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Re: Rowling - an Inkling??

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  • Pauline J. Alama
    ... expressed in HARRY ... exclusively ... Christian). ... While I m no theologian, and can t read the Bible in the original, I have come to question the way
    Message 1 of 31 , Mar 7, 2003
      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Jason M. Abels" <jason@j...> wrote:
      > > I suppose one could argue that these three virtues =are=
      expressed in HARRY
      > > POTTER.
      >
      > In fact, despite Lewis's claim, "hope" and "charity" are not
      exclusively
      > Christian (though, by nature, faith in Christ is exclusively
      Christian).
      >
      While I'm no theologian, and can't read the Bible in the original, I
      have come to question the way the word "faith" is traditionally
      interpreted. In most Biblical contexts, it seems to mean something
      like "keeping one's promises/remaining loyal/being trustworthy" --
      for example, when God is described as faithful, we don't think it
      means that God believes in God, right? In the sense of keeping
      promises or remaining loyal, is there faith in the Harry Potter
      books? Well, Harry is unswervingly loyal to Dumbledore (see the big
      test at the climax of Book 2) and Hagrid (see Harry's first
      conversation with Malfoy, etc.), and (except for a couple of childish
      tiffs) loyal to Ron and Hermione. He worries about losing
      Dumbledore's trust a lot more than he worries about danger.

      I'm not really saying that the Harry Potter books are "Christian
      literature" but that, to use Tolkien's term, they're "applicable" to
      the problems of living a Christian life.

      One of my favorite "applicable" features (which, I admit, I may be
      reading into the story) is the game of Quidditch as a metaphor. The
      game is almost absurdly complicated; there's a lot of business going
      on, different kinds of balls whizzing here and there, bludgers
      attacking you, players trying to score goals or keep each other from
      scoring goals, but in the end, only one thing matters: the Seeker
      must shut out all the distractions and find the Golden Snitch. That's
      Harry's role in the game and (especially in the first book) in the
      story: he has to turn his attention from everything that's only of
      secondary importance (getting points for Griffindor, helping win the
      House Cup, being accepted by his peers, winning the Triwizard
      Tournament in the fourth book, even getting good grades) and
      concentrate on the one true goal (keeping evil from prevailing).
      Maybe this metaphor wasn't intended, but I suspect it was. He gets a
      speech close to the end of the first book that wasn't used in the
      movie, but that I thought was his finest moment in the book: when
      Hermione and Ron want to turn back because they're afraid of breaking
      school rules, losing points for Griffindor, maybe even getting
      expelled, Harry exhorts them on: "Do you think Lord Voldemort will
      take it easy on your families because Griffindor won the House Cup?"
      I love that bit. It's applicable. What good is "getting points" (a
      promotion at the job, money, prestige, popularity, all the secondary
      rewards in life) if in doing so, you abandon your principles? That
      may not be exclusively Christian, but "what does it profit a man to
      gain the whole world and lose his soul" certainly springs to my mind.

      > I would further argue that ALL western literature is informed by
      Christianity,
      > because all of western society is informed by Christianity. Even
      strong atheists
      > have been known to say "go to hell."
      >
      > > But if one writer says that Harry being saved thro' his mother's
      love is an
      > > example of Christian virtues (which I have seen done), another
      could riposte
      > > that mothers who aren't Christian also love their children and
      sacrifice for
      > > them.
      >
      > We *like* redemptive characters. Those that grow and learn and
      redeem their
      > errors. I wouldn't say HP is a "Christian" book anymore than I
      would say LotR is
      > or The Stand is. The Stand (by Stephen King) have *very* strong
      themes of faith
      > and hope and charity running through it, but I wouldn't call it a
      Christian
      > book.
      >
      > Maybe I'm just too picky? I assign the term "Christian" to a book
      that directly
      > relates itself to christianity, such as the Narnia books and the
      Left Behind
      > series. (Sorry to mention those in the same sentence. That should
      not be seen to
      > indicate that they are anwhere close to each other in quality and
      execution.)
      >
      > > Anybody here want to root for Christian values in HARRY?
      >
      > Sure (Spoilers of books 1 -3)
      >
      > Faith. - At the end of Book 1, when he drinks the potion that
      Hermione has
      > chosen.
      > Hope. - I don't really have one on this one.
      > Charity. - When he defends Dumbledore's name at the end fo Book 2.
      Also, when he
      > uses the time travel in Book 3 not only to save Sirius, but also
      Hagrid's pet.
      >
      > --
      > Jason M. Abels
      > "The world is coming down around our ears and you're sticking at a
      few
      > vampires!" - Ben Mears, _Salem's Lot_
    • Paul F. Labaki
      Thank you, David, for putting this so aptly. Peace, Paul Labaki From: David S Bratman Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Date: Sat, 01
      Message 31 of 31 , Mar 10, 2003
        Thank you, David, for putting this so aptly.

        Peace,
        Paul Labaki

        From: David S Bratman <dbratman@...>
        Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Sat, 01 Mar 2003 09:33:14 -0800
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Rowling - an Inkling??


        Lizzie, what do you mean? That writing in the spirit of the Inklings
        should be currently pertinent? Lewis wouldn't think so. He says somewhere
        that nothing goes out of date faster than that which tries hardest to stay
        up to date. (My own phrasing of this, conceived independently, is "Those
        who live by the cutting edge die by the cutting edge.") The Inklings were
        in search of what was eternally up to date, and that is why their 40 to 70
        year old novels are still meaningful and read today. LOTR in particular
        was considered by many to be ludicrously out of step with the current
        concerns of the 1950s, but the Inklings suspected it would wear better than
        many of the more typical cultural artifacts of the era, and they were
        right. Those who admired it when it was new thought it would be a
        masterpiece at any date.

        That spirit is part of what I'm looking for when I'm searching for new
        books in the spirit of the Inklings. I want books that would have been
        just as good if they were published 50 years ago as they are now, because
        those are the ones that will be just as good 50 years from now.

        - David Bratman


        At 07:23 AM 3/1/2003 -0500, Lizzie Triano wrote:

        >I think it is worth discussing. I don't know what my opinion is on the
        >specific Rowling question, but I have long been developing the opinion that
        >the Inkling Spirit today would be perhaps unrecognizable to the Inklings
        >Then. After all, the churches probably are, post-Vatican-II and ordaining
        >women priests, arguing the various sex and social justice issues, and all
        >sorts of such things. There is surrealism and spirituality in the
        >non-churched (which was of course true in the Victorian era), and there
        >needs must be practicality and stuff in the church (which I would imagine
        >there was among veteran Christians such as Tolkien, more than among today's
        >peace-raised peoples). We are not hungry enough, we are too content. What
        >would the Spirit tell stories about today?


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