When I was doing my Master’s degree, I was briefly doing research with one of my professors surrounding the Harry Potter books. While it ultimately didn’t come to fruition, I picked up several interesting books in context to the series. One was John Granger’s The Deathly Hallows Lectures, which focus solely on the end of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I was looking forward to reading this, because a bunch of the other Harry Potter critical theory books were published in the middle of the series and didn’t have the end in sight at all.
Granger does a lot with alchemy and symbolism in his books, so if you are into that sort of reading, then this book is absolutely for you. Since this book is a compilation of lectures, there is a bit of overlap between the chapters. Granger does briefly contextualize each lecture’s rhetorical occasion, and that did give me a sense of when, where, and how it took place. There are interesting Christian connections that Granger makes, which again moves to his major theme that the Bible and Harry Potter have quite a bit in common.
This was not my favorite book of Harry Potter theory, and I think some of the approaches were part of the issue. I think there were some parts of the symbolism/symbol reading that felt plausible, and others felt like a stretch. Also, alchemy is just not my thing. However, I think there are some significant spiritual insights to be gleaned from this book. I am looking forward to a Harry Potter re-read in 2018, and some notions of the series’ cyclical nature will be helpful in another read-through.
Cross-posted to my blog.