Except not every scene in Harry Potter revolves around a cell phone...
May 18, 2004 2:16 PM   Subscribe

The Harry Potter series and the Left Behind series are more alike than you might think...
posted by PinkStainlessTail (8 comments total)
I've heard that Harry Potter is a child's ultimate wish-fulfillment fantasy:

Harry Potter has no parents, but access to those who genuinely love him. He has great wealth and is told that he is "special" and has great powers that are just waiting to come out. And he's great in sports, er, Quiddich.

Left Behind is the ultimate Christian Right wish-fulfillment fantasy:

You and your Christian Right friends can say "I told you so" and then watch the liberals, gays, and Jews get sent to Hell as you break out the weapons and wreak Holy violence on the bad guys.
posted by stevis at 3:13 PM on May 18, 2004

Yes, the Antichrist is a tax-and-spend liberal. "We will further finance our plans to inject social services into underprivileged countries and make the world playing field equal for everyone," Carpathia declares. Scarrrrrry.

Hah! Good thing our class-structure reinforcing conservative masters are still in power.
posted by falconred at 3:44 PM on May 18, 2004

Can I ask why these "Left Behind" books I keep hearing about are so popular? Are church leaders actually telling their congregations to read them?
posted by Jimbob at 5:05 PM on May 18, 2004

Well, you gotta go read your Weber. Protestantism is all about capitalism, after all, and the way that modern protestants express this is through more and more consumption......

The "catholic v. protestant" opposition is an interesting one, though, in that it jumps too quickly to a point. Catholic morality prior to modern times wasn't really about "free choice" (though that can be taken as a logical conclusion of popular Catholic morals); similarly, protestantism holds that *both* predestination and free will are true. (How's that for a conundrum?)

And therein lies another similarity, buried in a conventional trick of the hero tale: Predictions which seem daming turn out to have been true, but misinterpreted.

I agree with the key difference, though: The Potter books are ultimately about choice and empowerment, much like the public school tales they emulate. The Left Behind books are ultimately about getting to gloat (if only virtually) over people you don't like getting fried.
posted by lodurr at 6:59 PM on May 18, 2004

Congratulations are in order to Steven Waldman, the author of the Slate article - he's discovered a heretofore unknown concept of common literary cliches, plot devices and tropes in genre fiction!

'Buck Williams' and 'Chloe Steele' are the main characters in the "Left Behind" series? No pun intended, but jeeezus....
posted by GriffX at 9:34 PM on May 18, 2004

JimBob: Can I ask why these "Left Behind" books I keep hearing about are so

Its the New New Testament.
posted by skallas at 10:23 PM on May 18, 2004

Is it OK to have an abortion if the father is the devil? (Answer: no.)


And I think lodurr has it right on about the differences.
posted by livii at 7:59 AM on May 19, 2004

The Left Behind series is also an incredibly easy read. I felt like I was reading a longer version of something I read in grade school. I have always been interested in the Book of Revelations (which this series is about), but the writing bored me to death with its simplicity.
posted by jmd82 at 12:05 PM on May 19, 2004

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