:::this is the way the world ends:::

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (the movie)

Sara and I had our only date in five months tonight. We ate dinner and saw HP and the Order. It was of course my choice of movie, but she enjoyed it almost as much as I did. We both liked it.

I recently read an article which talked about Rowling’s insistence that the themes and narrative arcs in the story are the product of a deeply felt Christianity. I felt that that was evident with this story more than the other stories that have made it to screen, for sure, but perhaps that is due to the escalting nature of the stories and good and evil. Her books, of course, took a beating from the right in this country, and I am amazed that Rowling managed to keep her Christianity basically a secret for all that time she was lambasted. She is quoted in the article as saying she felt that to state that Christianity undergirded the books was to give away the ending. In some ways I feel guilty for not having read the rest of the series (I thought at the time I finished the third book, years ago, that this series was never going to end and I wasn’t interested in reading the same thing over and over. I also read the first three books of the Series of Unfortunate Events). I do, as Shotts suggested, hope to enjoy them with my children some day, along with the Tolkien books and many others. Eliot has been learning some words with flash cards.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the film (which wouldn’t have been new to any of you readers of the series) was HP’s discovery of his father’s teasing and bullying of Snape. It is jolting and changing, that moment when you realize your parents are not right about everything and perhaps downright wrong about some things. I also read the NY Times article and found it interesting that Hitchens complains about the HP series’ avoidance of Christianity and then encourages readers to “graduate” to the Pullman trilogy.


There was an advertisement for the Golden Compass at the beginning of the film for which New Line cinema appears to have pulled out all the stops. I would strongly urge that anyone who plans to go see the movie (which I assume is all of the Hollow Men) should first read the entire trilogy, not necessarily as a recommendation from me, but because my guess from the preview is that they have toned down much of the philisophical content. And you certainly won’t get the Milton and biblical literary references from the film. It might make good discussion material; since in the very first scene of the book, Pullman deliberately decided to have a girl coming OUT of a wardrobe.

This may be a funny way to end this post, switching topics, but I’m curious as to how the HM would respond to this quote by Wright from the Moral Animal…

“Friends engage in mutual inflation. Being a person’s true friend means endorsing the untruths he holds dearest…it may be that the hallmark of the strongest, longest friendships is the depth of the shared bias; the best friends are the ones who see each other least clearly.”


  1. J.E.

    Congrats on the date!

    Any examination about the quality of religious themes found in HP would most certainly involve spoilers. Ned, are you prepared to for that?

    I wholeheartedly agree. For religious themes, Pullman is the way to go. Doesn’t it seem unlikely that the second and third parts will be made into a movies? The plot of His Dark Materials depends on a whole host of blasphemies.

    Haven’t the Hollow Men always relentlessly attacked one another’s “untruths”? I think we see each other quite clearly because we are equally introspective, though sometimes debilitatingly and disfunctionally so. We employ our introspective instruments, honed by our personal vivisection, on the group with relish. But perhaps this is just the narrative we would like to believe and is itself yet another untruth.

    Jeeze Ned, you can sure pack a lot into one post.

  2. Ned

    Interesting what you say here. I actually think that, though Pullman’s books are very rich and layered with science and philosophy (more so than Rowling’s), he actually seems to have a pretty surface level view of Christianity. In an interview I read, it says the screenplay for the movie backs off the anti-religious content a bit, and makes it more of a statement against strict doctrines or dogmas of any kind and kind of becomes more of a political statement.

    I am disappointed in this, not because I am all for anti-Christian sentiment, but I was anxious to see if audiences could even discern the philosophy in the films or if it might be absorbed at a more subconscious level. And though I believe in God much more concretely than Pullman does, I certainly long for Christianity to be severed from “the establishment” which, in my view has nearly blasmphemed it anyway. So in that regard at least, perhaps I share some of Pullman’s sensibilities. Though I have to say, I completely disagree with some of the things he has to say in his trilogy about power. But maybe I’m getting ahead discussing books that few of us have read.

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