Yet, while I love the story and think that it highlights uniquely Christian themes and ideals at points, my praise is not unreserved. This semester my friend Peter and I re-watched the HP movies and I had occasion to think through the character of the story's most enigmatic and surprising figure: Severus Snape. Rowling leaves the reader guessing and "double-guessing" himself/herself throughout the novels as to the true allegiance of Snape. Is he a hero posing as a villain or a villain posing as a hero? Only in the end do we discover the former to be the case: he parades as a force of evil in order to protect Harry's life. And he goes so far as to sacrifice his own life in order to preserve Harry's. (As an aside, it's interesting that the metanarrative of HP is framed by sacrificial death which results in the preservation of Harry's life--first Lilly's, Harry's mother, and then Snape's, Harry's chief antagonist throughout the novels). But here's the root problem: Snape's ethics are consequentialistic and therefore un-Christian. In other words, his life is governed by the principle "the end justifies the means." Therefore, he may act evil, or at least tolerate evil which he could've prevented, as long as it brings about the greatest amount of good.
So what is the basis for Christian ethics? Hauerwas would put it this way: "The Christian community is formed by the conviction that the story of Christ is a truthful account of our existence, and thus the central task of Christ's church is to witness to the kind of social life possible for those formed by that story." Jesus's narrative, in other words, is to be our narrative. Further, as Hauerwas goes on to say, what we do (that is, our ethic particularly) is indelibly shaped by what it is we want to become--or, in our case, who it is we want to become like. Consequentialist ethics seems to place itself in the position of divine by attempting to engineer and/or micro-manage events in order to arrive at a favorable outcome. But how do I know what's the most "favorable" outcome--much less whether or not all of my engineering will actually bring it about? And how do I define "favorable" in the first place--"favorable" with regard to what? My response in every situation must therefore be an outworking of my ambition to be fashioned in the likeness of Jesus. I cannot tolerate evil on account of what I perceive to be the "greater good."
They say that public confession is good for the soul, so here goes: "My name is Wesley Davey, and while I am a fan of Harry Potter overall, I reject Snape's approach to ethics."