"Isn’t everything a metaphor for a Christological meta-narrative?"

You know how, on Friday, I was going to watch HP7b in a nice, grown up cinema? I thought this would be a nice, grown up viewing with none of the irritating childish behaviour common to multiplexes. I was wrong. On arrival, there did indeed prove to be few children – however, there did appear to be a number of teenagers of a European tourist variety.

Three boys – possibly Swiss – sat in the seats nearest us and were annoying almost as soon as the film began. One kept talking (loudly) until his friends shushed him. Then a phone rang next to me, and was answered. Texts were sent and received. An hour or so later the phone rang again and was answered again. By this point I was on the verge of confiscating the phone for the duration, though apparently my companion would have stopped me if I’d gone for it (she could tell I was all set to go for it).

I would have been livid were it not for two things:
1. The grown up cinema has a bar, therefore we walked into the screening clutching an ice bucket containing a bottle of wine & two glasses. Classy. [I need to stop referring to the fabulous Everyman Screen on Baker Street as an ‘adult cinema’ as it suggests it shows porn. It doesn’t.]
2. I was greatly amused that some poor person developed hiccups at one of the film’s tensest moments. Whenever there was a moment of silence during the Battle of Hogwarts a distinct “hiccough” could be heard and this had me wiping away my tears and giggling.

This, people, is why the Wittertainment Code of Conduct is essential. All cinemas need to adopt it urgently and give staff (or customers, possibly) the right to enforce it:

Rant over.

Anyway, needless to say that HP7b was a wonderful experience. Laughter, tears and some fairly decent closure. All good. Plus, as I went with a colleague whose job title is ‘Evangelism in Contemporary Culture Officer’, it’s possibly unsurprising that it has resulted in some rather deep, possibly pointless, certainly controversial theological wonderings – a discussion on which Harry Potter characters might match figures from the Gospels/early church.

The discussion began last night after a couple of comments about Deathly Hallows’ theme of resurrection and how this related generally to resurrection theology – so far, so good. It’s fairly reasonable to relate the resurrection of a fictional character to Jesus’ resurrection. Then we went deeper and after a few minutes I made what was possibly a mistake – I mentioned it on Twitter. Cue an hour of frenetic tweeting amongst Twitter’s theologians…

We began with the following ideas:

  • Who was Peter? Originally Jo argued it was Neville [who makes a marvellous comeback in HP7b] yet Neville never denied Harry, so I suggested Ron – especially as during Deathly Hallows he abandons Hermione and Harry to their mission.
  • Who does Hermione fit? My first suggestion was Mary Magdalene, but we then decided that Ginny Weasley fitted her better. Hermione could be John, and, according to my theologian friend, HP7 is very ‘Johannine in terms of signs and wonders’.
  • Draco Malfoy is Saul/Paul. During the final battle with Voldemort, he’s still on the dark side – but he starts to soften after Harry saves his life in the Room of Requirement. In the epilogue he’s with Harry at the Hogwarts Express, so at some point along the way he must have had a complete conversion.
Then Twitter got involved, and the following thoughts cropped up, while me and Jo carried on our conversation on Facebook:

  • Some thought Dumbledore ought to be John; while me & Jo thought he was God; and someone else had him down as the Holy Spirit. Someone thought McGonagall ought to be God – resulting in a random idea of the trinity being Dumbledore, McGonagall & Harry…
  • Lucius Malfoy [we did comply with Wittertainment’s other Code and greeted Jason Isaacs when he appeared] as Pontius Pilate. He stands up to Harry, then washes his hands of it and walks away.
  • Percy Weasley as the Prodigal Son. (Though others felt this fitted Ron’s abandonment of Harry & Hermione better.)
  • We mused over Snape for quite a while, eventually landing upon Gabriel. (Especially interesting given as Rickman played Gabriel in the fabulous Dogma.)
  • Sirius Black as John the Baptist, paving the way for Harry. (There was a debate over whether Lily and James = Mary & Joseph that hasn’t been resolved yet.)
  • Bellatrix Lestrange as Herod – after all, not only is she responsible for Sirius’ death, but also the massacring of many innocents…
  • Cedric Diggory as Stephen the Martyr.
  • Dobby the House Elf as the Samaritan Woman at the Well. Or, the more I’ve thought about it, the leper who came back and said thank-you after Jesus healed a group of them…

It was after I told C this last one this morning that he informed me that “you need to stop thinking about this”. He may have a point, but it was a lot of fun and probably a good distraction for Jo as she faces a Phd viva in two days time! Some tweeters worried that we were taking this seriously – we were not – and besides, people have already written many, many books on the subject. All good fun though, and just goes to show that my theologian parents really ought to get on board and read the books themselves.

Can I write essays on this sort of thing at theological college?

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