How Is Harry Potter a Literary Christ Figure?
The Bible clearly states that all mankind are sinners and that we all need a Savior. Paul states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We are all born into sin, and only the perfect Lamb without blemish can save mankind from our fate to hell due to our sins.
Without a Savior, all people would be dead in transgressions and sins. Jesus Christ laid down His life for all mankind so that we could have eternal life with Him (John 3:16).
The life of Jesus did not cease when He died for mankind’s sin; rather, He defeated death and was resurrected, and ascended into Heaven after 40 days of ministry with His disciples (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Matthew 28:5-6; Acts 1:9-11).
Harry Potter’s Connection to the Gospel
The series of Harry Potter can be closely identified with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of how Harry Potter laid down his life for his friends, defeated the enemy, and was resurrected from the dead.
Jesus laid down His life voluntarily for all people as He stated, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father” (John 10:18).
In the same way, Harry laid down his life voluntarily to save his friends. In addition to dying for his friends, Harry dies for all people, including the people who have bullied him, hurt him, accused him, and spoken badly against him.
This is an exact reflection of what Jesus did for all mankind as He died for all people, even though there are people who reject Him.
In the Harry Potter series, one has to view the history and the gradual friendships that are built between Harry and his peers to fully understand the closeness that Harry had with his friends all the way up to the Battle of Hogwarts and beyond.
These vital friendships are what led to Harry sacrificing himself to save the wizarding world from the dark control of Voldemort. Furthermore, the strongest of Harry’s friendships consisted of Ron and Hermione.
Harry met the two of them on the train ride in their first year to Hogwarts, and their friendship deepened and grew stronger over the course of the years.
While they did have their falling out at times, they would always regroup back together and become stronger because of the fight or trial. Without the love that Harry had for his friends, Harry would have lost all hope and would not have had the energy to defeat Voldemort.
As young children, they became friends quickly, and throughout the series, they were like siblings to one another. Even when Ron became boastful and proud as a result of being the head quidditch player, Harry still forgave him for the way that he had treated Harry.
Ron and Harry were always going to be best friends, and through thick and thin, they stuck close to one another. Ron always expressed extreme loyalty to Harry even when it was hard for him. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ron does choose to leave, but he does return at a key time when Harry really needs him.
Even Dumbledore knew that Ron would always come back to Harry and Hermione, as this is why he left Ron with the deluminator. Some scholars have even concluded that Ron is the equivalent of the Apostle Peter for Jesus.
Just as Peter denied Christ three times, Ron left Harry and Hermione, and just as Peter turned back to Christ and was reinstated, so did Ron return to Harry.
Despite the feeling of inadequacy that Ron felt due to being the sidekick of the Boy who Lived, Harry helped teach him that he did matter and that he was very important to each of their lives as well as to the whole wizarding world.
Another relationship to be discussed is Harry’s relationship with his archenemy Draco Malfoy. Draco at first wants to befriend Harry because he was taught growing up that Harry could possibly be the greatest dark wizard to have ever lived, and since his family had a strong background in dark magic and the Death Eater business, he wanted to do as much as he could to win Harry’s alliance.
Draco was an only child of his family who was always desperate for attention and approval from others but never received it, which is what turned him into a bully.
Once Harry had befriended Ron and Hermione, it was clear that Draco would never become friends with Harry. Instead, Draco found companionship in Crabbe and Goyle, who assisted him in his wicked and humiliating schemes against Harry and his friends.
Envy was the main problem that Draco battled with, as he was always envious and jealous of Harry even though Draco was one of the only people who knew that Harry was not lying when he was telling everyone about the rebirth of Voldemort because Draco’s father had witnessed it.
Throughout the series, Draco does everything humanly possible to humiliate and bring Harry down, but Harry always comes out victorious. In the final books of the series, Draco agrees to become a Death Eater and accepts Voldemort’s task to murder Dumbledore but fails to do so as Snape is the one who kills Dumbledore.
Draco and his family fall out of favor with Voldemort and his Death Eaters, but the Malfoy family is one of the few Death Eaters who actually make it out alive from the Hogwarts Battle.
Furthermore, Draco is saved by Harry when he is almost going to be burned by the fiendfyre. Draco’s friend, Crabbes, dies by the fiendfyre, but Harry was able to save Draco. Through this action, Draco becomes more respectful of Harry.
Draco’s mother even lies to protect Harry’s life from Voldemort just to affirm that Draco was safe during the battle. Thus, Harry risks his own life to save Draco from the fiendfyre despite the fact that Draco was a cruel person to him.
Further, Harry walks to his death at the hands of Voldemort to save all his friends, including his longtime enemy, Draco, because Harry knows that there is only one enemy, and that is Voldemort.
The character of Draco demonstrates the theme of redemption and how all people can experience redemption if they just turn to the Savior.
Sharing the Gospel
How to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the laying down of Harry’s life can be sought out in numerous ways.
The fact that Harry walked to the Forbidden Forest to give his life as a ransom for the whole wizard and muggle worlds has a clear connection to Jesus’ true account of Gethsemane and the laying down of His life for all mankind as Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
Jesus laid down His life for us because of the vast love that He has for us, and this should not be taken lightly. Jesus endured the pain on the cross by being crucified, humiliated, flogged, and beaten to the point that He was unrecognizable (Isaiah 52:14).
He did this all because He loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. Just as Harry defeated Voldemort, Christ defeated Satan and death on the cross. We no longer have to be afraid of death because Jesus has conquered the grave (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
We need to demonstrate this clear fact to the lost as the connection between Harry’s suffering, death, and resurrection is strongly correlated with Christ’s real suffering, death, and resurrection. Christ defeated death and Satan so that we could have eternal life with Him, and the love that Christ has for us will never fail (Hebrews 13:5).
Understanding the plot line of Harry Potter can help in sharing the gospel because of the connection between the death and resurrection of Christ and Harry.
Just as Harry laid down His life for his friends and enemies, Christ laid down His life for all people because of love. Christ also teaches us to do the same thing as we are to be a servant to all in the name of Jesus (John 13:15).
The vast unconditional love that God has for us by sacrificing Himself for us to have eternal life affects us to live our lives to serve our wonderful Savior and Lord, not to live for ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:15).
For all the people who feel guilty because of sins, for all the people who feel unloved, and for all the people who feel alone, Christ’s finished work on the cross and resurrection enables us to walk in obedience in the light of His love and to not be afraid of death, so that we can affirm; “For me to live in Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Harry Potter’s Christological theme can be used to convey the need for the Savior Jesus Christ through the gospel presentation as well as it can strengthen a believer’s walk with Christ to enable them to bear much fruit for the Lord (John 15:8).
For further reading:
What Does Matthew 10 Have to Say about Sharing the Gospel?
7 Books for You to Read This Year
What Does the Bible Say about Magic?
Are Christ Figures in Literature Biblical?
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Tuyen Vo
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.