This is a study/sermon, aimed at Christians, to help make sense of Revelation 22, particularly verses 10 to 17. It has some Harry Potter plot spoilers. It might be helpful to read from Revelation 22:10 to the end of the chapter before reading this.
The Fantasy and Apocalyptic Genres
What are the Harry Potter books, written by J.K. Rowling, all about?
If you asked a child that question, they would probably say something like this:
“Harry Potter is about a boy, who’s a wizard, and how he and his friends defeat a dark wizard called Lord Voldemort.”
If you asked someone who studied English literature they might say something like this instead:
“Harry Potter is about the quest for virtue.”
(Actually, the C.S. Lewis scholar, Dr Alister McGrath, said words to that effect in April 2013.)
If you asked someone who was more historically and politically minded, they might say something else:
“Harry Potter is J.K. Rowling’s way of saying that, even if there were such a thing as a master race, the Nazis were still wrong.”
(Actually, that should be credited to my husband.)
All three statements have something to be said for them.
One of the things I love about the fantasy genre of literature and films is the way that strong and stark images can be used to portray truths. They spark the imagination, working on multiple layers at a time; so long as you don’t read them too scientifically or factually, but instead read them in the context of their genre, and the traditions they are drawing from and elaborating on, then the unreality of the story allows you to unmask reality.
What has all this got to do with the book of Revelation? Well, if you want to get your head around the text, you need to understand the apocalyptic genre. Continue reading Revelation 22 for beginners (with illustrations from Harry Potter)