As the last book opens, we learn that war has broken out in the wizarding world, and Harry finds himself facing the forces of evil with only the company of his friends Ron and Hermione. Wizards who do not support Voldemort are forced into hiding, murders are happening every day and Harry and his friends are being stalked ruthlessly by Death Eaters. With a mark on his head and filled with doubt about his only guide Dumbledore, Harry races to find the last of the Horcruxes and defeat Lord Voldemort once and for all.
Reading the final installment in the much beloved series, I began to see many similarities to our own lives as Christians. As the world came tumbling down around Harry with a government overrun by evildoers, I saw historic similarities of World War II. In the novel, dark wizards take over the government and begin to seize “Mudbloods” (wizards and witches born from Muggle, or non-wizards). Propaganda was distributed declaring that the Mudbloods were dangerous. Money was offered to anyone who turned in a Muggle-born. These Mudbloods were then imprisoned, tortured and murdered, all in the hope of creating a “pure” magical race. All of this echoed what happened in Germany to the Jews as Hitler tried to realize his dreams of a “pure” Aryan race.
There were also similarities in the story to what some Christians think the “end times” might be like if the anti-christ came to power and began to fight and exterminate believers. Harry, his band of followers and their adventures reminded me that no matter what, we as Christians should never lose faith and continue to fight for what we believe in.
Not all the similarities to history and Christian life were dark and terrifying. The main theme that weaves its way through the series is that of unfailing, unfaltering love; the love of a mother who sacrificed herself to save her son, the same love that protected Harry from Voldemort many times in the past. This idea, pointed out in John Granger’s Looking For God in Harry Potter, is universal because it stems from the greatest story of all time, the story of a God of love dying for our sins.
The one thing I found the closest to my own heart were the issues raised with Harry’s struggle to trust in Dumbledore (Harry’s mentor throughout the series). Throughout the Deathly Hallows, Harry is plagued with questions about Dumbledore’s methods and motives. Why did Dumbledore not explain everything more clearly to Harry? Why did Dumbledore not give Harry more answers? I could not helped but be reminded of the lack of answers we get from God. We must trust Him so much of the time with no proof (at least proof that we can see with our own eyes). When a loved one dies, when we are hurting and troubled, sometimes we feel that we are left alone to fight to believe and do what is right in a harsh world.
Harry was searching for answers to defeat Voldemort very much the way we, as Christians, try to find answers to defeat Satan. Dumbledore wanted Harry to figure out things on his own, which seems similar to the way our God operates, not spelling everything out to us. He doesn’t tell us why terrible things happen when we ask. But neither does God leave us alone and without hope. After a time, we are able to look back at the bad that has happened in our lives and see the good that God was working out of these events to make things better in the end, similar to the way Dumbledore was working from the beginning to save and protect Harry from Voldemort.
Throughout Harry’s journey in this book, he struggled with many doubts about Dumbledore. Was he really the saint Harry thought he was? Had he been truthful to Harry? These questions and doubts are not far from the many distractions and doubts we have about our Lord. Like Harry, we are plagued with doubt at times that our mentor and protector might be untrue or unjust. There are people and circumstances that encourage our doubt. We try to cling to our hope and faith in Christ, fighting the temptation to give in to these doubts. But even when we, like Harry, are lead astray and lose our faith for a time, in the end our loving God leads us back to Him, just as Harry’s faith is renewed in Dumbledore.
The story holds nothing back, giving the reader a glimpse of struggles many of us have to face each day, be it the death and mourning of a loved one, the doubt of a mentor or the forgiveness of someone who has wronged us. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has become my favorite book because of all the love and truth that subtly flows through it.