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Events Mon Aug 04 2008

Event Spotlight: Harry Potter Terminus

I don't know whether this really kind of cool or really kind of sad. On the one hand, while the idea of people from all over the world gathering together to discuss a series of books and the impact they've made on our culture speaks to my literature-loving, sociology-enthused heart, the fact that the subject matter is Harry Potter remains a little disappointing. Nevertheless, this five day conference will take place on August 7-11 at the Hilton Chicago Hotel and even though it's only a few days away, you can still purchase tickets at the door for $60 per day or $200 for the whole she-bang. Programming includes presentations, roundtable discussions, fanfiction readings, art and writing challenges, Quidditch matches (though I doubt the organization was able to get the insurance coverage for real flying brooms, so don't get your hopes up too high) and much more. All of this information can be found by perusing the website. Lest you think this would be a great venture for your children, keep in mind that the conference is designed for adults and any children under 18 must be accompanied by a chaperone over 21. Email help[at]terminus2008[dot]org for any questions. (And next time we decide to have a worldwide conference on a series of books, maybe we could focus it on something with a bit more depth? Please?)

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Hans Andréa / August 4, 2008 2:43 PM

With all due respect: Harry Potter is one of the deepest, most spiritual and most symbolic books ever written.

Veronica Bond is looking only at the superficial aspect of "Harry Potter" - as are most readers, I hasten to add. If one is willing to look closely at the symbolism in the septology, one can find a new world opening up. This is a radiant world of intense spiritual power, of pure goodness and of powerfully liberating energy. This symbolism can be summed up by the word "alchemy".

Let me cite part of an interview with JK Rowling in 1998, just before Book 3 was published:
"I've never wanted to be a witch, but an alchemist, now that's a different matter. To invent this wizard world, I've learned a ridiculous amount about alchemy. Perhaps much of it I'll never use in the books, but I have to know in detail what magic can and cannot do in order to set the parameters and establish the stories' internal logic."

The alchemy I'm referring to is a spiritual process of purification, inner change and the dedication to the pure, divine and eternal principle (Lily) in the human heart. It is turning the lead of the selfish personality into the gold of a truly spiritual person.

And that is what is hidden in "Harry Potter". Harry is the symbol of every man who is the son of the Primordial Potter of the Universe. His quest is to free himself of the evil and selfishness within him (Voldemort), and achieve liberation and enlightenment, such as was achieved by people like the Buddha, Lao Tzu and Jesus.

Anyone who doubts my assertion, consider the following:

A prophecy is made that a baby is to be born who will change the world. He is born and a star appears to announce his birth. When the king of this world hears about the birth he tries to have the baby killed, but fails. The child grows up in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man. He performs miracles at a young age, but as he grows older he knows he will have to defeat his arch-enemy: Satan. Our hero prepares to sacrifice himself for the world, and so he surrenders himself, undefended, to face certain death. He is killed, and goes into an underworld, where he can choose to 'go on' or come back. He comes back victorious, as a Master of Death, i.e. eternal life, to liberate the world of evil.

We all know that story - that's the story of Jesus. But it's also the story of Harry Potter. In Harry's case the star is Sirius, who becomes his God-Father. At a young age Harry saves many lives, wins battles against dragons and giant snakes, and faces death by Voldemort time and again.

The story of the hero who enters the world of the dead and then comes back to save the world is universal. It's the story of Orpheus, Bacchus, Attis, Osiris, Dionysus, and many others, going back thousands of years.

This archetypical story resonates in the collective unconscious of so many millions because humanity has incessantly been confronted by the symbolism of the Inner God asleep in the human heart, like the bud of a pure, dazzlingly white lily. We can awaken the Prince of Peace by answering God's call to return to Him. That answer is to thirst for God, like a stag thirsting for the flowing water of the forest stream. This thirst will open the bud, and a new soul will be born, who will commence the struggle against the seeker's own evil, selfishness, and darkness. He will triumph, and when he does so he will lift the seeker above death, suffering and evil.

This is the hidden symbolism in the world's most popular book. This is the symbolism that resonates with the human collective unconscious, explaining the book's popularity. This is the conspiracy which is bringing light into this world of war, terrorism, human trafficking, child soldiers, drug abuse and endless violence. The light will work its way to the surface, causing millions of people to become seekers for the way back to the Father, like the prodigal son. And there will be a new faith: the faith in the Inner God, asleep in every heart.

I have created a website which explores this theme: I would very much like to invite Veronica and her readers to visit the site. I think she for one will be utterly surprised that far from lacking depth, Harry Potter has a depth that will keep people exploring for many years.

Hans Andréa
Haarlem, Netherlands

Rachelle Tessier / August 4, 2008 5:45 PM

I'd like to thank Hans for that lovely comment, and would also like to add that if Harry Potter had no depth, then I wouldn't have had it as a text in one of my University courses. There is much to analyse in it, so maybe try taking a course first before making such a statement.

V. McKinley / August 11, 2008 4:17 PM

I agree with both of the above, and note that the academic papers presented at the conference were of very high quality and from a number of different disciplines. Anything that stirs up that much intellectual interest (in addition to inspiring teenagers to read books, write their own fiction, and form over 500 bands that write and perform "wizard rock") can't be all that shallow. Just because the books have been licensed for movies and other commercial ventures does not make them crass in and of themselves. I wonder, has Ms. Bond read the series?

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