Recurring Theme in Harry Potter

Vestral

A Seeker of Sorts
For quite some time now, I’ve been wanting to start a new thread around what I feel is a recurring theme in all of the Harry Potter books. I must tell you that I am a Christian, and I find a strong Christian under-current throughout the series. Before I get to the real thread topic, I’d like to throw out a few other similar thoughts that won’t really fit anywhere else. Many of my friends are surprised to learn that I am such a big Harry Potter fan, mostly because they have heard from Christian radicals that the books promote witchcraft, wicca, and the occult.
There are some actual references to the occult and witchcraft in the books, but that is not at all the focus. Anyone who has actually read the books knows that. What my friends find even more surprising is when I tell them that you can find lots of Christian symbolism in all of the Harry Potter books... the phoenix (the resurrection bird), the unicorn, and the griffin (half eagle, half lion... king of heaven and earth) are just a few. We could dedicate an entire thread just to the Christian symbolism, but instead, I recommend that anyone who is interested in reading a great book that promotes a great Christian view of HP, to read John Granger’s “Looking for God in Harry Potter”.

Now to the topic at hand...

My purpose for this thread is to point out a recurring Christian theme blueprint, that Jo Rowling has used in every one of the Harry Potter books to date... one that I am confident she will use again for the final book. It follows what I call the Seven ‘D’s...

Discovery, Dilemma, Decision, Descent, Disaster, Death, and Deliverance.

To break this very long post up into readable chunks, I will first post the original theme
based on Jesus Christ as a starting point. Then I will apply each book to the blueprint and finally attempt to predict what I feel will happen in Book 7.
 

Vestral

A Seeker of Sorts
Discovery - He is the Christ and starts His earthly ministry, and calls His disciples... working many miracles and wonders (almost magic ?).

Dilemma - The Jewish leaders are stirred up against Him to the point that they finally arrest Him and put Him on trial.

Decision - Jesus knew why He had come to earth in human form, and He had already made His decision long ago to stand in our place, take our rightful punishment, and die for sins that He had not committed.

Descent - Jesus’ followers all desert Him and He is left to face His accusers alone. (After His death, He literally descends into he11 itself before being raised from the dead)

Disaster - Jesus faces a mock trial and found guilty... He is beaten and nailed to a cross.

Death - Jesus is crucified, dies, and is buried.

Deliverance - Jesus rises from the dead and in doing so, delivers all of us by utterly defeating death, and promising us that we can have eternal life through Him... with Him.
 

Vestral

A Seeker of Sorts
PS/SS
Discovery - Harry learns that he is a wizard and he begins to learn a little about his past.

Dilemma - someone is trying to steal the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone... Harry thinks it is Snape.

Decision - Harry, Ron and Hermione decide to break the rules and risk personal safety to prevent Snape from getting the stone.

Descent - down through the trap door

Disaster - Ron gets hurt, Hermione has to turn back, and Harry has to go on alone to face, not Snape, but Quirrelmort.

Death - Harry gets the stone, but is knocked out... almost killed ?

Deliverance - Harry is saved from Quirrelmort’s touch and an almost certain death by the love of his mother.
 
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Vestral

A Seeker of Sorts
CoS
Discovery - Harry can speak parseltongue and has a lot in common with Voldemort. He also has found a strange diary that gives him glimpses of the first time the Chamber of Secrets was opened.

Dilemma - Someone has opened the Chamber of Secrets again, students are being attacked and petrified, and finally Ginny Weasley is taken into the chamber.

Decision - Hermione has been petrified, so Harry and Ron, with a reluctant Lockhart, decide to rescue Ginny.

Descent - down under the castle into the Chamber of Secrets...

Disaster - Lockhart tries to obliviate Ron and Harry’s memories, but instead caves in part of the tunnel. Harry has to go on alone again to find Tom Riddle, a dying Ginny Weasley, and Slytherin’s monster... a basilisk.

Death - After fighting and killing the basilisk with the help of Fawkes and the Sword of Godric Gryffindor, Harry is mortally wounded and all looks lost.

Deliverance - Fawkes again comes to Harry’s aid and heals his wound. Harry then destroys the diary/Horcrux before Voldemort can fully regain his body, and Ginny is also restored.
 

Vestral

A Seeker of Sorts
PoA
Discovery - Harry learns something, but not everything, about Sirius Black, and learns a bit more about his parents and his past.

Dilemma - Sirius Black has escaped and appears to want to kill Harry. A strange and ominous black dog seems to be following Harry.

Decision - Ron is taken by the “grim” and Harry and Hermione decide to go after them.

Descent - Harry and Hermione go down into the tunnel beneath the Whomping Willow to face who knows what...

Disaster - Sirius Black is an animagus and in fact the black dog that has been following Harry... the trio are caught up in the drama of learning the truth about Sirius, Wormtail, and Lupin, and the appearance of Snape. Then the full moon appears as they emerge from the tunnel, transforming Lupin into a werewolf.

Death - Harry descends again down to the edge of the lake where he faces the Dementers and a fate worse than death...

Deliverance - Harry and Sirius both are delivered from the Dementor’s kiss by a white stag patronus.
 

Vestral

A Seeker of Sorts
GoF
Discovery - Harry is chosen as the fourth Triwizard Champion... he thinks someone must be trying to kill him by entering him into such a dangerous tournament.

Dilemma - Harry is faced with many difficult and dangerous tasks throughout the tournament.

Decision - Harry, through fair play with Cedric Diggory, decides to share the glory of winning the tournament by grasping the TW cup at the same time...

Descent - the cup is a portkey and literally transports Harry and Cedric down to the grave... a grave yard.

Disaster - Cedric is murdered and Harry captured, where he is used in a ritual to resurrect the physical body of Voldemort.

Death - Harry duels Voldemort and again faces a most certain death until the Avada Kedavra curse from Voldemort’s wand connects with Harry’s wand .

Deliverance - Harry is saved by Priori Incantatem and the echoes of the victims of Voldemort... including Harry’s parents. Phoenix song from the shared phoenix tailfeather cores of the two wands surrounds them and Harry breaks free and escapes with the portkey.
 
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Vestral

A Seeker of Sorts
OotP
Discovery - Harry is having dreams/visions that appear to be linked to the mind of Voldemort. He also learns more about his past and about a prophecy.

Dilemma - Lots of trials and tribulations for Harry and friends with the arrival of Dolores Umbridge, and the ministry seems to be persecuting Harry for saying that Voldemort has returned. One of his biggest concerns seems to be of Sirius’ safety.

Decision - Harry and friends fly to London on Thestrals to enter the Ministry of Magic and save Sirius who they fear is in danger.

Descent - down again into the underground MoM building...

Disaster - after a long battle through many rooms and many floors with Lucius Malfoy and other powerful Deatheaters, the prophecy is destroyed, Ron and others are injured, Sirius is killed when the Order shows up, and Harry is face to face again with Voldemort.

Death - Dumbledore and Voldemort fight, but Harry is finally possessed by Voldemort. Harry is in so much pain that he welcomes death.

Deliverance - Voldemort cannot stand to possess Harry because of the love inside of Harry, and it drives him out, and Voldemort escapes again.
 
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Vestral

A Seeker of Sorts
HBP
Discovery - Harry discovers much about Voldemort’s past and about Horcruxes and the efforts of Voldemort to attain immortality. He is also unfolding a plot by Draco Malfoy.... he’s just not sure what.

Dilemma - Harry must get Slughorn’s Horcrux memory and figure out what Malfoy is up to. He must also aid Dumbledore in retrieving a Horcrux he thinks he has found.

Decision - Harry gets Slughorn’s memory and accompanies DD on a Horcrux hunting trip, away from the school, even though he fears Malfoy will strike when they are gone.

Descent - down the cliff into the water and deep into the cave with DD.

Disaster - DD drinks the potion and collapses, leaving Harry alone to face the Inferi...

Death - Harry thinks DD is dead and can see himself being dragged into the water and drowned by the cold hands of the Inferi...

Deliverance - DD revives and drives the Inferi back into the water by calling the spirit of Johnny Cash and his “burning ring of fire”.

Just kidding... Book 6 adds a twist by then ASCENDING to the top of the Astronomy Tower, where there is once again disaster and the literal death of Dumbledore.

I think this is simply setting the stage for the final book and the beginning stage of discovery one last time.

I want to break here before I make my Book 7 predictions following this blueprint.
What do you think ?
 
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Alz

Administrator
Staff member
It's only fair I start by saying I am not a religious person - so I wont even begin to touch upon the references to the bible, Jesus etc.

All the same - I know that there are a great deal of people our there that have religion as a big part of their life and I am sure they will see the relevance better than me ...

But, from a non-religious POV - I like what you have done there - drawing the parallels between the books and the points you raised initially - I don't think that is by accident as we know JKR has religion in her life as well and it is possible that sneaks into her writing - after all that she has written it would seem possible.

I do want to add, thanks for the great post!
I hope others that can give you a more detailed response take the time to read through it - I am a firm believer in freedom of speech as long as it isn't offending and do like to see the depths others take the series and how they apply it to their own POV ..

Thanks Vestral!
 

Vestral

A Seeker of Sorts
Thanks Alz...
Here are my predictions (very general) for Book 7.
I have some more specific predictions, but felt they would be too lengthy here.

Discovery - Harry searches for and finds all but one, maybe two Horcruxes. He learns most if not all of what really happened the night of his parents' murders.
Either Harry or Hagrid has the memory of that night tucked away deep in their mind. Somewhere along the way he learns the truth about Snape, but maybe not until the very end. I feel that Snape may die protecting Harry.

Dilemma - Harry cannot find the last of the Horcruxes and may actually have trouble finding Godric's Hollow.

Decision - Harry must return to Godric's Hollow with the help of Ron, Hermione and Hagrid, find the final Horcrux (or two ?) and then find and kill Voldemort.

Descent - I'll bet that when Harry goes back to where it all began for him, he will have to descend into a crypt of something at Godric's Hollow... it just follows the pattern.

Disaster - Voldemort and his Death Eaters will be there, Snape, Malfoy, Wormtail, and I'll bet there will be a huge final battle, much bigger than the battle in the Ministry when Sirius was killed. Several will be hurt or killed... Hagrid... maybe Ron ? Harry will be left to face Voldemort alone again.

Death - At some point Harry will have found all but one Horcrux and he will think that all is lost in his fight against Voldemort. I think Wormtail and Snape will somehow come to Harry's aid in the end and kill Voldemort's body, but die in the effort. Voldemort returns to vapor or attempts to inhabit Harry again ?

Deliverance - Harry will then realize that he (or his scar specifically) is the final Horcrux. Perhaps Lily will visit Harry from beyond and reveal to Harry that the way she protected him was to somehow ensure that when Voldemort attempted to kill baby Harry, it would instead turn him into a Horcrux. Harry then delivers the Wizarding world from Voldemort by utterly destroying him by destroying himself and the last bit of Voldemort's soul that resides inside of Harry. But I think there will be a twist... either Harry will have become an animagus or has learned human transfiguration and can turn into a phoenix.
He can then go up in flames as a phoenix, but be born again from the ashes, sans Voldemort. OR it will be a bit more dramatic and Harry will walk into the veil, and we will see a glimpse of what is behind it... Sirius, Dumbledore, James, Lily, Hagrid, and others ?
One thing I feel is a certainty... Harry's death, permanent or temporary, in Book 7.
 
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Alz

Administrator
Staff member
I really like your predicitions there!
Many of those are really plausible and highly possible!
Interesting how you decided on two horcruxes missing - what made you come to that conclusion?
Once again I like the way you fitted the events into the pattern you have drawn up.
If you do get more time - I would love to see the expanded version of your thoughts!
 

Vestral

A Seeker of Sorts
One of the listed items on Dumbledore's suggested Horcruxes is a red herring... I think Nagini is NOT a Horcrux. Harry will, by the end of Book 7, have two remaining Horcruxes... he will find one and destroy it, and then he will kill Nagini, or maybe Ron or Hermione will, and he will think he has destroyed them all and then go after Voldemort... not yet knowing that Nagini was not the final horcrux... Harry is.
Makes for a more dramatic ending.
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
I quite agree on the red herring - I think Dumbledore either knew or was misguided to one of the item conclusions ...

Applying your theory - Discovery, Dilemma, Decision, Descent, Disaster, Death, and Deliverance does seem very much like the theme of the septology - all books together seem to have elements of each but overall are a snapshot of all!
 

Vestral

A Seeker of Sorts
Yes... I did notice that you can apply the formula to the septology as a whole,
and each book leans toward one of the seven stages more so than the others, even though there are elements of each stage in every book.

PS/SS is mostly a book about discovery...
CoS is much more than just a book about Harry's dilemma, but I think in it,
Harry truly sees the dilemma he is in... a constant struggle against Voldemort.
In this book, Harry sees the real dilemma of Voldemort clearly for the first time.
PoA does seem to be a book where Harry makes his decision to believe in himself and be the wizard he needs to be to go after Voldemort, after Wormtail escapes and returns to his Dark Lord.
GoF clearly plunges Harry into a descent of despair as he witnesses Voldemort's rebirth and the death of Cedric.
OotP shows that Harry is an emotional disaster, Sirius is killed, and Harry's world is turned upside down.
HBP represents the death of Harry's mentor and the death of Harry the pupil... he must now step up and be the Master.

Book 7 will prove to be, finally, our Book of Deliverance, as Harry delivers the world finally, and completely from Voldemort.
 
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Alz

Administrator
Staff member
Yes... I did notice that you can apply the formula to the septology as a whole,
and each book leans toward one of the seven stages more so than the others, even though there are elements of each stage in every book.

PS/SS is mostly a book about discovery...
CoS is much more than just a book about Harry's dilemma, but I think in it,
Harry truly sees the dilemma he is in... a constant struggle against Voldemort.
In this book, Harry sees the real dilemma of Voldemort clearly for the first time.
PoA does seem to be a book where Harry makes his decision to believe in himself and be the wizard he needs to be to go after Voldemort, after Wormtail escapes and returns to his Dark Lord.
GoF clearly plunges Harry into a descent of despair as he witnesses Voldemort's rebirth and the death of Cedric.
OotP shows that Harry is an emotional disaster, Sirius is killed, and Harry's world is turned upside down.
HBP represents the death of Harry's mentor and the death of Harry the pupil... he must now step up and be the Master.

Book 7 will prove to be, finally, our Book of Deliverance, as Harry delivers the world finally, and completely from Voldemort.

Have to agree with the last poster - really well observed!
I know we can select words and make them fit but the pattern you are proposing does seem more than making words fit - the general tones of the book seem to support your conclusions ..
 

halliemei

Time Turners
BRAVO, my friend!!!!! BRAVO!

We've discussed it before but this is quite good work. I had to publically tell everyone.

Go to Jo's site and check out a few of her more recent updates. I think there are a couple in Rumors that support/debunk a few of our pet ideas. So, we may need to rethink. But, again - very nice putting it into words.:D
 

Hermione2

Time Turners
Love your post!
I am not religious myself so i cannot coment on your theory there but in reference to the books i can only say Amazing.

The predictions for book 7 where very good.
 

tobias

Time Turners
When I read the thread all I could think of was "I wish I had thought of that!"

Brilliant pattern: the example was succinctly put and eloquently done.
 

Dr Winterbourne

Time Turners
I attempted a similar thing to this 7 step analysis a few years ago - using Joseph Campbell's 'Hero With 1000 Faces.' He suggests there are 12 steps that all heroes go through on their quests. Each of these steps occur in each of the Potter novels, and also they apply to the series overall - and thus allow for predictions. They suggested that Dumbledore and Sirius would die, for example, and that Ginny would be Harry's wife.

Some of the steps were as follows - and I will include a brief list of examples from PS as illustrations.
1. Call to Adventure - The letter
2. Refusal of the Call - Disbelief he was a wizard
3. Mentor - Hagrid convinces Harry he is a wizard
4. Crossing the first threshold - Diagon Alley
5. Allies, Enemies, Trials - Meets ron, hermione, Malfoy, has adventures

And so on. The pattern holds tru for he whole book - but recures in microcosm in the final battle againt Quirrelmort too.

It works for most fantasy texts - the worse the text, the more closely it seems to apply.

Campbell drew his stages from analysis of mythology, so it is not surprising Jesus' story would match. Indeed Jesus' story has analogues in all major mythologies.
 
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