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“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”- A Christian Perspective- Re-enchantment, Grace, and Loyalty

hpccThe new Harry Potter book is out, and people all over the world are diving back into the series. What kind of world does the latest adventure depict? How might Christians interact with the book? There will be SPOILERS in what follows. There will also obviously be SPOILERS for any other books in the series.

Harry Potter and Christianity… what?

Some may immediately object to the notion that Christians can or should interact with something like Harry Potter. What I say likely won’t convince anyone. But what I would say is that Harry Potter helps re-enchant the world, and our world is in great need of re-enchantment. The Bible speaks of a world created by God, inhabit by angels and demons, and full of the miraculous. The world we most often observe is utterly mundane in comparison: a world which we often think we have entirely figured out.

Harry Potter, however, opens the door to re-enchantment. The world of Harry Potter is magical–and the wonder of magic is similar to the wonder that readers have the first time they enter that certain Wardrobe from the Spare Room or see the White Wizard reappear. It’s a world that moves beyond the mundane and speaks to something more. And Christianity teaches that there is something more. The world is not just what we see with our eyes–it is a world that is utterly enchanted, full of mystery, and created by a loving God.

What’s more, the Harry Potter story so far ended in a kind of re-telling of the Messianic story. Potter laid down his life for his friends, was resurrected, and saved them. It’s a familiar story with different trappings, but one that each generation must learn anew.


One of the most important themes in “Cursed Child” is grace. Harry must have the grace to love his son, Albus, despite the imperfections. Albus must forgive his father and show grace to him to begin healing their relationship. Albus must learn the lesson Harry learned long before–that grace can defeat evil. He spares Delphi, an act of grace, despite her deserving great punishment. It’s a lesson that is brought forward time and again. In every relationship mentioned in the book, grace is needed to help heal wounds of doubt, of barbed words, and more.


Loyalty is another theme that shows up time and again throughout the series, and Serverus Snape’s loyalty to Lily and Dumbledore is perhaps the greatest example. Even in the alternative future that Albus visits, Snape remains loyal to the memory of Lily and his promises to Dumbledore. He fights alongside those who, in some cases, he has every reason to despise, at least historically.

That history is another major theme of the book: does one’s past determine one’s present and future? Delphi felt as though she must follow a prophecy that would allow her to be reunited with her father. Snape had to get beyond the history that he had with Harry’s father to continue the fight against darkness in an alternative future. Harry and his son Albus’ relationship is strained both by their own history and by the history of Harry. Who you are, it seems near the beginning, is determined by what you–or your parents–were. But that myth is dispelled as it becomes apparent that current action and decisions can break away from the bonds of history. Through the power of grace, as already mentioned, relationships may be healed, people may move forward.

But is it good?

Okay, okay, we get it. There are themes that interact with Christianity in Harry Potter. Is the new book worth reading?

I’d say absolutely, for fans of the series already. It’s not as detailed as the novels are, because it’s a script. But it is a good script, and the characters do develop quite a bit. There are some moments that will make you gleeful as you pick up references to previous books. The main complaint I’d have is that because it is a script, there is so little description of the environment and the characters’ internal struggles–something Rowling excels at. It’s a good entry in the series that won’t make you completely disappointed, but it isn’t as fabulous as the previous books in the series.


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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick is a Lutheran, feminist, Christ-follower. A Science Fiction snob, Bonhoeffer fan, Paleontology fanboy and RPG nerd.


2 thoughts on ““Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”- A Christian Perspective- Re-enchantment, Grace, and Loyalty

  1. Nice review, J.W. I enjoyed the play as I was reading it, but it hasn’t “set well” with me. Stylistically, it does read a little too much like wish-fulfillment fanfic (“Wouldn’t it be cool if…?”), as several other reviewers have said. And, for whatever reason, it seems to be taking great pains to “de-enchant” the “re-enchanted” world Rowling developed in her novels. (I think it was a mistake for someone else to write the play, even if based on a story Rowling helped develop… her winsome way is largely absent from the script. I am looking forward to seeing what she does with the Newt Scamander screenplay – early buzz is, it is beautiful.)

    I appreciated the play’s treatment of regrets as we age, complicated parent-child (especially father-son) dynamics… but it felt oddly out-of-place in Harry Potter’s world. I really liked the beautiful friendship between Albus and Severus, but…? I dunno. Maybe this universe can’t sustain a multi-generational family saga (indeed, Rowling has no plans to continue this story, from what I’ve heard). I am all for her expanding the universe to North America and, perhaps, other parts of the globe… but maybe revisiting Harry in middle age wasn’t the best idea.

    I’m ambivalent about the play, but I liked your review of it! Thanks for it!

    Posted by Michael Poteet | August 19, 2016, 8:36 AM


  1. Pingback: Really Recommended Posts 8/19/16- singing the Psalms, the Ontological Argument, and more! | J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - August 19, 2016

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