Headmaster Rod Gilbert examines the link between a good adventure story and the greatest epic hero.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

I love a good story. Nothing beats an adventure with intrigue, plot twists and tension. Humans are built for stories of epic heroes. And the greatest of all epic stories really happened. Last year, before the release of the final Harry Potter novel, I discusses the various options for the book’s outcome with a group of middle school students. Would Harry kill Voldemort? Would Voldemort kill Harry? Would Harry kill Voldemort, and then die from his wounds? Or, better yet, maybe the school’s headmaster Dumbledore never really died, and he will return, Gandalf-like, to join Harry in a final battle.

We argued over the various options for several minutes, then one said, “What if Harry kills Voldemort, then dies. Later, though, Harry rises from the dead – that would be awesome!”

Jesus is the ultimate epic hero. His is the story we were all designed to love. Any other adventure that grabs our imagination ultimately glimmers with the truth of our redemption— Christ’s victory over evil and the grave.

“Do you think Rowling would do this?” I queried.

She should. It would be the greatest story ever—but I don’t think it will happen.”

I asked, “Has any other book ended this way?”

After a few seconds they exclaimed enthusiastically, “No. It would be too great!” We all agreed.

This conversation became the link the next week in chapel to a challenge I made to the assembled students and faculty: Take the time to read the Gospel of Mark through in one sitting. If you read it like the story it is, the first chapter alone will send chills down your spine and make the hairs on your neck stand up. Jesus is the ultimate epic hero. His is the story we were all designed to love. Any other adventure that grabs our imagination ultimately glimmers with the truth of our redemption – Christ’s victory over evil and the grave.

That’s an epic that even Harry Potter can’t stand up to.