The second Sherlock Holmes film directed by Guy Ritchie–“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows“–recently appeared in theaters, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson, respectively. While some critics have not liked the more action-oriented approach toward Holmes’s character that Downey brings to the role, I’ve accepted it for what it is and concur with Roger Ebert in the overall positive assessment of this second installment and find that it offers a reasonably satisfying blend of the cerebral and the physical. (Though I should note that I really prefer the somewhat updated, yet still rather traditional, life that Cumberbatch and Freeman breathe into the roles in the BBC’s brilliantly done Sherlock series.)
While attending a conference a few months back, I became engaged in a fascinating conversation about Harry Potter with Dr. John Hare (of Yale Divinity School). Though we both enthused about aspects of the saga, one point on which we were a bit at odds was whether or not there is a Manichean strain in the novels that one should be concerned about—he taking the affirmative and I the negative* (and I want to note that he was not lapsing into the “magic in HP is bad” tirade). After pressing me on these matters that are a bit outside of my element (seeing as I’m not theologically trained, so please jump in to correct anything Travis, Revgeorge, Danielle, others…), I promised that I would re-read the novels with this concern in mind. I did so, and I’m still not persuaded that there is any Manichaeism at work.
*[Note added: Just to clarify, he was not necessarily holding this interpretation, but noting that some might do so. I thank him very much for triggering me to revisit the texts in a new way.]
Danielle Tumminio’s guest-posting continues! Danielle is a contributor to Hog’s Head Conversations: Essays on Harry Potter. Her book, God and Harry at Yale will be available from Zossima Press later this year.
Hello, Harry Potter enthusiasts! Before we talk about evil (dum dum dum), I’m going to engage in the deadly sin of pride (can you name the other 6?) and say that God and Harry at Yale is now in to Zossima Press! Woohoo!
Okay, pride indulged. Now onto evil. Evil is a big thorn in the theologian’s side because it + God’s existence = logically impossible. Let me explain: Christians believe that God is all-knowing (omniscient), all-powerful (omnipotent) and all-good (omnibenevolent). If God is all these things, then evil shouldn’t exist: if God is all-knowing and all-powerful, then God should know evil is going to occur and then take steps to stop it. If God is all-good, then God would want to.
And yet, evil exists.
So what’s a theologian to do? Continue reading
What upcoming movie are you most looking forward to?
- The Half-Blood Prince (49%)
- Prince Caspian (15%)
- The Hobbit (12%)
- The Dark Knight (10%)
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (6%)
- X-Files 2 (2%)
- The Screwtape Letters (2%)
- Avatar (Last Airbender- M. Night Shaymalan) (2%)
- Avatar (James Cameron director) (1%)
- Halo (Directed by Peter Jackson) (1%)
- Iron Man (0%)
Total Votes: 164
No surprises there considering this is a Harry Potter blog.
Now the new poll.
Who do you think is the Most Good character in the Harry Potter series?
At times we have discussed evil here on SoG and shades of evil and so I thought it might be interesting to examine Goodness.
I have been thinking that this area of examining the books excludes, to some degree, Rowling’s opinions as “Good” to one person will mean something completely different to what you or I percieve as good. Rowling’s opinions will not = canon in this circumstance.
So fire away!