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e-Research: A Journal of Undergraduate Work

Abstract

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series remains one of the most popular series ever created, loved by adults and children alike. The Harry Potter series has been translated into over thirty languages in more than one hundred and thirty countries (Killinger 2). This series has spawned a billion dollar industry eight movies, merchandise including shirts, cloaks, wands, and bobble heads, an intercollegiate muggle quidditch league, and a multimillion-dollar amusement park attraction However, despite its increasing popularity and fandom, Harry Potter remains a highly controversial book among fundamentalist religious groups because of its involvement in the world of witches, wizards, and magic. Groups such as these often quote the biblical book of Revelation to condemn the Harry Potter books, particularly Revelation 21:8 which states "[...] those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." Despite the use of the book of Revelation to rebuke the Harry Potter series, few have actually analyzed the parallels between the two books. In fact, Harry Potter itself holds many of the characteristics prevalent in intertestamental apocalyptic literature. These characteristics include but are not limited to symbolism, pessimism, the world shaking at the foundations, dualism, the presence of a righteous remnant, prophecy and determinism, and triumph of God. This essay will analyze the presence of these characteristics, as well as sacrificial love in the Harry Potter novels, specifically focusing on the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This essay is a preliminary study and will later be expanded regarding all seven Harry Potter novels.

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