FCC 09: Christian Themes in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”

Let’s sneak off to the girls’ lavatory on the second floor and see if we can find any Christian themes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

We’re going back to the Wizarding World, but you can leave the Hogwarts Express back at Platform 9 3/4. Instead, we’re taking the Weasley family car and crashing into the Womping Willow – a reasonable entrance, right?

We pick up at the beginning of Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, but he doesn’t even half to be at the school when trouble starts. Lowly house elf Dobby tries to disuade Harry from returning the castle because Harry’s life will be at risk if he does return. Luckily for us audiences, Harry did return and we have a story to learn from.

ron, weasley, howler

Don’t you agree, Ron?

Paul and the Mudbloods (and that’s not a punk rock band name)

Please excuse the strong language, Potter fans, but I want to talk about mudbloods for a little bit – or more specifically, the attitude held against them by a great number of their fellow wizards and witches.

Of course, just to remind everyone on what a mudblood is: a wizard or witch born to non-magical parents. One parent could be a wizard or witch and the other a muggle, or they could both be muggles, and produce a magical baby (and yes, I know, “all babies are magical,” but you know what I mean) and this baby would be a mudblood. Conversely, those born with both magical parents are called purebloods.

In the world of Harry Potter, there is a rift between mudbloods and purebloods. The latter believes that they are superior to the former because they’re blood isn’t “diluted.”

We get an excellent glimpse of this rift when we first hear the term mudblood – appropriately from Draco Malfoy.

Being reared with these biases, Draco shows Hermione – and thus the audience – his contempt for all those muggle-born wizards. It is this same contempt that qualifies him to be the heir of Slytherin (although continuation of the plot shows otherwise). It’s also this contempt that I want to use as a touchstone for my point for this episode.

draco, harry, hermione, mudblood

“No one asked for your opinion, you filthy, litlle mudblood.”

This attitude of contempt is a replica of how the Israelites all throughout the Old Testament and throughout the narrative arcs of the New Testament felt about all those without the circumcision of Abraham.

To provide a better context: circumcision in the Old Testament was the sign and seal of the physical covenant and external relationship between man and God. And those within that covenant believed that they were superior to those without it.

The same conclusion can unfortunately be drawn from some Christians, as we often fall into the trap of believing that we are better than people outside the faith – one of the devil’s favorite snares, I’m sure.

The thing about it though: it was a physical sign and seal – emphasizing the physical and that it is separate from the spiritual. That is, you could be circumcised outwardly, have absolutely no love for God in your heart, and still call yourself “righteous.”

Paul puts down this belief in his pinnacle statement to the Roman Christians – newly converted from the old religion of Judaism and the old covenant of circumcision – who had the same mindset of being better those without the faith:

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God: circumcised and uncircumcised, Christian and non-Christian, pureblood and mudblood, and any other dichotomy you can think of. Consider this the common denominator that defines humanity.

Maybe you’re a Christian and you’ve caught yourself feeling superior to those who don’t share your faith. Or maybe you’re not a Christian and you’ve felt the sting of such a believer (maybe that’s why you’ve stayed away from the faith or even left it).

Just remember that this – that we all fall short and miss the mark – is the perfect window through which we can see the true glory of God and that He just wants us to come back home to Him via Jesus, as Paul lays out in the very next verse:

…and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…(Romans 3:24)

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Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.

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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. He has his M.A. in Theatre Arts and is always looking for a way to use good stories to soften people’s hearts.

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