I've finished my first reading of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Good stuff. Kudos to J.K. Rowling for another fine piece of work. I'm gratified to find that I had the big picture more or less figured out, and not disappointed that I missed the mark on some of the important details. I'm looking forward, now, to reading the book aloud to my children, which will not only provide me with some quality "Daddy time," but will also allow me to reflect upon the entire story and all of its intricacies more carefully than I have on my speedy first time through. My youngest children will not yet have the thrill of discovering these things with the rest of the world, but I was thinking today of the joy and satisfaction they will have in reading (or hearing) these books years from now. I stand by what I have said for some time, that the Harry Potter series will find its place among other literary classics.
As I prepare for my interview on "Issues, Etc.," I will probably blog a bit on my thoughts and reflections, especially as I am reading through the story a second time. There are many things I relished as I was reading this weekend, and it will be a pleasure to revisit and savor those experiences. For the time being, the five things that most struck me were the following, listed in chronological order: (1.) The fact that remorse (read repentance) is the only remedy for damage one has done to his soul. (2.) The verses of Holy Scripture inscribed on the tombs of Dumbledore's and Harry's families. (3.) The process of Ron's return, which was, I thought, almost as profound as the dragon-shedding "baptism" in C.S. Lewis's Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (4.) Probably my favorite, that Harry's victorious self-sacrifice lands him at King's Cross! Brilliant. (5.) Harry's preaching of repentance to his enemy, when it finally comes down to it, demonstrating yet again the compassion that he has learned.
All of these were short, poignant moments in the course of a masterful story. Bravo! I also applaud that the truth about Snape was brought to light, at least for Harry and the reader. And, along similar lines, it was good to have the full picture on Dumbledore, too. From the beginning, one of the best things about the series has been the down-to-earth realism of the characters. They aren't artificial, plastic, one-dimensional, cookie-cuttered folks, but flawed and finite and frail and frustrated along the way (like me!). Readers who got too caught up in the literary device of witchraft and wizardry missed the far more important heart and substance of these books, which is the true-to-life struggles of the people whom Rowling has so beautifully created in this fictional universe of hers. For those who understand that each Christian is both saint and sinner, both old Adam and New Man in Christ, there can be a ready sympathy and appreciation for the journey of daily repentance, of faith and love, which Harry and his friends undergo.
Thanks be to God that, in this real universe of His gracious creation, His only-begotten Son has voluntarily handed Himself over to sacrificial death, in order to atone for the sins of the world, crush the serpent under His foot, reconcile us to the Father, and bring us at last into the peace and rest of life everlasting with the Holy Triune God. We walk by faith and not by sight, for now, but our faith shall not be disappointed. The cross that we are given to carry is a heavy and painful burden at times, but the true King's Cross has gotten the victory for us. Nothing shall ever be able to separate us from that love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Even death has lost its sting and is no longer able to frighten or alarm us. For it is already defeated, and at the last it shall be vanquished evermore.