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One Fine Potion: The Literary Magic of Harry Potter Paperback – September 24, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Should evangelical Christians be alarmed by boy wizard Harry Potter? For Greg Garrett, novelist (Free Bird) and Baylor University professor of English , the answer is a resounding no. Rather, they should embrace the stories as affirming the central messages of Christianity. To show this, Garrett presents four readings of the Potter cosmos: a compelling argument about the role of magic, an explanation of the need for community, a discussion of true heroism, and an explicitly Christian exploration of Harry as savior and Dumbledore as Holy Spirit. Quotes from both the Potter novels and the Bible pepper the work, without proving intrusive. Christian elements are limited until the last section and their generic treatment will avoid alienating most readers. A few discussions (such as using the Potter novels to critique the Bush administration's position on torture) might be off-putting to those who disagree. The connection between Harry and Jesus is also introduced a bit glibly. Still, Garrett treats both the Christian and the Potter worlds with affection and passionate reverence. His work may not convert naysayers to Potter, but it will provide fans much to consider about the novels and their message of hope, joy, and love.
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"The mark of a great book discussing the Harry Potter books, especially if, like me, you have kept abreast of the current Potter scholarship, is that you learn something knew or see the Potter books in a new light. Greg Garrett's book is exactly this sort of book, and I might even say it is [the] best introduction for the reader new to the theology of Harry Potter yet written. Garrett gave me new eyes to see in many places, or approached the books from a fresh angle."―A. T. Ross,

"Pushing past the early naysayers who failed to see the deep, abiding Christian faith animating the epic Harry Potter series, Garrett connects the dots between J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and the heir to their mythic power, J. K. Rowling. Prepare to be spellbound!"―Craig Detwiler, Director, Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture, Pepperdine University

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Baylor University Press (September 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602581983
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602581982
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greg Garrett is the Austin, Texas author of over twenty books of fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and translation. BBC Radio has called Greg "one of America's leading voices on religion and culture," and he has written on such topics as spirituality and suffering, film and pop culture, U2, Harry Potter, faith and politics, and contemporary Christianity. His latest books are Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination (Oxford University Press), which explores the stories we tell about death and the afterlife and why we tell them, and My Church Is Not Dying: Episcopalians in the 21st Century (Morehouse), which explores stories from the Episcopal and Anglican traditions and their value for the contemporary world.

His most recent novel was The Prodigal (2013, written with the legendary Brennan Manning), which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. His first novel, Free Bird, was chosen by Publishers Weekly and the Denver Rocky Mountain News as one of the top debuts of 2002. His other novels are Cycling and Shame. All have been critically acclaimed.

Greg's work has been covered by The New Yorker, USA Today, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, BBC Radio, BBC Scotland, National Public Radio, CBS Radio,, The Bob Edwards Show, The New Statesman, The National Review, Poets & Writers, Commonweal, Mens Health, and many other broadcast, print, and web media sources. Greg has written for Patheos, The Huffington Post, OnFaith,, The Washington Post, Reform, The Tablet, and other print and web publications in the US and UK, and has spoken at venues across the US and Europe, including the American Library in Paris, Cambridge University, Kings College in London, Villanova University, and the Washington National Cathedral.

Greg is Professor of English and the 2013 Baylor Centennial Professor at Baylor University, where he has taught since 1989. He also serves as Writer in Residence at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, and as Residential Scholar at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden, Wales. Greg is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters. He is also a Fellow of the Cathedral College of Preachers at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, and a licensed lay preacher based at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife Jeanie and their family.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By carissays on March 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm almost done with this book and the nerd in me can't get enough of Garrett's insights and research. For fans of the series and fans of literature, this is a must read analysis of the story and themes. Garrett's close reading of the text and his ability to bring the movies, the story, the morality, and the Christian view together make this a perfect follow up to the Harry Potter series. I only wish he covered more ground.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fun book demolishing the frequent commentary by so-called Christians that the book is evil. It is anything but that and certainly supports the goodness of the Christian Gospel.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By GMTA Publishing on October 23, 2011
Format: Paperback

Greg Garrett expresses the literary magic of Harry Potter with a magic all his own in this book. After so many years J.K. Rowling's beloved series has had almost as many critics as it has had its die-hard fans. This book explains primarily one of the biggest controversies of all, Harry Potter and Christianity.

There have always been those that condemned the books for their darkness, and witchcraft without realizing the light and good. The point being well made that all books have some dark and light including such works by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, which were both held in some respects as representing a likeness to the struggle of Christianity and the never ending battle between God and the Devil.

This book is a fantastic read without the dull undertones that would deem it an emotionless documentary.

A truly great read, deserving of 5 Ravens.

Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud
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