• Amy MacKinnon

Harry Potter and the Inklings

Updated: Oct 24, 2019

Why Are the members of the Inklings Widely Accepted as Christian Authors, When J.K. Rowling is so Harshly Criticized?


When people want to either attack or defend Harry Potter, most of the time it’s on the subject of magic in the series. And the comparison is between Rowling and the Inklings.


Who are the Inklings?


A very brief description, is that it was a group of people who met at a pub in Oxford, England to discuss stories, and read some of their own stories to each other (if you want to know more about them, Wikipedia has a page on them here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inklings).


Why Would That Matter?


For Christians interested in stories that involve their faith, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are the authors whose stories are often held up as the standard.


They Were Also Founding Members of the Inklings


It’s also important because some of the members of the Inklings used magic in their stories, including Lewis and Tolkien.


As practicing Christians who take their faith seriously, and definitely incorporated Christianity into their stories.


The stories by Lewis and Tolkien are also often used as the basis of comparison with the Harry Potter books.


Sometimes Favorably, Sometimes Not


Why are the members of the Inklings, like CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, widely accepted as Christian authors, when J.K. Rowling is so harshly criticized? When people want to either attack or defend Harry Potter, most of the time it’s on the subject of magic in the series. And the comparison is between Rowling and the Inklings, Lewis and Tolkien in particular

But none of them wrote stories that were obvious Christian allegories. Instead, they wrote good stories, but their faith guided their storytelling because they were Christians.


How does that work?


It would be very difficult for me to write a story or essay that tried to convince people to shun God, or to write a fictional story about someone who does exactly that, and then present that as a good thing.


If I were to try doing that, I would end up showing a character who does that as a villain, or the story itself would be a tragedy or cautionary tale.



That’s somewhat like what Lewis did in The Screwtape Letters.


What About the Harry Potter Books?


The books in the Harry Potter series use Christian symbols and elements throughout the entire series, and the very last book is almost over the top in its Christian symbolism.

Spoiler alert: Even Sybil Trelawney, the character that is sometimes held up as evidence for Rowling’s embrace of fortune telling and evil, repents at the end.


She symbolically rejects fortune-telling during the last battle and sides with the Christ figure in the story.


What About Rowling Herself?



J.K. Rowling has said that she’s been a practicing Christian for her entire life, even when it was really hard to do so. And even when the rest of her family stopped going to church, she continued to go on her own.


She has been called a witch, even after saying publicly, “I believe in God, not magic.” For those Christians who are calling her that, I would suggest that they give more serious consideration to the sin of detraction.



So why are the members of the Inklings widely accepted as Christian authors, when Rowling is harshly criticized?



I do understand the concerns that people have about the Harry Potter books, and I really would like to hear what your specific concerns are. Please let me know what your concerns are here



List of Posts in the "Harry Potter and..." Series


Harry Potter and Magic

Harry Potter and Spells

Harry Potter and the Inklings (this post)

Harry Potter and Christianity

Harry Potter and the Exorcists

Harry Potter and Fairy Tales


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