chapter  4
21 Pages

The Temptation in the Desert and the Harrowing of Hell

Harry Potter, Mystery Plays and Milton

This 'guiler beguiled' interpretation focuses on the two moments when Jesus and Satan come face to face: the Temptation in the Desert and the Harrowing of Hell. The underlying narrative that connects the Temptation in the Desert to the Harrowing of Hell is that of Satan's inability to understand the power of love. Christ-as-knight breaks into hell, defeats the devil and saves all the souls within it; and at the end of Harry Potter Harry defeats Voldemort in a chivalric final single combat in the Great Hall, freeing all from the Dark Lord's power. In the final duel with Voldemort, as at the Harrowing, it is finally explained to the Dark Lord what has been really going on. Dumbledore's explanations to Harry about the power of love, and the importance of Voldemort's inability to understand this power, are one of the circular connections between the first and last novels of this series.