Two more quotes from Travis Prinzi’s excellent Harry Potter & Imagination, this time with a significant spoiler alert attached:
Harry’s journey into the forest [at the end of The Deathly Hallows] is, in J.K. Rowling’s mind, the point of the whole series. “That is the chapter that I had planned for 17 years. That moment is the heart of all the books”. Harry reaches the forest much like Aslan – his strength is spent (so much so that he’s unable to conjure a patronus), and he is terribly shaken at the prospect of death… When Harry arrives at the clearing in the forest, there is much the same imagery as Lewis describes: a burning fire, and a motley crew of baddies; and just as Aslan went silently without a struggle, so Harry stood and let the killing curse hurt him.
The voluntary death should not be overlooked, because it is the most potent part of the equation in the defeat over evil which each death affords.
While not cosmic in its scope, Harry accomplished a defeat of Voldemort’s power over the Wizarding World with his “death” and return. It could even be argued that, in a sense, Voldemort had taken “ownership” of the Wizarding World. With complete control over the Ministry through Pius Thicknesse, Voldemort owned the Ministry, the Wizarding World’s governmental body. Harry’s death on behalf of the Wizarding World broke Voldemort’s ability to bind them with magic. He could control and hurt them no longer. Not only would the silencing spell not work, by corollary, the unforgiveable curses would no longer work, meaning that Voldemort could no longer co-opt their wills, torture them, or kill them. Harry’s willing sacrifice accomplished a redemption from the power of Voldemort.
Of further Harry Potter relevance is a fascinating little post by Mary Halford over at The New Yorker today entitled “God and Man at Hogwarts” looking at how no book in recent memory has been both vilified and defended so vigorously by the “same” religious group, i.e. Christians. Also, the Times has their review up of The Deathly Hallows Part I, and it’s very promising. Same goes for Salon.com.