Rowling, Ring Writing, & Maternal Love

In the review of what I’ve written about ring composition that I have done while writing the next post in my Perennialist series on Christmas Pig, I found this bon mot from Rowling about her writing to close a circle in her Harry Potter series with respect to a mother’s love.

It is on the DVD extra for The Deathly Hallows 2 titled ‘The Women of Harry Potter,’ text available at Rowling made an extraordinary point about Narcissa Malfoy’s protecting Harry from the Dark Lord in the Forest being “the closing of a circle” in which, just as a mother’s love saved Harry from the Dark Lord at story’s start, so it did at story’s end.  This reprise she said was a “quite conscious echo.” 

Join me after the jump for all that.

I think one could argue that Draco who is ultimately revealed not to be an evil character – Draco got his goodness from his mother. And ultimately I want – there’s an echo of what Lily did – quite conscious echo of what Lily did right at the start of the story at the very end of the story. At the start of the story Lily dies to keep her son alive. At the end of the story, Harry lies, pretending to be dead on the ground and it’s a mother who saves him again because she’s trying to get to her own son. So that was my, you know, that was closing a circle. He was saved there by Lily and he’s saved there by Narcissa.

I have been arguing in my series of posts about Christmas Pig that this short book is something of a crystallization and revelation simultaneously of Rowling’s overall artistry and meaning. The psychomachia is there, the Christian symbolism is there, the ring composition – as I’m writing up now – is there, love’s victory over death is there, the story-about-story-within-the-story is there, all of it in relatively up-front fashion.

Most strikingly, though, to this serious reader of Rowling’s work, has been how the Christmas Pig so forcibly makes the point that it is maternal love that is her go-to story stand-in and symbol for the salvific love of Christ the Logos. As I discussed at length in Part 5 of this series, it is mother-love that saves Jack and CP from Crusher, that ‘finds’ the Blue Bunny, that is the essence of a child’s love for “transitional object” toys, what in the end is the hope that redeems and recreates all the Things in the Loser’s Lair and returns Pajama Boy, CP, and Broken Angel to the base of the Christmas tree Up There. Where Jack’s Mum ‘finds’ him.

This highlights on reflection Rowling’s previous use of a mother’s love as salutary in her work. I discussed Lily Evans Potter in Part 5, of course, and speculated about Leda Nancarrow Strike. I’d add that Rowling’s only embedded picture of her biological mother in a novel, at least the one that is superficially obvious given the parallels between the depicted family and Peter Rowling’s, namely, Ruth Price in Casual Vacancy, is evidence against the point (if Tessa Wall suffices as the long-suffering ‘saving mother’ of that story and has a chronic illness in parallel with Anne Volant Rowling’s MS as well).

What I missed is that Rowling had tried to draw more attention to this fact in one of her few statements on the structure of the series. She told us flat out that the end of Deathly Hallows echoed the beginning of Philosopher’s Store, not only in Teddy Lupin’s becoming an orphan as Harry was in their parents’ fight to the death with evil, but also in the saving power of a mother’s love. I won’t review here the evidence for this being a symbol of Logos love. For today, just note again that unconditional, sacrificial, selfless love is at the heart, the latch connecting beginning and end, of Harry Potter and Christmas Pig, and I suspect Rowling’s works in progress as well, the Strike and Fantastic Beasts series.

I covet as always your comments and correction.

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