Harry Potter’s Religion

Q. What religion is Harry Potter?

Answer: I’m not sure JK Rowling has answered this question in any of the books. Witchcraft isn’t treated as a religion, so the answer isn’t ‘Wiccan’. It has been indicated that the Dursleys, Harry’s aunt and uncle, celebrate Christmas, though not really as a religious hoilday. They just bury their spoiled son in presents. I don’t think Rowling has touched upon the faith of James or Lily Potter, much less of Harry. She certainly hasn’t touched upon ethnic and cultural identity.

Q. What religion is Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who portrays Harry Potter in the films?

Answer: In a recent interview in Australia (see below) he revealed his mother is Jewish, and his father is Protestant. However, he implied he wasn’t raised in either religion, and doesn’t consider himself any religion. Though Religion and Philosophy are two academic subjects that do interest him.

If by accident of birth his parentage were switched, this would be much less the news story that it is. But some will undoubtedly latch on to certain Conservative/Orthodox religious definitions and proclaim him Jewish. There’s already this article. While I haven’t found the news yet anywhere else except fan message boards, it will be very surprising to me if it doesn’t start to spread fairly quickly. Whether it is out of pride, or hate, the action is misplaced. He is an adult (17). He has stated that he is not religious at all. The religions of his parents should be irrelevant. (His own religion should be irrelevant, unless he chooses to emphasize it, but for some, out of either pride or hate, this will never be.)

There are a few other interesting facets of the interview. Apparently fans in the US are a lot more aggressive than elsewhere. He also remains convinced his character will die at the end of the seventh novel. I remain hopeful that Rowling will come up with a different, but still satisfying ending.

0 thoughts on “Harry Potter’s Religion

  1. Sean

    I think she does a great job at avoiding that tough question, I think the whole world is holding it’s breath on the question of him dying (but not admitting it)

  2. Kathy

    JK Rowling has said there will be a definite end to the story. She doesn’t want other writers being tempted to take over her characters in the future. That does seem to imply that Harry will not survive Book Seven, but the question is going to guarantee a quick rush on the book when it’s published.

    In the books, at Hogwarts, they do say they are celebrating Christmas, however we do only see the trappings that evolved from the Yule holiday.
    (Tree, Candles, etc.) so I wouldn’t say its the Christian Christmas, but the secular.

    It’s also nobody’s business but Daniel’s what his personal religious beliefs are.

  3. John

    The personal lives of all actors and actresses is nobody’s business, but millions of people still buy People, Entertainment Weekly, and the less respectable tabloids, anxious for every bit of gossip they can find out about anyone. Some (e.g. Tom Cruise, Madonna) make their religion a news story. Others are more private. The privacy of stars should be respected, but it rarely is.

    I hadn’t heard Rowling specifically state a fear that other writers would be tempted to take over her characters after her death. (Because before her death, she’d have control.) I have heard her state that it will definitively be a 7 book series and there won’t be an 8th. The only suggestion of an 8th book has been a possible encyclopedia-type work. If she wants to prevent future sequels, she needs to kill off everyone, since there is sufficient interest in characters other than Harry. I don’t think she’ll go that route.