One Fine Potion: The Literary Magic of Harry Potter

Greg Garrett, Baylor Univ., $19.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 9781602581982
Should evangelical Christians be alarmed by boy wizard Harry Potter? For Greg Garrett, novelist (Free Bird) and Baylor University professor of English , the answer is a resounding no. Rather, they should embrace the stories as affirming the central messages of Christianity. To show this, Garrett presents four readings of the Potter cosmos: a compelling argument about the role of magic, an explanation of the need for community, a discussion of true heroism, and an explicitly Christian exploration of Harry as savior and Dumbledore as Holy Spirit. Quotes from both the Potter novels and the Bible pepper the work, without proving intrusive. Christian elements are limited until the last section and their generic treatment will avoid alienating most readers. A few discussions (such as using the Potter novels to critique the Bush administration's position on torture) might be off-putting to those who disagree. The connection between Harry and Jesus is also introduced a bit glibly. Still, Garrett treats both the Christian and the Potter worlds with affection and passionate reverence. His work may not convert naysayers to Potter, but it will provide fans much to consider about the novels and their message of hope, joy, and love. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
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