A Series of Talks in April for Christian Writers: Psychomachia, Alchemy, Rings

I am in conversation with a local group of Christian Fiction writers about my giving a series of talks about Rowling’s tool-kit and what they can take-away from it for their own stories.  No contract yet, but I’m very hopeful (I’ve spoken to the group before and they are a speaker’s dream audience). The leader of the group wrote to me with this charge:

The theme for the year for my group is how Christians write the best fiction, because we have direct access to the Greatest Story that is written on the hearts of all people.
I will begin the year discussing Campbell’s Hero’s Journey – bringing it back as an echo of the Gospel. I hope to have your talk as a deep dive into how one of the most successful modern authors did so through the Harry Potter series.  I will have speakers later in the year discuss the works of Tolkien and Lewis, and how they imbedded Christianity into their works.  I hope this context can aid you in formulating your talk.

It has! I have the whole day, a Saturday, to deliver eight hours of lectures. For our sanity, I will break up the eight hours into four talks. If you’re interested in learning more about them, join me after the jump!

My proposed umbrella name for the day long event and its four talks is ‘A Traditional Christian Understanding of the Power of Story: Imagination, Symbolism, Psychomachia, Alchemy, and Chiasmus in the Work of J. K. Rowling.’ I expect he’ll cut that down to something with a little less detail and a lot more zip.

The blurb I’ve sent him reads like this:

J. K. Rowling is anything but an orthodox or conventional believer in Christ; she is a supporter of abortion on demand and ‘gay marriage’ and her preferred word for anyone who lives a life of zealous faith is “fundamentalist.” Her work, however, deploys the full toolbox of traditional Christian story writing, from the symbolic menageries and psychomachian allegory to literary alchemy and the chiastic structure of Scripture. Her unprecedented ability to engage with readers of every age, belief, nationality, and status globally and transform them via imaginative experience is a demonstration of the power of symbol and allegory when used subtly, consistently, and accurately. John Granger, ‘the Dean of Harry Potter scholars,’ will share in four talks (eight hours!) how she does this in her Hogwarts Saga and how writers of Christian fiction can and should use in their work these tools that Rowling has revived and reinvented.

The talks I’m planning to give will have these titles:

  • Rowling, Coleridge, Imagination, and the Quadriga: A Traditional Christian Understanding of the Power of Story; 
  • Psychomachia and Cathartic Transformation: The Soul’s Allegorical Journey to Perfection in Spirit
  • Literary Alchemy: The Real Magic Beneath the Surface Stories of Shakespeare, Nabokov, Joyce, Lewis, Tolkien, and Rowling
  • Ring Composition: How Chiastic Structure in Scripture and Story Creates a Cardiac-Spiritual Experience in Readers

It’s going to be a crowded eight hours! Let me know, should they agree to this proposal, if you want me to film my practice runs for posting here in May.


  1. Would definitely enjoy the practice runs!

  2. I am also interested in the practice runs.

  3. Wayne Stauffer says

    Agreed! Will pay $$ for recordings/DVD

  4. Bettina Iben Torndahl says

    Yes please. Wouldn’t miss it 🙏

  5. Yes, I would love to hear/see the practice runs! Thank you.

  6. It would be a blast to hear these talks!

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