The Writing Wizardry of J.K. Rowling
Can J.K. Rowling be a source of inspiration to Christian writers? Lots of Christians think her Harry Potter series was conjured by the Devil. Many more Christians enjoyed the books with their children and created happy memories reading them together.
Does that mean that the Christian parents who allowed their children to enjoy the series were apostate? No, it means that author J.K. Rowling understands the power of storytelling and crafted books that readers loved.
Christian authors can benefit from reading Rowling’s books and learning how she was able to capture the imagination of millions. Rather than merely criticizing the content, Christian authors can study her writing—diagram her books like a sentence—and discover how to capture some of the magic for their own stories.
Rowling’s work may be filled with wizardry, but that’s not bad in itself. That motif has gained wide approval by the Christian community over the years. C.S. Lewis used it in the Chronicles on Narnia and J.R.R. Tolkien in his Lord of the Rings saga. Both were Christian men and they filled their books with the ancient lore as a literary device to point people to Christ. Both men were retelling the redemptive message of the Gospel.
Sadly, Christian writers today do not take risks like Lewis did when he made Aslan, the powerful lion, a Christ figure. They do not write sprawling novels about the great battles between good and evil, like Tolkien. Perhaps contemporary Christian novelists simply don’t know how to tell a story.
All writers can learn form J.K. Rowling whether they like her subject matter or not. They can also learn something about her struggles as a writer. She shares some of them in this Harvard University commencement speech, and it is worth watching for that reason alone.