer. (All in fun my Friend, all said in fun! Wouldn’t want to rile your evil twin – lol)

  3. Doomed Christ figure?

    I thought it was Neville.

    Still do.

  4. I’m sure there will be PhD dissertations on religion and Harry Potter in years to come.

  5. Now why would you do that? Compare the poor Harry with Christ I mean, when you have so many other brave examples of returning from the death, or going on living one way or the other after death… more connected with magic than a Christ figure. Let’s take a look at Orpheus who charmed Hades with his lyre and managed to come back (sadly alone) from the land of the death. OK, you’ll say he was not dead… Then what about Osiris? This one was dead and cut into pieces… just to become the king of the underworld. I see an Osiris type of Harry coming next… He he!

  6. Heather, I can’t vouch for my guess at Harry’s status, right, I’ve never read the things. Although I think I watched the first two movies.

    ND, no one flamed me! I’m actually kind of surprised.

    Wait, Neville who, Clemens? Is that someone from the book or are we talking about Neville Chamberlain? He has the same physical look as a lot of the medieval Christ figures.

    Welcome to Upper Fort Stewart, Literary Lotus. I think I’d be afraid to read some of those dissertations.

    Harry already is an Osiris figure, Mihaela. Every year he rises again in a grand pageant and is chopped up into a million pieces for easy consumption — a piece for the bookstores, a piece for the toy store, a piece for the clothing line, etc.

  7. Despite your neatly written piece (which makes for a good reading) I still like the output of Mrs. Rowling.
    Having read the past 6, and though not waiting for the latest with baited breath (haven’t preordered my copy!), I will some day sample the deathly hallows. Remains to be seen whether it will change my views on JKR.

  8. Don’t worry, Rajas. I’ll have to read them someday. My son will want to read them when he’s nine, I’m sure. I can’t let him get ahead of the old man that early, can I?

  9. Sorry, but this is one of my pet peeves. Just as it could be trite to kill Harry off in a noble gesture of sacrifice, I think its also trite to always make the Jesus comparison.

    I’m with Clemens – I think it might be Neville. I don’t think Harry is going to die.

    I can’t believe you haven’t read the books! They’re so much better then the movies. The first two aren’t spectacular, but from the third one on they’re fantastic.

  10. Please, who is Neville. I really don’t know.

  11. He’s a secondary character. He goes to school with Harry and the rest of them, he’s in the same grade. He’s been in all of the movies – he’s the awkward looking boy with the funny teeth. He’s bumbling and timid but he’s acted very bravely (in the books).

    The prophecy that Sybill Trelawney made could have applied to either Neville Longbottom or Harry as they were born within 1 day of each other. Voldemort *chose* Harry – the non-pureblood – as his opponent, which suggests that he believes Harry is the one who will be his downfall. But technically it *might* still be Neville:

    “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…”

  12. Thanks, Anactoria. So it’s not Neville Chamberlain then. I bet he would’ve totally smoked Voldemort.

  13. Trite to make the Jesus comparison??

    Like it or not, we’re the heirs of 1,900-odd years of Christian literature, and the “Christ figure” archetype is woven into our culture. You can follow Frazier and claim that Christ is simply a more recent manifestation of an even older mythic figure (Osiris or Baldur or whoever you want) but I think it’s totally legit for Ian to draw that parallel. (If that is indeed how things turn out.)

  14. But the “Christ figure” or sacrifice story comes from more places then just Christianity. Its not like Christianity has some sort of a copyright on the concept…

    “You can follow Frazier and claim that Christ is simply a more recent manifestation of an even older mythic figure (Osiris or Baldur or whoever you want)”


    I didn’t mean to attack Ian. Sorry, Ian! :o)

    Its just that comparing Harry to Jesus has been done so many times already that I think it *has* become at least a little trite.

    However, Ian – as a non-obsessive Harry Potter fan/nerd – would not know this, of course.

    Therefore, I hope he will forgive my taking issue with the comment! 🙂

  15. Personally I think you can really only make Christ, Osiris, Baldur and whoever else look like each other by squinting really hard and ignoring important details of each story. But, point taken.

  16. No worries, Anactoria. No offense taken. I assumed you thought the argument was trite. Not me personally. Anyway, I’ve been rewarded (and it really is a reward) with an awesome, friendly comment argument. So thanks, Anactoria — and Elliot, too, of course.

  17. You’re welcome! And here’s to many more arguments on your blog in the future! ;o)

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