Maybe because I’ve recently spent some time back home with my family, or maybe because it’s the new year, a time when evangelicals like myself tend to talk a lot about repenting, refocusing, and returning to God. Whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about prodigal son stories–not that I’m a prodigal in the exact sense of the word, or a son for that matter, but I can identify with the biblical pig-slop boy pretty well. This morning in church we sang “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” and when we got to the line “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it” I wept a little bit (discreetly), and then I thought of a great blog post, based upon Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Would you expect anything else from me?)
I started thinking about how fitting it is that in a book that culminates with a massive high school homecoming (all those Hogwarts alumni and truant students, some coming back to be true to their school, and some coming back to destroy it), we get all these beautiful stories of return and restoration. Ron coming back to Harry and Hermione, led by a supernatural “tiny little ball of light.” Snape coming back to Dumbledore, on his knees, with a broken spirit. Percy coming back to be a Weasley again. Harry coming back to King’s Cross, where it all began–first in that bright moment of clarity between life and death, and then at the end, bringing his children to board the train to a restored Hogwarts, telling his son that it’s ok to be a Slytherin because things have changed now; broken social structures have been mended.
This has all probably been said before (by John Granger, no doubt), but it came to me like a discovery, and it’s a discovery I’d like to pursue. If you think of any return and restoration stories in Deathly Hallows that I’ve missed, let me know. And I’d love to hear about some of your other favorite homecomings in literature and film. (I’ll go ahead and state one that seems really obvious to me: The Hobbit, Or, There and Back Again.)