Kids and the Latest Harry Potter Flick

Josh and Alyssa Foster went to see the latest Harry Potter offering, and as they described it to me, I thought it might be useful for others. Here’s what Josh wrote:

First off I just want to give anyone the heads up there may be spoilers in this, so considered yourself warned. 🙂
So my wife and I went to see The Deathly Hallows and after seeing how many young children were in attendance she posted a warning to parents about how dark it is and I just wanted to explain a little bit more in detail to further equip parents in deciding whether it is appropriate for their children. Please do not mistake us, this isn’t a complaint or criticism of the story or movie but because we love kids so much we want to help parents.

So just to throw it out there, Alyssa and I are both nerds when it comes to the Harry Potter saga and have thoroughly enjoyed all of the movies and books, including this most recent one. As Harry and the other characters have grown up their story has grown darker and darker each year. The Deathly Hallows has continued that theme, so we no longer consider a child’s story.

First off, there is a sub story that is very similar to the holocaust. Voldemort and the Death Eaters (the bad guys) are seeking to wipe out anyone and everyone who isn’t a pure blood (anyone whose parents are not witches or wizards). The opening scene shows the Death Eaters around a long table with the teacher of Muggle Studies from Hogwarts suspended above the table by magic. It is clear that she has been tortured for her beliefs of equality between the races, as she pleads for her life Voldemort mercilessly and with pleasure finishes her off. It’s not my plan to go into detail about every gruesome thing about the movie, but I just wanted to give everyone a foretaste of the movie. 

I did take a few good illustrations away from the movie.

  1. The story from the first year to their adulthood is very accurate to real life. As young children we are naive and believe that we have seen the worst of what the world has to offer. But as we grow older we realize that this world is not how it should be. There needs to be someone to redeem it, to set it right. 
  2. Voldemort is a very tangible illustration of who Satan is and his mission. He loves death, finds pleasure in pain and suffering, uses whoever he can to succeed, does whatever he can to win, he lacks mercy, love, grace, kindness, and any sort of desire for anyone to benefit from a situation, besides himself.
  3. There is hope, a redeemer. In this story Harry is the redeemer. But even as we follow along with him, we see that he is not the perfect redeemer that we would imagine he is. We see how insufficient he is on his own – he needs community to succeed.
  4. Karma isn’t real. Not even one evil person dies, but some of the most loveable characters do. Now I may be wrong on this detail, but either way, the death toll is very lopsided. But this is a great illustration that people do not get what they deserve and vice versa.
  5. From reading the book and knowing the ending, I have found many excellent and sufficient illustrations of the Gospel and what Jesus has done to redeem our world and put his arch enemy is his place.

In summary, we really liked the movie. It is effective and essential to the story. We do intend on sharing the story of Harry Potter with our children, but only at the right time. And we are excited to see these series of movies head to the finale. There are a handful of powerful teaching opportunities in this film, so it is redemptive – but with the careful wisdom of a parent to balance it out.
I would describe this movie simply as dark, violent, and depressing. All together, very true to real life; without the hope of a Savior.

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