J.K Rowling on Secularizing Religious Themes | My Paper Hub

J.K Rowling on Secularizing Religious Themes

J.K. Rowling was born on the 31st of July 1965 to Peter James Rowling and Anne Rowling. Her father was an aircraft engineer while her mother was a science technician in the school Joanne studied. Joanne started writing when she was aged six where ...Read More

~Posted on Sep 2019


J.K. Rowling was born on the 31st of July 1965 to...

J.K. Rowling was born on the 31st of July 1965 to Peter James Rowling and Anne Rowling. Her father was an aircraft engineer while her mother was a science technician in the school Joanne studied. Joanne started writing when she was aged six where her sister used to read her stories, but it was until she became an adult that her books were published. J.K Rowling is an author of some works including adult books like The Casual Vacancy, and crime novels like The Cuckoo’s Calling. However, the book that made J.K Rowling the famous author we know today is the Harry Potter series. Harry Potter is a series of books based on magic where Rowling talks about the life of Harry Potter the main character from the day he was born to his adulthood ("J.K. Rowling - J.K. Rowling").

Rowling identifies herself with Christianity, and during the time she was writing Harry Potter, she attended the Church of Scotland. Her eldest daughter was also baptized in this church which only means she is a believer. In an interview, Rowling admitted to being a Christian, but she felt that her fellow Christians would condemn her more than they could if she had said God did not exist. The response would greatly be influenced by the kind of content she has written in the book Harry Potter where her books focus more on the magic. The notion is however based on the superficial understanding of the book. If we could dig deeper into the book, one would understand that there are themes in the book that are religious in nature but displayed in magic that does not abide by any religion. Rowling’s work just like C.S. Lewis’ is not religious in nature but integrates, religious themes to form a comprehensive secular narrative.

A number of instances in the book directly quote the bible or in a way refer to some characters in the bible. The first example is the one where Professor Dumbledore says to harry “But your blood is worth more than mine” (Rowling J.K, Half-Blood Prince, The Cave). The words could be interpreted as Dumbledore being John the Baptist in the bible and Harry Potter being Jesus Christ in Rowling’s story. In the bible, John the Baptist came before Jesus and in many ways coached him before he got into the ministry even though Jesus was more powerful than John the Baptist. The same can be said about the relationship between Dumbledore and Harry. Guidance from professor Dumbledore characterized the formative years of Harry in Hogwarts. In the Bible, Jesus went to the desert to face temptation only after meeting John the Baptist. Rowling at these juncture tries to say that Dumbledore and not Harry has known for a long time that Harry will have to die. Other than this, J.K Rowling when talking to Daniel Radcliffe revealed that Dumbledore was John the Baptist to Harry Potter as Christ.

Christians put so much faith in the blood of Christ and most cases in prayers, you will hear a person saying that “the blood of Jesus protects you.” In Harry Potter, Rowling has placed the same emphasis on the power of Harry’s blood. Harry Potter's blood would be the only useful thing that would destroy the Horcruxes entirely, and that would give a deeper understanding as to why Dumbledore told Harry that his blood was more important than that of Dumbledore. Shedding of Potter’s blood to destroy a Horcrux is a parallel to Jesus Christ who shed his blood for the sake of humanity. On an encounter with Voldemort on the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort, after drawing a little of Harry's blood and uses it on himself, tells Harry, “Astonishing what a few drops of blood will do, eh, Harry?” (Rowling J.K, Goblet of Fire, The Death Eaters). Most of the harry potter series is based on the Christianity, and as much as it is about magic, the heroic themes in between are based on most the religious teachings. 

Tolkien believes that the primary purpose of a fairytale is to restore hope, faith, truth, and beauty and capture a reader into an eternal drama. Death in a story is not the end of it as it can be seen that despite Harry’s parent’s death when he was born, Rowling brings them back several instances while he is growing up. As much as they are dead, they are still present in his life. Death is not the end of life but instead a continuation of an adventure. As Tolkien believes, fairy tales remind the reader that they are not alone and despite evil being bigger than us, the good always wins which is what all fairy tales are about.

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