1. Very interesting! Especially the contrasts between JKR’s public stances and the themes in the novels. Well done!

  2. Fascinating thoughts. Actually, I am currently reading through the books again (introducing my kids!! Which is fun because I was forbidden to read them growing up) and alongside this, my husband and I have been watching through the films again. And something VERY clear and obvious that I noted from page one is how black-and-white-evil Rowling tends to paint her villains, specifically the Dursleys. I can’t help feeling that she treats her real-life political opponents like she treats the Dursleys in the books: not just wrong, but also necessarily stupid, and completely odious. If someone is a villain in her eyes, they are worth poking fun at, maligning, and mocking. Unfortunately I see this reflected both in her books and in how she talks on Twitter. But I think your analysis is spot on…she writes truth into her stories because she is subject to it. I also think the world has changed a lot since the HP books hit the market, and she maybe feels the need to go back and shoehorn in viewpoints the books didn’t necessarily espouse, so that they fit with the relevant themes of the times.

  3. notleia says:

    Alternately, it could be that Harry Potter is so bland (as a character) and pretty boilerplate (as a series’s major themes go, her brilliance was in the details) that it’s super easy to map mainstream values onto them (which is probably why it’s such a monumental seller).

    • notleia says:

      Also JKR is not actually that radical, lots of her stances are pretty mainstream for Britain, which I know lots of American deep conservatives like to paint as a socialist hellscape when it suits them (oh noes, nationalized health care!1!!1 the horror!!!1!)

      At least the woman puts her money where her mouth is, she’s a merely millionaire because she’s given away enough that’s she’s no longer a billionaire.

  4. Good article! I have a couple thoughts. In many ways, your conclusion refutes the very popular notion among Christian authors that we don’t have to be intentional about infusing our stories with what we believe because our worldview will just naturally spring forth.

    The second point has to do with Rowling personally. I think she may have taken a liberal turn when 1) so many Christians rebuffed her story and 2) her money has tested her mettle. I could be wrong about this, but I also think someone in her family is openly gay, but I could be confusing her with Anne Rice.

    Either way, when someone just goes along to get along, then they don’t have real convictions. Think Bill Clinton signing the Definition of Marriage act into law and then repudiating it years later when the left was overrun by the LGBT lobby. Essentially Clinton “believed” in heterogeneous marriage, until he didn’t. So too, with Rowling, I think.


  5. I’ve never read Harry Potter, but from what I’ve learned about Rowling from listening to her interviews, etc, she seems to have had a pretty hard life. I don’t approve of everything she says and does, but it sounds like her hardships cause her to have compassion for those she considers downtrodden and to attack everyone else that happens to upset her. Ironically, that means that she has a lot less empathy than she should have, seeing as she doesn’t seem to approach the world with nearly as much nuance as a person should. It sort of simultaneously makes me feel vaguely irritated with her, but also sad for what she’s dealt with in her life.

    Also, just because someone is said to have a godparent in a story doesn’t mean the author is saying that child was baptized. Sometimes when I see people talk about godparents, they are merely referring to the people designated to take care of a child in the event of the parents’ deaths.

    • notleia says:

      If having a godparent is in relation to a baptism, that usually means infant baptism, which traditionally lots of Protestant denoms are very much not okay with.

      • Yeah, that might be why I didn’t really know about the godparent and baptism connection until much later in life. Growing up in a Protestant denomination, I was always taught that salvation, baptism, etc. was a personal choice. So basically it seemed that they didn’t approve of infant baptism because the infant was too young to choose it, which means the infant wouldn’t achieve salvation or gaining any meaning from the baptism.

  6. Paul says:

    JK is another person with the Light of Christ, but is heeding the call of the a Great and Spacious building.

  7. John Weaver says:

    J.K. Rowling is a Christian author and has explicitly said so. That does not mean she writes Christian fiction. Notleia’s right, her positions are quite mainstream, even conservative in the U.K. Currently, the main people who are attacking her are on the left. Not trying to convince you off anything here. I don’t know what the term “more Christian” even means. That seems to treat salvation like a process rather than an event, which ironically is a fairly heterodox position within evangelical circles. I also don’t know why opposing Brexit makes one a social justice warrior. That could just as easily be about just honest policy evaluation, especially since Rowling might think it would lead to a crackup of the U.K. (she is Scottish remember).

    I have to be honest, I find far more orthodox Christian belief in both Rowling’s novels and her personal life than I do in most evangelical speculative fiction, which often seems to equate political orthodoxy with doctrinal orthodoxy. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christian speculative fiction writers, I just don’t know why we need to attack Rowling for differences of political opinion.

What do you think?