Deeper Waters Podcast 2/4/2017: John Granger

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Harry Potter has been called the boy who lived. His books came to America here in 1998 and the first movie came out in 2001. Since then, all of the books were best sellers and all of the movies were hits, the final book even having to be divided into two movies. He was either loved or hated, but Harry was the talk of the town.

That was, of course, several years ago. The craze then was Pottermania, and surely that was it. Harry Potter was fun for awhile, but then, like so many other fun things, the time comes to move on. His fame lasted for a time and it was no more and will be no more.

But the boy who lived still lived.

Last year, the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them came out as well as a book continuing the series twenty years in the future called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Based on sales, one would think that Pottermania had never died. The book was a bestseller and the movie was a box office hit. (I must confess, I have not seen the movie, but I did get the book for my birthday and read it in a couple of days.)

What’s the Christian apologetics community to do with this? Is this harmless fun? Is it actually a satanic plot that will get our children to fall into the clutches of satanism? Or could it actually be a story that is surprisingly Christian at the core? My guest, someone well read in the classics, goes with the last option. His name is John Granger. Who is he?


Tagged “The Dean of Harry Potter Scholars” by TIME magazine’s Lev Grossman, John Granger has been the leading expert on the subject of the artistry and meaning of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels since the publication of his first book on the subject in 2002. The author or editor of eight books, ‘The Hogwarts Professor’ has been a Keynote and Featured Speaker at more than twenty academic and fan conferences, and spoken at twenty-five major universities and colleges. John has a Bachelor’s degree in Classics from the University of Chicago, a Master of Fine Arts ion Creative Writing, and is working on his PhD thesis at Swansea University (Wales). He blogs at and podcasts at MuggleNet Academia.

What is it that has led Harry Potter to be such a phenomenon such that even years after the original series, the theaters and bookstores are filled with fans again wanting to see the latest on the boy wizard? What is it that actually makes Granger think that these are Christian classics? Are these not stories of witchcraft and wizardry which would be condemned by Scripture? Are there not many examples in the stories of Harry misbehaving in ways that we should not accept as Christians?

We’ll be discussing all of this and more so if you’re a fan of Harry, or you know someone who is, this will be a show for you. Please be looking for the latest episode. Also, please consider going on ITunes and leaving a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: How Harry Cast His Spell

What do I think of John Granger’s book published by Tyndale Momentum? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last August, I went back to my hometown with my wife to visit my parents due to an illness of a friend who was dying. It was a month before my birthday and my parents asked me what I wanted. The first thing I thought of was the new Harry Potter book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. They got it for me early and I already had it read in a couple of days. I just could not put that one down. Just recently, we have also had the release of the movie based on the series, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. It’s been years since the last official Harry Potter book and movie, but let’s face it, Pottermania isn’t dead. Not only is it not dead, it’s alive not only among children but adults who love the series.

Why? Why are the adventures of the boy wizard so popular? What is it about them? How did Harry Potter enchant the world?

Enter John Granger to explain this. John Granger is known as Hogwart’s Professor. Rumor has it he’s the third cousin of Hermoine twice removed. He’s an unlikely figure to write on this seeing as being an expert in classics, when his daughter was given a copy of the first book, he read it first so he could explain to his daughter why garbage like that should not be read. Turns out he went and bought the next books that were out the next day and now he’s a leading spokesman on all things Harry Potter.

More than that, Granger is a devout Christian and is convinced that the Potter novels are woven in Christian imagery much like Lewis and Tolkien are. A lot of it comes with the symbolism of alchemy. This isn’t to justify the science of alchemy, but a way of pointing out that alchemy was seen as a way of achieving purification and holiness in the Middle Ages.

The books, Granger argues, answer the questions of our age and answer them in very Christian ways. The books are loaded with Christological imagery and no, the main power in the books is not magic. The main power in the books is love. Love has the power to overcome the darkest of all magics, even the magic of Lord Voldemort. Lord Voldemort is seen as the great tragic character because all his power comes from wanting to avoid death, even if that means murdering his own soul, instead of realizing as Dumbledore points out, that there are worse things in this world than death.

If you’re wanting to know about Christ imagery, consider that the first book was not said to have the Sorcerer’s Stone, but the Philosopher’s Stone. The Philosopher’s stone was an item sought in the past that was said to grant immortality, like Christ. Other Christ imagery includes hippogriffs, stags, unicorns, and phoenixes.

Is Harry a Christ figure? Not usually. More often than not, he represents everyman, which is why we can so often see ourselves in him. It’s also why we can accept the fact that many times Harry screws up. He’s a fallen man like we all are, but something in Harry consistently chooses to believe the right things and want to do the right things. You can see in the novels the way Harry will often mature from the start of the novel to the end of the novel.

Granger starts out the book with an introduction to his main thesis in several chapter. Then, he takes you through the books themselves and points out the symbolism and Christian lessons all throughout. To top it off, he ends it with an FAQ section of the questions he gets asked the most. (Want to know about Dumbledore being gay? Go look here.)

If Granger is right, and I think he is, this is a great time for Christians to be speaking of this imagery. Running from it could have the exact opposite effect. Granger’s book, even if you don’t agree with him, is certainly food for thought and should be considered by the fan and critic of Harry Potter alike.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast: 11/16/2013

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it.

Readers of this blog know that I’ve always been a big gamer. Sit me down in front of Legend of Zelda or Final Fantasy and I’m happy. Whatever I do, I do seriously and so when I play a game, I play to win. The world of fantasy has always been appealing to me.

It’s also known that in the Christian world, there’s much suspicion of many interests. Claims of something being occult or demonic quickly pop up. When the Harry Potter Phenomena started, this turned out to be no exception. Concerned parents did not want their children having any part in the phenomenon.

That included John Granger.

Until his pediatrician gave a copy of the first book to their daughter. Granger said he would read it first to show why that kind of garbage is not allowed in the house.

The next day he went out and bought the next two books in the series.

What caused this kind of book to be such a phenomenon? I had noticed that myself. It wasn’t just watching it, but I went and checked out from the library the books on audio so I could listen to them while I was driving, seeing as I was busy studying most of the time and didn’t have that leisure to read like that. Before too long, I found myself saying “I’ll turn it off after this sentence…after this one…after this one…”

The series is excellent! When the final book came out, I was one of those people waiting in line at the bookstore at midnight to get my copy, and mine was in audio again. (Jim Dale is amazing with the voices.) I spent the next few days sitting at home at any moment listening because I just had to find out how it ended. When I got off of work, I was going to my place to listen to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Today, I own all of the movies and have indeed seen all of them.

John Granger, my guest, now describes himself as Hogwart’s Professor and teaches a class on the series. In fact, he not only denies that it is non-Christian, but sees the series as entirely Christian, just like one would think of the Chronicles of Narnia as being a Christian series. He thinks the series is written from the worldview of a Christian to express timeless Christian truths?

But if that’s the case, then why is it set in the real world with real witches and wizards? Doesn’t the Bible condemn witchcraft? Another objection based on something not covered in the books but revealed later is the homosexuality of Dumbledore. How does this fit?

We can also discuss much deeper questions than this. How should Christians respond to that which is different? How do we examine that which we’re concerned about? How do we honor the imagination as Christians? Do we worry too much about such things? What can be said to those still concerned about the series?

I hope this show will explain one series as an example that will be used to help Christians think through anything else that they interact with and maybe give us a greater appreciation for pop culture and engaging the life of the mind through the imagination.

The show will air from 3-5 PM EST on 11/16/2013. The call-in number if you have a question is 714-242-5180. The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters