The Hidden Key to Harry Potter: Understanding the Meaning, Genius, and Popularity of Joanne Rowling's Harry Potter Novels

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Here are some of the reasons we are so excited about Hidden Key:

It is the first critical study to unlock the inner meaning of Harry Potter by treating the series seriously as literature along the lines of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.

It is the first exposé to identify Joanne Rowling as a Christian who consciously writes Christian Fantasy in the tradition of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

It is the ...

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Overview

Here are some of the reasons we are so excited about Hidden Key:

It is the first critical study to unlock the inner meaning of Harry Potter by treating the series seriously as literature along the lines of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.

It is the first exposé to identify Joanne Rowling as a Christian who consciously writes Christian Fantasy in the tradition of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

It is the first full-fledged effort to predict Potter’s future course in detail – an audacious and thought-provoking adventure offered to fellow enthusiasts.

It is the first Muggle textbook suitable for use at Hogwarts – bringing humor, fun, and WOW! excitement to the "serious" business of Pottermania.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780972322102
  • Publisher: Zossima Press
  • Publication date: 11/18/2002
  • Edition description: Illustrated
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2004

    Thorough Literary Criticism

    I found <i>¿The Hidden Key to Harry Potter¿ </i> a thorough literary criticism on multiple levels. Mr. Granger maps out a complete step by step journey, walking the reader through each gem, (the themes and meanings running through each book) from the introduction where he identifies each component and discusses it thoroughly to the Inkling world view. Then, with these eye opening revelations firmly implanted in a readers mind, he takes them on a new, enticing journey, (lifting the veil to reveal the true meaning) through each individual Harry Potter novel up to the <i>'Goblet of Fire'.</i> I love his exposing the secret within <i>¿Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets¿.</i> J.K. Rowling's didactic book about books tells us the really dangerous books are ... well, you¿ll just have to read <i>¿The Hidden Key¿</i> to find the answer. </BR> </BR> There is so much knowledge to gain from this book! Truly an incredible work. Besides being a great help in discussing the value of the Harry Potter novels to our friends and relatives, it has given our entire family a deeper understanding and a fuller appreciation of J. K.¿s work, as well as a peek at how her mind works. I can't tell you how much I appreciate Mr. Granger's work. I have read other so called literary criticisms that were so full of obvious bias and fallacies they became a thinly veiled call for book burnings. Or those that were utterly useless, coming from the wrong focus. <i>¿The Hidden Key¿</i> is none of these. It comes up hitting the mark, with bull¿s eye accuracy and precision. </BR> </BR> On another point, I rate highly a book by being able to check the authors veracity through the listings of supporting evidence. Mr. Granger once again is no slacker on this point. With other books, I have found it no end of frustration trying verify authors adherence to the truth when they give no basis for support throughout their critical response. </BR> </BR> Mr. Granger¿s addition of maps and charts aided in our visualization of his explanations. While we thoroughly enjoyed all of the book, we especially enjoyed the Christian symbolism. </BR> </BR> The appendixes were particularly valuable. Again and again I have returned to them. Having read all eight books in Appendix B, Guide to the Guides ¿ Books about Harry Potter, I¿ve purchased three. I¿ve moved on in my reading and am still following Appendix C, Reference List ¿ Recommended Further Reading. <i>¿The Hidden Key¿</i> challenged me to read more about the Inklings, Tolkien and Lewis. What a pleasure it has been. It also has intrigued me with the type of higher education the Inklings, Ms. Rowling and Mr. Granger have obtained. I hope to discover more of what was taught these great authors and further my own understanding. </BR> </BR> The only thing I would want, that this book now lacks, is for it to be updated to include <i>¿Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix¿</i>; as well as books six and seven when they appear! Don¿t change a thing, just add to include the new JKR books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2003

    The Scoop

    I absolutely Love J.K. Rowling's books!! My personal favorite is the 5th book. Even though a number of unfortunate events happened I really do like how she writes them. One day I hope to be a writer as great as her!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2003

    A Voice of Truth

    The HIDDEN KEY is a voice of truth. This book looks fairly at the arguments given for why Harry Potter is bad and succesfully proves them beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are wrong. HIDDEN KEY offers an in-depth look at the most celebrated series of the century, and is a must-read for anyone interested in the Potter debate. Mr. Granger has blown a figurative gaping hole in the already feeble arguments that support protests against Harry Potter. I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to listen to reason and enjoys learning the wonderful meanings that symbolism can hold.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2003

    Key shows there is more to Harry

    While many books have been written about the Harry Potter series, none (that I have seen) have really looked at the series as literature in the form of literary explication. The series is often evaluated as ¿Christian or unchristian¿ or discussed as a study in popular culture in an effort to determine the reasons for its popularity. John Granger¿s book The Hidden Key to Harry Potter does all of this. By exploring the book through his experience as a classics scholar, Granger makes the case in Key that Rowlings¿ Harry Potter is literature written in the tradition of Lewis¿ Narnia and Tolkien¿s Rings. Through a discussion of the books¿ plots, themes, characters, images, allusions, etc., he convincingly makes his case that the appeal of Harry Potter speaks to readers consciously or unconsciously through its archetypal elements and that Rowling has meticulously written the novels to do just that. He shows that the story¿s structure is too solid, the images consistent, the effect unified to deny that this is Rowlings' intention. Whether you agree or disagree with his conclusion, you will find Key to be readable and enjoyable, and definitely worth your time because it will help you explore the novel from a perspective that needs to be addressed as you consider your response to ¿the Harry Potter phenomenon.¿

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2003

    Solid, in-depth and readable

    John Granger uses a wide range of sources to back up his belief that the Potter books are on an equal footing with Lewis¿ Narnia series and Tolkien¿s Lord of the Rings. He shows that they have a lot of good to offer, and no harm ¿ except in the eyes of those who are looking for it. According to HKHP, they contain a lot of oblique Christian symbolism. The philosopher¿s stone, red lion, unicorn, phoenix, stag, centaur, and hippogriff have all been used to represent Jesus Christ. Including Christian themes in literature is a tradition that Ms. Rowling follows. The Greats, from Shakespeare to Tolkien, have all done this. Their books have entertained and pleased their readers, but they have also instructed and edified. The books owe a large debt to C. S. Lewis; J. R. R. Tolkien; Dickens, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky (descriptive names; love and death); Jane Austen (morals and manners); the epic tradition (The Odyssey, The Aenead, The Divine Comedy); myth (King Arthur); fairy tales (Cinderella in particular); cathartic endings (Sophocles, Shakespeare, O, Henry, et al); and others. All of these tell stories with deeper themes, such as good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, and so on.. The list of recommended readings is Mr. Granger¿s bibliography. There are 46 sources under 5 broad headings: 'Inklings'; ¿Traditionalist¿; ¿The Church and Masculinity¿; ¿Classical and Traditional Christian Philosophy¿; and ¿Traditional Christianity.¿ He divides his book into four parts: 1) ¿Taking Harry Seriously¿; 2) ¿The Secret of Harry Potter¿; 3) ¿The Meaning of Harry Potter: a Book-by-Book Look¿; 4) ¿What Will Happen with Harry?¿ The chapters are too dense with information to summarize here, but they contain a lot of information that supports Mr. Granger¿s premise: these are Christian novels supporting a Christian worldview filled with Christian values. They aren¿t allegories so much as supposals (C. S. Lewis¿s term for his Narnia books). Mr. Granger presents a persuasive case for viewing Harry as Christlike figure, showing his depth of character as he grows and learns (see Luke 2:52). His position in the war between good and evil shows he¿s no ordinary hero, but one who has depth and substance beyond the typical adolescent. His sacrifices, his willingness to place life above the law stand out. In the first book, he breaks Hogwarts¿ rules to battle a troll, risking his life to save a friend. (John 15:13 ¿Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.¿). At the end of every book, he is nearly killed, and yet he comes back to prevail. Sound familiar? The occult has no place in the Potter books. Spells, etc. are formulas for telekinesis, not the invocation of spirits. One teacher instructs divination, tealeaf reading, etc. She¿s a buffoon: nobody takes her seriously. While the editing could be a bit tighter, this book is a solid resource for HP fans who want to be able to defend the books against untrue charges.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2003

    One of the Best Books on the Harry Potter Phenomenon

    Let me say up front that what kept me from giving this book 5 stars was its need for better organization and a stronger editorial hand. (More of this later.) In terms of content, thought and provocative analysis, it is 5 stars all the way. Anyone seriously interested in the Harry Potter books, pro or con, should read this book. <p> Many Evangelical Christians consider the Harry Potter books objectionable, even Satanic, because of their magical milieu of Witches and Wizards. These objections have been stated most strongly in Richard Abanes' 'Harry Potter: The Menace Behind the Magick.' John Granger, an Orthodox Christian and a classics scholar, has now written a book, 'The Hidden Key to Harry Potter', that challenges this view with the startling thesis that far from being Satanic, the Harry Potter books are in fact profound Christian allegories that are filled with Christian symbolism.<p> Granger makes a very convincing case. Among other things, he examines the numerous Christian symbols that appear in the Harry Potter books: Unicorn, Stag, Golden Griffin, Phoenix, and others. He offers a compelling analysis of the climactic scene in 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' that interprets Harry's battle with the Basilisk as an allegory of the Christian's fight against Satan and the healing power of Christ's sacrificial love. In an extensive section on alchemy (that could use a bit of pruning), Granger argues that 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' is about the transforming power of Christ in the life of the Christian. Granger also shows how Rowling's books fit squarely in the 'Great Books' tradition of Austen, White, Lewis and Tolkien.<p> Granger argues that the Harry Potter books have been so phenomenally successful not only because they are corking good stories, but more importantly because they address the reader's spiritual needs on a fundamental, even subliminal level. This argument is certainly more convincing that the one offered by some Evangelicals, namely, that the series' runaway success is due to help from Old Scratch himself.<p> Granger identifies and examines some of the principal underlying themes of the books - prejudice, dealing with death, the importance of choices in determining character, among others - and offers an analysis of the central meaning of each of the four books published thus far. Then, in a section demonstrating considerable analytical courage, Granger offers his own speculations on what lies ahead in the books yet to come. Talk about going out on a limb!<p> It is not surprising that a great deal of this would have gone over the head of the average reader of the Harry Potter books. At the very least, one would need a working familiarity with Medieval Christian iconography to pick up on a lot of the symbolism Granger identifies. Assuming, of course, that Rowling is in fact writing from the perspective Granger claims she is. Sometimes, in reading Granger's book, I wondered what Rowling would think of all this. Would she say, 'Finally, someone got it!'? Or would she be thinking, 'Gee, I never knew I was putting all that stuff in my books!'? Unless and until Rowling herself speaks on these issues, we won't know. But at the least, Granger makes an excellent and thought-provoking case. And he also provides the great service of cutting through all the 'Single-Mom-Turned-Overnight-Success' malarky to point out that Rowling is in fact a highly-educated woman with Firsts (the English equivalent to Summa Cum Laude) in Classics and French from Exeter, one of England's leading universities - which of course bolsters his arguments about the serious, scholarly underpinnings of these books.<p> On the debit side, Granger sometimes pushes his theories too far and strains credibility. For example, his analysis of some of the names, the title character's in particular, is unconvincing and gives the impression of grasping at straws. And his theory on th

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2003

    Extrordinary Analysis of Harry Potter!

    Truly, this has to be one of the best, if not the best analysis of the Harry Potter series. As a Potterholic, I was looking for a book that definatively got at the heart of Potter's popularity using logical and supported literary analysis, and Granger's book fulfills that. John Granger looks at both the series as a whole, as well as book by book, the symbolism involved as an entity unto itself, and makes sound predictions for books 5-7 based on his analysis. The Christian themes that pervade Rowling's books are explained phenomenally well, and Granger puts, for example, information regarding Inkling literature and the Christian medieval morality plays (two important aspects of Harry Potter) into layman's tems, so that even those readers not familiar with those particular characteristics are not lost. It is a remarkable book, and I have read it several times as I prepare for the release of Book 5. You will not be disappointed with The Hidden Key to Harry Potter. It is by far, the best way to unlock the secrets that make Rowling's books such a magical series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2003

    Harry Potter for Grown Ups

    If you are one of the many adult fans of J.K. Rowling's books I am sure that you would find The Hidden Key to be a fascinating read. I would also highly recommend this book to you if you have no intention whatever of reading the Harry Potter series but are interesting in understanding what all the fuss is about. It is the best attempt I have seen to account for the unprecedented worldwide phenomenon that the books have become. Granger takes the Harry Potter books seriously as literature, and the depth of analysis is remarkable. However it is done with such enthusiasm and humour that it is also a very enjoyable read. I'd always suspected that there was more to these books than met the eye, and Hidden Key puts the complex weave of plot, symbolism and allusion under the microscope to reveal its intricate structure. As well as a detailed analysis of the four books so far published there is also some intriguing speculation about where the next three might go. This book gives us the chance to be informed about and involved in a remarkable literary event as it unfolds, don't miss the opportunity!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2003

    Harry Potter Fans (and their Parents) Need to Read This!

    This book succeeds on a number of fronts: 1) It details the important themes of the Potter books extremely well. This has allowed me to enjoy and appreciate the books much more than when I first helped read Sorcerer's Stone to my son. The Potter stories are great on their own but Hidden Key allows you to see the deep themes Rowling is baking into these stories. I guarantee you will appreciate her writing skill and the books themselves significantly more after reading this guide. 2)This has helped me to reinforce the themes in the Potter books, which are really the great themes we are faced with in life, for my son. It has given me an informed, adult view on Rowling's writing that has created many 'teachable moments' with my son. In fact, I just had several more of these moments while watching Chamber of Secrets, that were directly inspired by the Hidden Key's content. I consider myself a decent reader but, to be honest, it's amazing how much I missed in Rowling's books that John Granger has captured in great detail. From the themes in each of the four books to the hidden meaning of most of the character's names--the detail and analysis will astound you if you are a Potter fan. Plus the predictions for the future direction of the story provide great fodder for musing and discussion. I've looked at a few of the other guides out there but they really don't compare. If you'd like to see a serious treatment of Rowling's world as literature--and benefit from the experience--this is your book. If you are a Christian reader, you'll appreciate this guide even more--although the prime criteria needed to enjoy it is being a dedicated Potter fan or the parent of one! Actually, that leads me to my only disclaimer. This book is not written for the 8 year old Harry Potter fanatic. It is probably best suited to good teen readers and adults. But I do think the 8 year old fanatic's parents should buy it so they and their child will get the most from the magical world of Hogwarts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2003

    A must-read! Brilliant insights on every page!

    I cannot say enough about this book! I am truly astounded at the smorgasborg of insights that Mr. Granger has packed into this very thorough defense of the Harry Potter series. He puts forth an enormous amount of evidence (including 13 detailed charts), leaving no doubt in the reader's mind that J.K. Rowling is a first class Christian author who is writing in the same genre as 'Inklings' literature (C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc.). He skillfully debunks the anti-Potter authors who (incredibly!) have painted Rowling as pro-Occult, and her writings as anti-Christian. After reading Hidden Key one is left wondering how anyone could maintain that the Harry Potter series is anything other than the best Christian literature since Lord of the Rings. This is the only book of its kind and is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in the Harry Potter series or good Christian literature a la 'The Inklings'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2003

    Fun, thought-provoking, with a message

    Reading - although it seems more like listening to - Mr. Granger's chatty, funny, breezy, scholarly analysis of mythology, the classics, history and modern literature relating to the meaning of the Potter books is an adventure in itself. Enthralling! Compelling! His Hidden Key unlocks doors leading us to rational paths of thought, references and symbolism. His case for the Christian message and morality in the books is solid, substantiated and could not be clearer. It is sheer delight and a renewal of optimism for this reader!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2003

    Another one jumps on the bandwagon

    As I read this book, I wondered if Granger and I had read the same books. I have no clue after reading his book and rereading HP were he got some of his ideas. Some of the predictions about future plot twist and character secrets are straight out of fanfiction on the web. When evidence for these theories is offered, it mostly relies things the author thinks will happen in the next three books. If you are looking for the hidden key, please just reread the HP books and relive the magic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2003

    A Must Read!!!

    For any college or high school instructor trying to find a way of talking about religion with their students, of for those wanting to understand how broad of a category religion is, The Hidden Key is the perfect place to start. Using a host of academic sources along with his own shrewd insights, Granger breathes new life into the Potter series. His conclusions are both a much needed re-thinking of the Potter series and an intriguing way of thinking about faith. Best of all, he does this with clear, lively, and engaging prose that never leaves the reader mired in senseless jargon. A complicated discussion of religion has rarely been so readily understandable. Indeed, my Fall Religion in America course will read The Hidden Key. Furthermore, I sense that many more instructors will turn to Granger's work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2003

    HIdden key for sure

    John Granger has hit the nail right on the head with his assertion that Rawlings is in the same tradition as C. S. Lewis and Tolkein. I didn't really 'get it' until I read Hidden Key. Granger has the same kind of educational background as Rowling and he knows what he is talking about. WOW!!!!

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