Two ‘Deathly Hallows Lectures’ Reviews

One in the US, another in the UK. I hope, if you are a Deathly Hallows Lectures reader, that you, too, will write and post your thoughts at the book’s and pages.

Thank you, David Stroud and Jeremy Manson, for your kind reviews!

5.0 out of 5 stars FINALS Coming Up? This one’s for you!, November 10, 2008
By David W. Stroud – a reader” (Sikeston, MO USA)

I have now read Mr. Granger’s book twice. The first time I read it in 2 days and marvelled at the material he had elucidated. I let it digest for about a week. Then I went back with my highlighter in hand and read it slowly and methodically, underlining points that struck me. If you flip the pages now like the old Cracker Jack cartoon books, it looks like a firestorm! I am not being extravagant when I note that nearly every page has highlighted sentences and phrases. Some pages appear to have been written on highlight-colored paper.

Professor Granger’s observations and comments and literary tie-ins are well worth your time to read, even if you are a Lit Prof in academia. For the average reader with a wide background, this book of essays is an education in advancing appreciation of literature. For the Harry Potter afficianado, there is much here to explain the recurring delight and insights that engender multiple readings of the texts.

The challenges to deeper enjoyment provided by the references are an education in literary appreciation and will hone enjoyment in the Potter series and other reading materials for years to come. Professor Granger’s appreciation of Rowling’s depth and breadth was able to illuminate the areas which academia never dared tread prior to completion of the series. Now that the series is complete, he continues to mine the depths and produce jewels worth every cent of your investment and every moment given to reading this delightful book. The chapter on eye symbolism and I and mirrors alone is worth the entire price. But there is much more here. I unreservedly recommend this book to your reading and library for future reference. *****

5.0 out of 5 stars The All Seeing “I”, 10 Nov 2008
By Jeremy Manson “JayEm1504” (UK)

Do you suspect there is more to the Harry Potter books than meets the eye?

If so then The Deathly Hallows Lectures (and John Granger’s ‘How Harry Cast his Spell’) may well be what you are looking for.

Professor Granger’s books are a great way to explore just why this saga is so compelling. Literary analysis ought not to be this much fun!

Exciting discoveries await those who just look a little deeper. Find out what happens when you approach the HP text ‘Diagon-alley’!


  1. 5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking insights and revelations!, November 12, 2008
    By Elizabeth Hardy, author of Milton, Spencer, and the Chronicles of Narnia

    In The Deathly Hallows Lectures, John Granger again demonstrates his remarkable insights into the phenomenally popular J.K. Rowling novels. Anyone familiar with Granger’s How Harry Cast his Spell, Unlocking Harry Potter, or his delightful Hogwarts Professor blog will not be surprised to find his usual wit, wisdom, and occasional mind-boggling insights at play in this collection of essays based on lectures presented in a variety of settings and all focusing on the last, triumphant novel in the series. Of course, Granger masterfully analyzes the novel’s treatment of his forte, alchemy, but he also analyzes other keys for a deeper and more complete understanding of The Deathly Hallows.

    Among these are the Christian themes and symbols that are expressed even more overtly in this novel than in the previous six; Severus Snape as a Dante figure with Lily Evans Potter as his Beatrice-like inspiration; and symbolic elements including the critical eye, triangle, and mirror that resonate powerfully through the narrative. Drawing on contemporary criticism as well as revered literary voices like Samuel Taylor Coleridge and C.S. Lewis, Granger effectively weaves together a text that is both timely and grounded, both profound and playful. He even includes a section of his responses to questions, from the heart-felt to the cynical, that frequently come up at his lectures.

    Granger’s tone is always accessible, with lighthearted touches that alleviate the crushing metaphysical weight of some of his references and analyses; thus these are less “lectures” in the pejorative sense than they are fascinating chats with an insightful scholar. This first edition does suffer from a fair few editing errors, minor in themselves, but all the more glaring in contrast to the thoughtful and impressive content. Though they are not obstacles to an enjoyable and educational read, one hopes these will be addressed in future editions.

    While some Potter readers may have already drawn a few of Granger’s conclusions for themselves, it is highly unlikely that any serious reader of these books, or even of literature in general, will not find The Deathly Hallows Lectures an enthralling and illuminating read. As the field of Potter scholarship grows and gains wider acceptance, this text is an essential tool for any library or scholar capable of recognizing Rowling’s books as both cultural and literary milestones.

  2. 5.0 out of 5 stars Entering a Wider World, November 12, 2008
    By “greenglasspoet” (Ambridge, PA USA)

    Anyone who loves the Harry Potter books can probably fondly recall the first time Harry entered Diagon Alley. As readers, we figuratively stood with him while Hagrid tapped the bricks at the back of the Leaky Cauldron, marveling along with Harry as the bricks magically opened to form an archway. Along with Harry, we suddenly found ourselves transported into a wider world that we still hadn’t entirely believed existed just moments before.

    Anyone who has read John Granger’s books on Harry Potter has probably experienced a similar feeling. With Granger as a guide, readers have stood before the Harry Potter books and discovered that, with the right keys and questions, a much wider world than we originally suspected opens up to us. Granger’s insights into the literary alchemy and “spiritual artistry” of J.K. Rowling’s books, along with his ability to explain concepts such as Rowling’s use of “narrative misdirection” were just the first of many eye-opening insights he has offered to what he likes to call “serious readers” of Harry Potter.

    With The Deathly Hallows Lectures, John Granger builds on the work he began in Looking for God in Harry Potter (recently revised as How Harry Cast His Spell) and Unlocking Harry Potter. While it’s not necessary to have read the other two before getting to this one, it would likely enrich the experience. Even without that background, however, “serious readers” will find much to ponder and enjoy in The Deathly Hallows Lectures, which focus on the final book in the Harry Potter series.

    Granger makes a persuasive case that the Harry Potter series stands in a long line of symbolist literature and that readers willing to dive deep in search of levels of meaning will not be disappointed. He mines layers of riches by exploring topics as diverse as the alchemical structure of the final novel and how that structure parallels and mines the symbolism of three major Christian feasts; the connections between Dante and the climax of Severus Snape’s story in Deathly Hallows; and the importance of the Coleridgian theme of “transformed vision” in the story and its symbols. These ideas and many more are winningly presented in a conversational teaching style. Serious readers of Harry Potter will find themselves challenged and engaged in the heart and soul as well as the mind.

  3. Tyndale posted a Q&A session with me on YouTube two weeks ago that they filmed for their book sellers in 2004 to help them promote Looking for God in Harry Potter way back in 2004. A reader in Philadelphia asked me if I’d seen it… A lot less grey in the mustache back then. I wonder why they waited so long? I cannot stand to watch myself talk so if there any huge gaffes I should know about, please let me know.

  4. Newyork204 says

    The last installment of the Harry Potter series reenforced to me what I already knew. J.K. Rowling believes in God even though she is an atheist.

    Several question….when Harry Potter died in the Deathly Hallows, where did he go? Where was Professor Dumbledoor? Were they in heaven? Or another type of purgatory.

    What I am saying is, while I love the series, there are certain irregularities. Huge ones. There is no God but throughout the whole series there are aspects of “divine providence” littered throughout the novel. What gives? She never gives us any hint of a higher power besides magical forces yet there has to be something stronger behind all this. There is obviously some type of diety that is setting all this up.

  5. Welcome, NewYork204, to!

    Please do read through the posts here about the seeing eyes of Deathly Hallows, especially the two on the Penn and Aeschylus epigraphs. You lost me when you said Ms. Rowling “believes in God even though she is an atheist.” It is either too clever by half or just a contradiction.

    I think you are right, though, in sensing that there is “something stronger behind all this.” In one word, it is logos. I explain in The Deathly Hallows Lectures and in several posts here how Ms. Rowling is writing in the symbolist tradition of English literature after Coleridge and how this is revealed in the ‘King’s Cross’ exchange between Harry and Dumbledore the author says is “the key” to the series.

    Happy reading! And, again, Welcome!

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