In a new book, Greg Garrett (The Gospel According to Hollywood; Holy Superheroes; and a number of other books on religion and popular culture) explores the Harry Potter series as religious literature. Say amen, somebody! Here's a Q&A about One Fine Potion, Greg's new exploration of the "literary magic" of Harry Potter.
Flunking Sainthood: First off, congratulations on a beautiful analysis of Harry Potter. I'm sure some people will wonder, "Why now, when the series is complete, will people want to buy a book on this topic?" But I think your book proves that the Harry Potter stories have become classics in both children's and Christian literature, and that people will be analyzing them closely for decades to come.
Garrett: I'm so glad the book worked for you; obviously I'm hoping that some people will want to read more about Harry Potter. I point out early on in the book that Harry Potter has become the most successful "fictional" story in history, and the popularity of the films and now the brand new theme park in Orlando are convincing evidence that the narrative still interests millions. I waited to write my book until I had a chance to read and re-read J. K. Rowling's books, so that I could do a faithful analysis of her story to understand what it is that people are carrying away from it, whether consciously or subconsciously. What I did in One Fine Potion was name those things so that people can claim the lessons and encouragement Rowling provides in these pages and carry them back into their lives.
FS: You argue that reading books like Harry Potter is "essential for our moral development." I agree! But can you explain why?