Please Let Harry Potter Die

Overcoming evil requires real, hard sacrifice, says an Orthodox priest. Rowling should let Harry be a tragic hero.

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Podcasting guru Emerson Spartz of spoke for millions when he said he couldn't believe that Rowling would build her series around a "kid whose life sucks and then he dies."

Nevertheless, Tobias is convinced that Potter combines many characteristics seen in heroes through the ages. He was born to greatness, but suffered the tragic loss of loved ones. He has special gifts, glaring weaknesses and carries the burden of a haunting prophecy that hints at tragedy, triumph or both. Supernatural trials? Potter has seen it all.

"A hero is not perfect. In fact, his flaws are part of what make him great," said Tobias, pastor of St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church outside Pittsburgh. "By the end of a story like this one, the hero has simply become too big to remain in this world. This kind of hero is born for a purpose and he dies for a purpose."

Thus, it's significant that Rowling -- in an early interview with a Canadian newspaper -- noted that she is, in fact, a Christian. "Every time I've been asked if I believe in God, I've said, 'yes,' because I do. But no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that and, I have to say that does suit me. ... If I talk too freely about that, I think the intelligent reader -- whether 10 or 60 -- will be able to guess what is coming in the books."

Also, Rowling has acknowledged the influence of beloved Christian works like the seven-volume "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis and "The Lord of the Rings" cycle by J.R.R. Tolkien. Both of these fantasy classics, noted Tobias, feature endings that combine death and rebirth, along with the bittersweet passing of a magical age.

"Part of being a hero is to have a great love and to be willing to make a great sacrifice for that love," he said. "It seems to me that Harry Potter has been walking down that same road. ... It's just hard to see him going home and settling down. He's been through too much."


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