Here is another From Book to Podcast! This time I’ll be revisiting the podcast, Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, hosted by Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile. As a reminder, this podcast starts from the beginning of the series and breaks down each chapter by specific themes. The two hosts hold a ~30 minute discussion exploring the array of themes in each chapter, along with tying in other thoughts, personal experiences, and exploring ways to read the series as a sacred text.
With each read of the Harry Potter series is always fun, exciting, and comforting. But what’s great is that this time, I can re-read the series in a special and new light. I can focus on the themes that are so prevalent throughout the books, giving the series new meaning.
The themes discussed here are so relatable to life that I sometimes am at awe of not only of Vanessa and Casper in digging deep into the text, but of especially J.K. Rowling. I wonder if she really broke down her chapters with specific themes in mind or if those themes just came naturally as she wrote.
Some of the themes that were discussed in Season Two were belonging, cowardice, loyalty, control, love, and so much more. Like last time, I want to touch upon just one of these themes as to not spoil the podcast for future listeners.
Heartbreak: One way that heartbreak is shown is through the main star of this book – Ginny Weasley. Here is an eleven-year-old who is teased by her older brothers and is starting Hogwarts with those first-year jitters – just like Ron, Harry, and Hermione felt in the first book. This time though, she has a serious crush on Harry and doesn’t know how to deal with this new feeling.
When she finds Riddle’s diary, Ginny thought she found a friend, a confidant, to share her feelings with. At the end of the book, we realize how much she’s been betrayed and heartbroken to learn that she was just being used the entire school year. It broke my heart to realize this because I tried to envision myself in her position at that age – vulnerable, wanting a friend, and just trying to be a kid. It makes me wonder how much of her efforts were put into making actual new friends and learning magic as she was sucked into Riddle’s world so quickly and deeply. Losing your self-control and ability to act has got to be one of the most devastating feelings out there.
Being used, manipulated, possessed, kidnapped, and left to die is heartbreaking and just so sad. What makes it so sad in this fictional context is that manipulation and kidnapping are real and scary…unsettling.
This theme really struck me because it actually added a new layer to the series that I don’t think I really appreciated in my prior readings. It brings my thought of this being a fairly light read (Lockhart, Valentine “cupid” messages, Ron’s fear of spiders in a way, etc.) down to a darker and deeper place. Yes, the books get darker as the series goes on, but as mentioned before using someone and locking them in a basement of sorts is some pretty dark stuff, too!
I am still enjoying listening to the detailed and meaningful conversations that Casper and Vanessa hold weekly. They work so well together and you can tell that a lot of thought and care has been put forth each time they come together to discuss Harry Potter and treating it as a sacred text.
So, big thanks to Vanessa, Casper, and all the people that make Harry Potter and the Sacred Text possible. Their insight and diving deep into each chapter is helping me relive Harry Potter in a new and beautiful way.
Can’t wait to jump into book three – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban!
Honestly, if you love Harry Potter, come check out the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text site and podcast!
To read my book review of the second book, please go here: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets