"I first met Harry Potter when my grandmother was dying.The is the first of two excellent reviews of the new Harry Potter book (as well as the six previous volumes). Neither review is goes to the extremes, and some ways I think the two authors are actually arguing the same points. Note that both reviews contain what might be considered "spoilers".
On New Years Day 1999, she had a massive stroke from which she would never recover. Not wanting her to die alone, we took turns sitting by her bedside, round the clock. The night I spent with her, I brought along my Bible, the biggest cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee I could find, and a new novel, picked up from the bookstore on the way to the hospital: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Both the Bible and the 'Boy Who Lived' proved good company during the watches of the night. Both pointed the way to hope in the face of death."
In this review Bob Smietana sees a number of echoes of Christianity in the imagery and specific references. The one that completely blew by me from The Prisoner of Azkaban forward was the fact that Sirius Black was Harry's godfather -- Harry was baptized -- which J.K. Rowling acknowledges as being part of the background. (Apparently there is quite a body of notes that may find their way into print as an encyclopedia of Harry Potter and Hogwarts).
Other Christian references are a little more difficult to pick out, but once you see them, you nod your head in agreement.
Read the second review, and then I will do a quick review of my own.