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July 27, 2007

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Great post.

Yes, I love Harry and am so grateful for this, a reasonable post.

Excellent point, put very well. I also think that the temptation to over-analogize or even allegorize can raise the possibility of accepting or calling things in a "good character" good when really they are an example of what not to do.

Sadly, I heard Dillard interviewed on NPR yesterday, and she said that The Maytrees is her final work.

Mark - I did not hear the interview, but I'm sad to hear that her latest book will be her last. She has a wonderful voice that will be missed. Hearing her read from "An American Childhood" in Wichita, Kansas, several years ago is one of my favorite "literary" memories!

Thanks for the nod to the song, Leigh, and for the thoughtful review of the Harry Potter grand finale. Here were my thoughts after finishing the book yesterday (from my message board), for what they're worth.

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Today was a sad day. Ben (Shive) and I flew from New Orleans to Denver, Harry Potter books in tow, and read like mad during all our flights. We looked about as nerdy as the fifty other adults I saw in the airport today carrying it under their arms.

I finished about an hour before Ben and had to wait until he finished before we could talk about it. What a great, great story.

I played a show with Fernando (Ortega) tonight, and was so sad and emotional during the Queen of Iowa and Lay Me Down, partly because I was thinking about HP. Those songs deal so much with heaven and death and hope, which is so much of what the end of this series is about. I was so glad to read "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death" and "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" on the tombs in the cemetery, to see the cloud of witnesses (of sorts) walking with Harry to his death, to see his struggle to trust Dumbledore even when he felt he didn't have much reason to, the way the evil characters consistently fell into the pits they themselves dug, how Harry's sacrificial love for his friends protected them the way Lily's did for him, when Harry's in King's Cross station and asks Dumbledore what happens if he takes the train and the reply is simply, "On."

It occurred to me that Rowling has planted seeds of eternity and God's truth in literally millions of people, whether that was her intention or not. It's easy for me to imagine a child reading and loving these books the same way C.S. Lewis loved his mythologies, and that child, when he's older, hearing the true tall tale of Christ's sacrifice; the pieces snap into place and he realizes that what he loved about Harry Potter's epic tale--the loyalty, the courage, the need to trust, the sacrifice, the baffling compulsion to save the lives of even your enemies (Draco), the shining hope that death is not the end, the bright victory of Love--these things are complete and fulfilled in the gospel of Christ and in his Kingdom, which is no fairy tale but is God's honest truth.

I know it's just a story, maybe even mainly a good story, but there's just too much redemption and truth to ignore. Good art gives us language to help us think about things that we may know but can't always articulate. Tonight when I was listening to Fernando sing Crown Him With Many Crowns, the book had so prepared me to worship Christ for his courage, his sacrifice, and his resurrection that I sat in the back and cried. This gospel we proclaim actually happened. The stories are true. Christ's victory over death will be ours.

"Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death." 1 Cor. 15:24-26

AP

Thanks, Andrew, for sharing what you loved about Harry's ending. I found many of those same things deeply moving - especially Harry's walk to his death with his family - and his asking his mother to stay close - and yes, Dumbledore's "On." Your comment also articulated what my heart was struggling to express and didn't: that although HP resonated with me because I know and love the Gospel story, perhaps one day the Gospel story will resonate with someone else because he or she loved Harry as a child. Perfectly, beautifully put. (Chesterton said the same thing about the "fairy stories" he loved as a child!)

Thanks to Leigh McLeroy and Andrew Peterson for such penetrating remarks. OK, with AP and a lot other believers, I too took heart in the gravestones ("The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death" and "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also").

But did anybody else take as much pleasure as I did in Mrs. Weasley's going after Bellatrix Lestrange: "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH! ... OUT OF MY WAY! ... No! ... Get back! Get back! She is mine!"?

Thank God that Jesus is "Christus Victor," and that, as the NEB puts it, "overwhelming victory is ours through him who loved us."

Reggie, yes! I LOVED Mrs. Weasley's jihad on Bellatrix! Thanks for reminding me of another delightful moment I'd forgotten. (It's not wise to mess with mothers and their children - wizard or muggle.)

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