Re: Rowling - an Inkling??
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Jason M. Abels" <jason@j...> wrote:
> > I suppose one could argue that these three virtues =are=expressed in HARRY
> > POTTER.exclusively
> In fact, despite Lewis's claim, "hope" and "charity" are not
> Christian (though, by nature, faith in Christ is exclusivelyChristian).
>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 byChristianity,
> because all of western society is informed by Christianity. Evenstrong atheists
> have been known to say "go to hell."love is an
> > But if one writer says that Harry being saved thro' his mother's
> > example of Christian virtues (which I have seen done), anothercould riposte
> > that mothers who aren't Christian also love their children andsacrifice for
> > them.redeem their
> We *like* redemptive characters. Those that grow and learn and
> errors. I wouldn't say HP is a "Christian" book anymore than Iwould say LotR is
> or The Stand is. The Stand (by Stephen King) have *very* strongthemes of faith
> and hope and charity running through it, but I wouldn't call it aChristian
> book.that directly
> Maybe I'm just too picky? I assign the term "Christian" to a book
> relates itself to christianity, such as the Narnia books and theLeft Behind
> series. (Sorry to mention those in the same sentence. That shouldnot be seen to
> indicate that they are anwhere close to each other in quality andexecution.)
> > 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
> chosen.Also, when he
> Hope. - I don't really have one on this one.
> Charity. - When he defends Dumbledore's name at the end fo Book 2.
> uses the time travel in Book 3 not only to save Sirius, but alsoHagrid's pet.
> Jason M. Abels
> "The world is coming down around our ears and you're sticking at a
> vampires!" - Ben Mears, _Salem's Lot_
- Thank you, David, for putting this so aptly.
From: David S Bratman <dbratman@...>
Date: Sat, 01 Mar 2003 09:33:14 -0800
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 theYahoo! Groups Sponsor ADVERTISEMENT
>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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