Note: This is not a review but a movie evaluation of characters, action, and themes from a Christian standpoint, and touches on some themes from the book as well, especially those left out of the movie.
The themes from part one of this movie continue: violence, a plethora of casting
of spells, many people dying, and a very dark, somber atmosphere. Harry,
Hermione, and Ron are searching for Horcruxes, objects which contain pieces of
Lord Voldemort's soul. Voldemort put parts of his soul into objects to safeguard
his life, since these Horcruxes must be destroyed in order to weaken Voldemort
enough to kill him.
Naturally, since Harry is a sorcerer who has honed his abilities over
the years at the school for wizards (sorcerers), Hogwarts, it is
impossible to get away from the occult arts. There is much spell casting
in the movie; most of the encounters of Harry, his friends, and the
"good" people with the evil Lord Voldemort and his followers involve
using wands and spells.
Early on, a goblin reminds Harry that a "wand chooses its master." This has also been said in earlier books and movies. The idea that a wand chooses its master is an occult view as well as a belief in some areas of the New Age that objects have certain inherent energies or powers that will draw a person to that object. In the occult, objects can allegedly be infused with power through rituals and incantations.
In the New Age, it is believed that one can impart one's energy into
a crystal through meditation and visualization. This makes the crystal
one's own, and supposedly the crystal will then have a special tie with
the person, protecting and/or enhancing its owner's health, mind, or
spirituality (depending on the type of crystal). The writer of this
article did this very thing with a crystal given to her when she was in
the New Age. She was advised on the steps and told that doing these
steps would align the crystal with her vibrations.
Believing that there is an energy or power that can draw objects and people together is a central idea common to both the occult and the New Age.
When Harry wants to know about a diadem (a crown), his friend Luna tells him that it is so old that no one alive has seen it, so they must talk to "someone who is dead." Harry then converses with the Gray Lady, the spirit of a dead woman (Helena Ravenclaw) who roams Hogwarts. She doesn't really give much of an answer, so this part seems unnecessary.
In the book but absent from the movie is the tale of Dumbledore's sister, Ariana, who died tragically because her magic became too powerful for her. A picture of Ariana is shown in the film but her story is not told. In the book, Dumbledore's brother, Aberforth, explains to Harry that Ariana became "unbalanced" because her "Magic . . . turned inward and drove her mad, it exploded out of her when she couldn't control it" (p. 564). Moreover, her actions caused her mother's death (p. 565). Maybe this was too grim for the movie? This is one reason that nobody can truly judge the Harry Potter books just by viewing the movies.
Harry discovers he himself is a Horcrux (by "reading" memories of
various people in an object called the pensieve (like "pensive," get
it?). When Voldemort tried to kill Harry as a baby, Harry's mother stood
between them and the spell hit her and rebounded on Voldemort. In
defense, part of Voldemort's soul went into the only live creature,
which was Harry (though Voldemort remained unaware of this). This is why
Harry can talk with snakes, like Voldemort, and why he has a psychic
connection with Voldemort, able to see and hear him at certain times.
Dumbledore (now deceased) had explained earlier to Snape that Voldemort could never be defeated unless Harry himself is killed since Harry is a Horcrux. All along it seems, Dumbledore knew this but never told Harry. It lends some credence to the words spoken earlier by Dumbledoreâ€™s brother Aberforth, that Harry was being used as a pawn.
This bond between Voldemort and Harry makes Harry and Voldemort sort of a yin and yang. Yin and Yang, the two complementary forces of the universe from the Tao, are considered to be part of each other and they intermingle. Harry has had part of Voldemort in him all along.
To solve this dilemma about killing Harry without Harry truly dying and staying dead, the author has Harry killed later by a death curse from Voldemort, but Harry is able to come back because he has a resurrection stone.
Before Harry is killed, he meets up with his dead parents and Lord Sirius in the woods. They assure him they are with him. Harry asks Sirius if it hurts to die, and Sirius tells him that it's "faster than falling asleep." Other death-friendly remarks in the book are not given in the film.
When Harry is killed by a spell from Voldemort, he finds himself in a place with a white light talking briefly with the dead Dumbledore. In the movie, this seems to be almost a fantasy, but in the book, it is very real because Dumbledore gives him information that Harry later discovers is true.
Harry later revives and there is intense fighting between the two sides using
wands and spells. It is very violent with many deaths.
Now that Harry has been officially killed as a Horcrux, and "resurrected," he no longer needs to die since he is no longer a Horcrux (the other remaining Horcrux, Voldemort's serpent, is killed by Harry's friend, Neville Longbottom). There is a dueling wands scene between Harry and Voldemort, and Harry quickly vanquishes his enemy.
It seems that Harry and his friends get things done largely through their magic. They control people with spells when necessary (as they do with a goblin to get into the bank), they fight with spells, they use spells to discover things, etc.
Despite the idea that one must work hard to master spell casting, it seems a lot
easier, once you know how, to get things done with this power than to work at
things using brains, or to endure things using and building character.
Harry does act commendably when he refuses to leave Draco Malfoy, a follower of Lord Voldemort, in a burning room to die. He rescues Draco and his friends, who then run off. But in the books, Harry's desire for vengeance is paramount and is mentioned often. It is what motivates him in many scenarios (this is not as apparent in the films). He is also hypocritical in the book, asking for truth from characters when in many cases, he himself lies and deceives.
Harry is touted as the hero and as a good person, but he looks good only in comparison to Voldemort and other evil characters. The bad characters are made to look so wicked that almost anyone looks good next to them.
In the book, Dumbledore gives Harry a speech about being a "master of death," though this is not in the movie. Some may want to see a Jesus figure in this, since Jesus conquered death. But being a "master of death" is not vanquishing death.
Mastering death is an occult concept, going back to early Taoism when shamans and sorcerers concocted potions and intricate meditations to build up the invisible chi power within and thus gain health and immortality. This continued as a quest off and on in Taoism, as well as in other non-Christian beliefs. Alchemy, in particular, posited the sorcerer's stone (name of the first Harry Potter book) as a source of immortality. Ancient Egypt and vampire lore also have tales of seeking magic or power to gain immortality.
The desire for immortality is the desire to escape death, which came as a result
of sin. Sacrifice and redemption mean little if the awareness of sin is absent.
If Harry is a savior figure, what is he saving people from? It is Lord Voldemort
and his evil followers. But when Jesus died on the cross, he paid the penalty
for sins to save those who believe from eternal death - that is, separation from
Jesus did not die to save anyone from Satan, because Satan is not the ruler of death or hell. Jesus is the one who says: "I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades" (Rev. 1:18b). And through faith in Jesus, one has not only escaped the second death but has eternal life with God.