Friday, 24 August 2007

J.K Rowling, Scripture and Endings

BBC Radio Scotland
Thought for the Day
Amanullah De Sondy
J.K Rowling has revealed how she sobbed and downed half a bottle of champagne when she finished the final chapters of the last Harry Potter book.

Every author and writer can understand the feeling of euphoria and devastation that Rowling was trying to explain. Her mixed emotions made me wonder if the end is always a good place to be. Of course for those who came second best in the Wimbledon finals this weekend, the feeling is far from good, at the moment, but the determination to win the next time will be stronger than ever.

The end of things can bring joy or a lifetime of sadness. Each end reveals, in its own way, some important question. Where were we before the experience? Where were we during the experience? And, most importantly, where is this experience going to take us in the future? The release of Alan Johnston last week is one we all prayed and hoped for, but conflict is far from ending in the Middle East and people continue to die each day in Iraq. The effect of being detained day in day out will surely take Johnstone a long time to move on from. The end of one experience becomes the beginning of another.

Apart from its fictional setting, Harry Potter is essentially a story about good prevailing over evil. In my teaching I have often compared the ethical dimension of Rowling’s fiction with Islam’s holiest scripture, The Qur’an. The Qur’an’s main message of good prevailing over evil is set between many different stories and parables which the reader has to digest and understand. Be it Jesus, Muhammad or Moses in the Bible, The Torah or the Qur’an, their mission to overcome evil through the spirit of God is also essentially one. And so the end of the Qur’an is not truly the end as every reader must carry its messages of peace and wisdom into the real world.

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