Authors often give fictional heroes Christ-like attributes--Billy Budd's death on the yardarm, Hemingway's old fisherman shouldering his mast--to give them mythical depth. Is Harry a Christ figure? The answer may dictate how we think about him--and tell us what to expect from upcoming books.
The chart below details Rev. John Killinger's reasons to believe Harry is a Christ figure. Highlights of the debate follow.
Selected Debate Highlights
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John Killinger, author of "God, the Devil and Harry Potter": J.K. Rowling has written the Christ story of the 21st century, and it's wonderful that she has attained such a magnificent following worldwide.
From this viewpoint, Harry is the hero of faith par excellence--a wounded hero, a very modest one, who is ready to sacrifice himself completely in behalf of others and who opposes Lord Voldemort, the personification of hatred and evil, with all his strength. Like most great Western literature, the Potter stories are founded on the mortal rivalry of good and evil, and Harry is the Christ-figure with both extraordinary (wizard) and ordinary (Muggle) credentials who becomes the focus of the conflict. Is he spiritual? Not in any self-concious way. But does his existence have spiritual consequences? Of course it does. Vast spiritual consequences. He is the very embodiment of spiritual meaning as we know it.