Movie Review: Part 1 of
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
By Berit Kjos – November 24, 2010
“When we first started ‘Harry Potter’ and cast 10-year-old Daniel Radcliffe in the title role, parents drove their 10-year-olds to see the movies. Today, those same kids are now driving themselves to the midnight shows.” Dan Fellman, Warner Brothers“In a chilling performance by Ralph Fiennes, the [Voldemort] character plays out like a dimensional compliment to Adolf Hitler. He is as hungry for power as they come. … his deliberate hatred of the muggle race [humans] mirrors the Nazi internment of the Jews.”
“Death Eaters constitute a group of wizards and witches, led by the dark wizard Lord Voldemort… who seek to purify the Wizarding community by eliminating the Muggle-borns. They…recognize one another by the Dark Mark on their left forearm, a sign created by Voldemort to summon them instantly to him.”
“The whole world is under the sway of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19
Dark, dismal, demonic, deadly…. There’s no sign of joy in this disturbing movie! Yet it captivates children, stirs love for evil, and arouses addictive cravings for more stimuli and ever darker thrills. Why are the forces of evil so enticing?
“These are dark times…” declared Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic (rumored to be a vampire), as the movie begins. “Our world has never faced a greater threat.”
He’s right in more ways than one. That solemn warning could be applied to at least three different spiritual battlefields:
1. Lord Voldemort’s murderous domain.
2. Harry Potter’s lighter, more deceptive face of the occult.
3. Today’s embattled world, where love for occult entertainment is fast becoming more acceptable than God’s Truth.
1. The deadly domain of the occult
Voldemort and his horde of Death Eaters have taken control of the Ministry of Magic. Their resisters are killed. Fear and chaos shadow the land. Rufus Scrimgeour, who refused to help them find Harry Potter, has been cruelly tortured and killed.
Even Voldemort is in trouble. In his fanatical quest for power and immortality, he has created six Horcruxes that contain imbedded parts of his own soul. Harry and others have already found and destroyed some of them, and now they are searching for the rest. Voldemort’s goal is to kill Harry before he destroys more of his soul. His life depends on it! To plot Harry’s capture and murder, he summons his Death Eaters to a meeting at Lucius Malfoy’s manor. Voldemort must do the killing himself, but he can’t use his own magic wand since it shares the same phoenix feather “core” as Harry’s.
“What about you, Lucius, he asks coldly. “I require your wand.” Seething with silent rage, Lucius reluctantly hands his precious wand to his despised master.
Meanwhile, the bound and tortured body of a woman hangs upside down from the ceiling. Voldemort identifies her as Professor Charity Burbage. She is guilty of teaching Hogwarts students that Pure-bloods (witches or wizards) are free to “mate with muggles.” That violates Voldemort’s standard for racial purity, so he kills her. He then invites his monstrous serpent Nagini to eat his bloody “dinner.”Such horror may actually sound funny to some. It’s not. The unthinkable images, the addictive thrills and the twisted values in this story will not be easily erased from young minds. As Joanne Rowling and the movie makers intended, this horrendous tale will captivate people of all ages and cause them to crave more such thrills.
Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman, who has long researched the effects of visual images and suggestions on children, shared this illustration:
“After the Jonesboro shootings, one of the high-school teachers told me how her students reacted….’They laughed,’ she told me with dismay. A similar reaction happens all the time inmovie theaters when there is bloody violence. The young people laugh and cheer and keep right on eating popcorn….
“We have raised a generation of barbarians who have learned to associate violence with pleasure, like the Romans cheering and snacking as the Christians were slaughtered in the Coliseum.”
2. The deceptive side of evil
As the skies turn black, Harry Potter and his loyal friends hurry to pack their belongings and flee their foes. By now, the hateful Professor Snape has alerted Voldemort to their plans, and the masked Death Eaters soon intercept their journey through the skies. Magical spells and deafening explosions shatter the stillness of the night, but Harry and most of his supporters survive. They straggle into their temporary “safe” house to rest and heal their battle wounds.
It’s tempting to cheer for the weaker side in this struggle. But life is not as it seems in this world of guided images and tempting illusions. The war between Hogwarts’ supposedly “good” sorcerers and the despicably evil ones may look like a battle between good and evil, but it’s not! Both sides trust the dark forces of magic — wielded through magical wands, spells and swords.
So do some of their fans. But those who “love evil more than good,” [Psalm 52:3] will experience the devastating consequences of the values they have chosen to embrace. As God warns us:
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness…. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21
God’s warnings become meaningless irritations to those who identify with Harry and his two best friends, Ron and Hermione. In their imaginary world, the key to victory lies in superhuman feats, not Biblical faith. At the moment, their focus is on Horcruxes — those physical objects empowered through fragments of Voldemort’s corrupted soul.
Hermione had studied the book, Secrets of the Darkest Art. “It’s a horrible book,” she explained, “really awful, full of evil magic…. And the more I’ve read about them [Horcruxes], the more horrible they seem, and the less I can believe that he actually made six. It warns in this book how unstable you make the rest of your soul by ripping it.”
A Wikia article reveals more secrets:
“The process makes the part of the soul remaining in the witch or wizard unstable. If the maker’s physical body is later destroyed, he or she will live on in non-corporeal form…. Destruction of a Horcrux is difficult, but not impossible, and requires that the object be damaged beyond most magical repair….”
“The fragments of a person’s soul within a Horcrux… have certain magical abilities, including the ability to influence those in their vicinity. When Harry, Ron, and Hermione were carrying Salazar Slytherin’s Locket around their necks in 1997, they each became moodier and more prone to fighting, especially Ron.”
Using their wands and spells, the trio did capture that locket. Now they just have to destroy it! They tried their most powerful spells, but nothing worked. The best they could do was to guard it by wearing it. In turn, they all suffered those annoying mood swings. Ron’s dark mood and jealousy finally drove them apart, and he left.
One day, while wearing the locket, Harry noticed a glimmer of light in the distance. It grew into the shape of a deer that led him to a frozen pond and then revealed a sword hidden under the ice. Excited, Harry broke the ice, undressed and swam to the bottom of the icy water. When he reached for the sword, he was blocked by a force from the soul-fragment in the locket. Unable to swim up for air, he nearly drowned.
Ron’s timely return saved Harry’s life. Ron retrieved the sword and used it to slash and destroy the locket. But their sweet success was short lived, for evil forces continued to pursue the trio until the end.
The last scene could hardly be more depressing. Lord Voldemort comes to Deathly Hallows to dig up Dumbledore’s grave. Like Harry, he suspected that the legendary “Elder Wand” would be buried with its master. The movie ends as Voldemort lifts the coveted wand into the air as a sign of victory.
3. Actual occult forces in the real world
Spiritual warfare has raged since the beginning of time, though many refuse to believe it. It’s simply not politically correct to suggest that actual witchcraft, magic and sorcery could have darkened tribes and civilizations throughout history. As Al Gore suggested in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance, historical paganism should be honored, not criticized:
“The richness and diversity of our religious tradition throughout history is a spiritual resource long ignored by people of faith, who are often afraid to open their minds to teachings first offered outside their own system of belief.”
“[Ceremonial sites] seem to confirm the notion that a goddess religion was ubiquitous throughout much of the world until the antecedents of today’s religions — most of which still have a distinctly masculine orientation — swept out of India and the Near East, almost obliterating belief in the goddess. The last vestige of organized goddess worship was eliminated by Christianity….[I]t seems obvious that a better understanding of a religious heritage preceding our own by so many thousands of years could offer us new insights…”
But Mr. Gore was distorting the truth. Witchcraft, goddess worship and other practices linked to ancient paganism were cruel and bloody, not kind and benevolent. The main goddesses in the Middle East three to four thousand years ago included Asherah, Astarte, Ishtar and others. Their ritual worship involved spiritism, sorcery, witchcraft and human sacrifices — as did Voldemort’s occult rituals.
Around 1450 BC), when Moses was preparing the Israelites to enter the promised land he spoke this warning:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who practices witchcraft… interprets omens, or a sorcerer… conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord…” Deuteronomy 18:10-12.
Raised and trained at the Egyptian court, Moses would surely have learned to write. In recent times, archeologists have uncovered all kinds of magical tools, pagan idols, and mythical scripts that reach back to ancient Egypt, Canaan, the Hittites and other parts of the world.
Dr. Paolo Matthiae, Director of the Italian Archeological Mission in Syria discovered “more than 15,000 cuneiform tablets and fragments” and unveiled a Semitic empire that dominated the Middle East more than four thousand years ago. Its hub was Ebla, where educated scribes filled ancient libraries with written records of history, people, places and commerce.
Western nations have been relatively free from occult entrapment since the Protestant Reformation. But now that God’s Truth and guidelines are increasingly banned and silenced — by law as well as through political correctness — that freedom is fading fast.
No public rules or boundaries are preventing occult enticements from spreading around the world. Never before have people been so ready and willing to receive the world’s most corrupting images and suggestions as they are today!
How does that impact our children? The Journal of the American Medical Association offers some clues:
“It compared two nations or regions that were demographically and ethnically identical; only one variable is different: the presence of television. ‘In every nation, region, or city with television, there is an immediate explosion of violence on the playground, and within 15 years there is a doubling of the murder rate. Why 15 years? That is how long it takes for the brutalization of a three-to five-year-old to reach the ‘prime crime age.’”
What can parents do to monitor and restrict violent and occult media messages? Here are a few suggestions:
Pray — fervently, frequently and confidently — based on God’s Word!
Teach your children to “put on” and wear the Armor of God. The greatest weapon against the world’s deceptions is His Truth. The Armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) provides an outline of the vital truth that can expose and resist any of Satan’s lies.
Be watchful. Explain the danger of occult entertainment to your children. Share the statistics and the horrendous consequences of the conditioning process. Show them items in the newspaper that provide current and relevant examples and warnings.
Understand the Nature and Tactics of Satan. Children need to be alert to both his timeless and his current strategies. We are all engaged in a spiritual war—and we cannot close our eyes to the realities of the foes that assault us.
- Keep thanking God who gives us the victory. Know His Names and count on His promises. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
1. Lauren A. E. Schuker, “‘Potter’ Charms Aging Audience,” WSJ, 11-22-10. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703567304575628783648960748.html?KEYWORDS=Harry+potter+deathly
2. “These are dark times,” http://www.gcsunade.com/2010/11/18/movie-review-‘these-are-dark-times-’/
3. Harry Potter Wiki, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Eater
4. Allison Wingate, “Dark times ahead for Harry Potter,” 11-20-10, www.reviewtimes.com/Issues/2010/Nov/20/ar_news_112010_story3.asp?d=112010_story3,2010,Nov,20&c=n
5. Read this testimony: “Leading Me Back Through the Darkness” at http://www.crossroad.to/Victory/testimonies/jonathan.htm
6 .Dave Grossman, “Trained to Kill” at http://www.killology.com/print/print_trainedtokill.htm
7. Horcrux, http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Horcrux
8. Al Gore, Earth in the Balance; Ecology and the Human Spirit (Houghton Mifflin, 1992), p.260