Harry Potter might have a place in heaven — at least according to one Yale professor. Yale Professor Danielle Tumminio ’03 DIV ’06, a lecturer in religion and literature who taught a seminar on the Harry Potter series last year, believes there is more to the beloved books than the appeal of witchcraft and wizardry: something holier.
Q How did you decide to write this book (“God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy in an Ivy League Classroom”)?
A I felt strongly that it was important to have a voice on the Harry Potter series that offered an analysis of the Christian dimensions of the book that extended beyond a discussion of whether or not the books were heretical because characters were witches and wizards.
Q What are some of the parallels you see between Harry Potter and religion?
A Why God allows evil, for example, is a theme that gets a lot of attention in Christian thought, and the reason for evil and how one can respond to evil is the overriding theme in the Harry Potter books. Sacrifice, particularly Jesus’, also is a prominent theme in Christian thought, just as the nature of sacrifice becomes pivotal in the lives of characters like Dumbledore, Harry, Lily Potter and Snape. These figures, when considered side-by-side with writings on Jesus, offer a great opportunity for students to consider exactly what is powerful about sacrifice or what sacrifice accomplishes.