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More than any other book of the last fifty years (and perhaps ever), the Harry Potter novels have captured the imagination of children and adults around the world. Yet no one has ever been able to unlock the secret of Harry's wild popularity . . . until now. Updated and expanded since its original publication as Looking for God in Harry Potter (and now containing final conclusions based on the entire series), How Harry Cast His Spell explains why the books meet our longing to experience the truths of life, love, and death; help us better understand life and our role in the universe; and encourage us to discover and develop our own gifts and abilities.

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Dear John, I just finished reading your book How Harry Cast His Spell (pub. 2008), and I was amazed and delighted by the insights you revealed about the Christian themes and symbolism and plot devices in the Harry Potter novels. Some of my friends are still wary of Harry, if not actual Harry-haters, because of the magic in the plots and settings and the supposed connection with the occult, or because they feel it is nothing more than childish entertainment (of course they still haven’t read the books). I have to admit that I felt that same way when I first heard of Harry Potter, and so I did not pay much attention to Harry when the novels first began to appear. However, when the movie version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out in late 2001, my curiosity was piqued enough for me to go see it, even though I remember feeling embarrassed, thinking (as I was standing in line to buy the ticket) that this was basically a story for children and not adults. Two and a half hours or so later, I had reversed that opinion and eventually went to see the second and then the third movie as well, after which I wanted to find out more about Harry Potter. But it wasn’t until the summer of 2005 that I finally picked up and read the actual books for the first time (from Sorcerer’s Stone to Order of the Phoenix). I was hooked after that, and when Half-Blood Prince was released that summer, I then bought it and read it right away. And in the summer of 2007 I purchased my copy of Deathly Hallows during the prerelease rush and read it as soon as it arrived. Since then, I’ve read the first six books two more times, and I’m about to begin the seventh for the third time. I also bought your Deathly Hallows Lectures book to help me go deeper into that part of the story. Now I know why Harry Potter had captured my imagination so strongly. I knew there was something wonderful about these stories, but I couldn’t quite articulate what it was. It’s like you stated so many times in your book: the Harry Potter story connects and resonates with something deep down inside us, and we feel like we are better people for having read the books. Now that I can better see the connection to the “Great Story” of Jesus Christ, the Harry Potter stories are even more meaningful. I had been experiencing the same sort of feeling I had when I read J.R.R. Tolkien’s LOTR for the first time (and the many times after that), and that “eucatastrophe” he spoke of is evident in Rowling’s work. Thank you for helping me understand the real magic in Harry Potter!

John, Just finished How Harry Cast His Spell last night, and I wanted to thank you for your vast and immeasurable contributions to the Harry Potter phenomenon. Rather than a point-by-point analysis of your arguments (many of which I agree with and a few I don’t), I’m inspired to take a new approach: I’ve decided to further expand my library by obtaining several of the books you’ve recommended in the “FAQS” chapter that closes the book. That way, I can learn more about alchemy (a subject that fascinates me) and expose myself to classics that I certainly missed in high school and college. So far I’ve added Eliade’s The Myth of the Eternal Return

Dear Mr.Granger, I would like to begin this letter by saying that Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are my favorite characters in the Harry Potter series. Your books still make me laugh and understand the spiritual meanings about Harry’s journey, and I encourage you to write more because I think you are a very talented writer. Good bye, Your Ron and Hermione fan, Kevin, age almost 11 (I can start Hogwarts soon. )

Dear John, Thank you for your book How Harry Cast His Spell. I'm on my second read through. Now I know I am not “mental” thinking there was a Christian meaning behind the Harry Potter series. I am one who reads the books over and over again, and now that I am on disability, I have plenty of time for reading and reflection. I was a Special Education teacher and a part-time United Methodist pastor and was originally scared off by the religious right, but my seminary training to be “open-minded” prevailed, and I got to know the boy wizard and was overwhelmed by the overt Christian symbolism. I just wanted to let you know that in my reading of Deathly Hallows, I discovered that Dumbledore’s Patronus, according to Harry, is “a phoenix, not a doe.” This is in chapter twenty, page 390 in my book. It is when the trio are discussing who might have sent the doe patronus. Just thought you would like to know, just in case some more astute reader hasn't already informed you. Thanks again for your work, and I am eager to read more. I’ve just ordered The Five Keys of Understanding Harry Potter for the Serious Reader from B

I wholeheartedly agree with the letter author's delight in your books. I came to them (and Harry Potter) in a similar fashion—recommended by another Christian mother in response to my questions about Harry's suitability for my children to read. Right now How Harry Cast His Spell is making its rounds at my house and beyond. I read it, then my husband read it, and then I assigned it to my 14-year-old for school because she needs to read “books about books” to help her get deeper meaning out of what she reads. Now it’s at a friend’s house so she and her 14-year-old can read it. Fundamentally, there must be a reason we all get so absorbed into this story. Thankfully, you have given us an “eagle-eye view” of why that is.

Dear Mr. Granger, I just finished reading How Harry Cast His Spell, and I can't help but thank you for writing such a valuable book. I'd like to tell you more about myself so you can understand just how helpful your book has been to me. I grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, with a great family, but my Christian influences were minimal. I had always been very imaginative for my own good, loving dragons and fantastic worlds and adventures. When I was 12 I discovered a copy of Philosopher's Stone in my school library, and it changed my life on many levels. I devoured the books and quickly read all the books that currently were out (Goblet of Fire). I yearned and dreamed for a world like Harry's. I was a sociable kid, but I was not always treated the best by my peers. I loved books, school, and learning, which didn't always go well in a small working class fishing town on hard times. Looking back, I was a Muggle version of Luna. Harry's world greatly appealed to me; I saw a place where I felt like I might have belonged, where there was something good to fight for. My thoughts were as complicated as any confused, picked on 13 year old's might be. The years went on, and I clung to that yearning, trying to replace my feeling by reading all manner of fantasy. But I never found that place I wanted, and it made me see there was a hole inside me. I started to attend a Christian camp in the summer, and over time I came to realize the closest thing to the wizarding community of Harry Potter that I wished to be part of was Christ's church. I saw the same love, friendship, and family that I for so long had looked for. Through the amazing power of the Holy Spirit, this is how God used Harry Potter to bring this lost sheep home. As I grew to love Christ and his people, I realized that my love and gratitude for Harry Potter, the tool that helped lead me to Calvary, was far from shared by many Christians. Over the years, I never doubted or lost my love for these stories. I could not understand why people could think they were so evil. I met some Christians that shared my feelings, others that opposed me. I had no proof at the time, but I just knew that the majority of the church was wrong about this issue. In my first year attending a Christian liberal arts university, I became rather outspoken about my support for "the boy who lived." I studied and tried to understand this Potter War and tried to find ways to make people see the beauty and truth that are in these books. This became very real to me when I met and married my wife, as her parents were strict and blatant Harry haters who, like so many, can't get past the whole witch and wizard thing. Back in August I decided that I was in much need of rereading the Harry Potter series. I was preparing to do this when I came across your name online and was ecstatically thrilled to know that somebody wrote on the topic of the Christian meaning of these books. I quickly exhausted every bit of your writing I could find on the Internet, reading your posts on HogPro and interviews you have given. I soon bought How Harry Cast His Spell; I surely drove my wife crazy with talk about the Christian symbolism and mentioning your name constantly. I decided to use your book to walk through the Potter series, reading the first few chapters and then reading each book before each of its corresponding chapters. Your chapters on names and symbolism especially blew me away. I found your book helpful in pointing out the reasons why I had always loved these books yet could never tell why. Well, I finished Deathly Hollows last night and finished reading your book this morning, and your thoughts and comments on the finale were good. Your comments on Dobby as an example of Christian discipleship were something I had never seen before. You have helped give me an updated love and understanding of these books. How Harry Cast His Spell is great for Christians and non-Christians. I majored in biblical studies and found your use of the Bible and Christian contents amazing and beautifully well-balanced with your experience in classic literature. You helped me see what I had always known about J.K. Rowling's books, and I am very thankful. Thank you for reading my e-mail, and I apologize if I have rambled.

Dear Mr. Granger: I just completed your book, Looking for God in Harry Potter (2nd edition). Thank you. I am a thoroughgoing Presbyterian, and avoided reading, thinking about, or dealing with the Harry Potter phenomenon. Last year at this time I heard your interview on the White Horse Inn, downloaded the mp3 of it, and have relished it ever since. It changed my attitude. I bought the first five Potter books, read them all, and then borrowed from a friend the Half-Blood Prince 6th book. What a treat. I have never bothered to read fiction (I have normally read European and American history, Christian theology, and politics), but this stuff is great. I have recommended (a mild term) your book on Potter to all my friends. I refuse, however, to share my copy with anyone. They can buy their own. It sits on my bookshelf next to the Potter books. Now I can’t wait for number 7! You have also whetted my appetite for Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings and Lewis’ Narnia series. I kick myself that I waited until my 58th year before seeing and enjoying these treasures.