Mail Bag: Jordan Peterson talks about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

A note from an old friend in Australia, Sharon Jackson:

Hi John,

I was listening to a podcast by highly popular psychologist, author and speaker Jordan B. Peterson today and was interested to hear him give an interpretation of Harry Potter (the second movie) identifying it as an archetypal Christian story, as you’ve been maintaining for years. I thought you might be interested.

Here’s the link:  (The speech was old but the podcast is recently released. He’s releasing recordings of his talks from his speaking tour in his podcasts at the moment). The relevant comments begin at 1:33:20 and go to 1:37:05.

Petersen also comments on the series as a whole as a retelling of the Christian story, the battle against evil; he identifies Voldemort as “Satan, for all intents and purposes” and says this “makes the whole fundamentalist Christian assault on Harry Potter pretty comical in my estimation.” “In order for Harry to finally defeat Voldemort he has to die and be reborn, that’s how the book ends … She’s telling a story that everyone knows. But no-one knows they know it.”

Sounds like something you’ve written, doesn’t it?

These comments fall within Petersen’s answer to a question about Petersen’s beliefs on the physical reality of Christ’s resurrection. This question and the rest of his answer begins at 1:26:05 and goes to 1:37:30. His summary, “I’m not going to answer it casually.”

Just thought you might be interested.

Oh, yeah! Peterson is a rock-star psychologist and he loves Harry Potter, especially the Chamber of Secrets mythology (Peterson is an unapologetic Jungian). Check out this riff:

Does it echo pretty much everything I wrote about Chamber in Hidden Key to Harry Potter in 2002 (now How Harry Cast His Spell), a chapter excerpted and available online since 2003? You bet it does, right down to the mistaken interpretation of Ginny’s name as ‘Virginia’ rather than ‘Ginevra/Guinevere,’ a name derivation that Rowling had not yet told us when I wrote Hidden Key.

I wish, given his popularity today that he’d given me a shout out, but the odds are very good that he came to this “Brilliant In-Depth Analysis” all on his own. Once you see the mythic and Christian allegorical elements, things a Jungian psychologist will surely pick up, you don’t need a Potter Pundit to guide you. Gail Grynbaum, another Jungian, wrote this stuff up years ago also without referencing me because this is the way a Jungian-steeped-in-mythos reads.

Fun, though, to see a celebrity saying what I’ve said for fifteen years as if it were a revelation!

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