THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BOTH STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER AND HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS (ALTHOUGH, YOU SHOULDN’T NEED A SPOILER WARNING FOR A MOVIE NEARLY TEN YEARS OLD).
How Star Wars should have ended (and Harry Potter did)
Last night as I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I realized how Star Wars should have ended!
Every Christmas my wife and I pull out the Harry Potter movies. Since the first couple movies were holiday releases, the familiar John Williams score as the big Warner Brothers logo opens scratches a Christmas itch in my brain.
Last night we finished the series again. As I watched the last hour or so of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, I realized this movie was how Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker should have ended.
Two movies. One story.
After almost eight whole movies of getting to know Harry, Hermione, Ron and their world, the final movie culminates in a battle that leaves Hogwarts in rubble and gives Voldemort the upper hand. After retreating, he makes an announcement that no one else has to die if Harry will give himself up. So after learning via memories from Professor Snape, Harry does that very thing.
On the way to the Forbidden Forrest to give himself up, Harry opens the snitch he received from Albus Dumbledore following his death. Inside the snitch, he finds The Resurrection Stone. As he clutches the stone in his hand, the heroes and mentors who have gone before surround him. They tell them they are with him. Then, he lets The Resurrection Stone fall from his hand because it’s done its job. That moment was when the lightbulb went off!
As I watched Harry talk with Serious Black, I realized I was watching the scene from the end of The Rise of Skywalker when Rey heard the voices of all the Jedi. Then, Harry sacrificed himself to defeat Voldemort. That was what Rey did, too. I’m not going to comment on who did it better. That’s not the point. The point is that it’s the same story! But, it’s the same story — not because someone at Lucasfilm stole Rowling’s story — because it’s THE STORY (more or less)!
THE STORY is God’s story
THE STORY — the metastory — is the one God has been writing for the last four thousand years. After creating the world, watching it fall, rebooting it with Noah and his family (see The Matrix Reloaded for more on that part of the metastory), choosing Abraham and his descendants, giving them a home, watching them turn to idolatry, sending them into exile, giving them a home again and letting them be conquered by the Roman Empire, he sent his only Son to be THE The One.
The night before Jesus sacrificed himself for us to win the victory by receiving the punishment we deserved for our sin, he spent the night in a garden preparing for his sacrifice. He met with his Heavenly Father, not all those who went before him. The Apostle John taught us that there was no one before him (John 1:1). Then, he surrendered himself and died on the cross.
However, just like Harry and Rey, that wasn’t the end of his story. He rose from the grave victorious. He defeated sin and death. Jesus fulfilled the law with his sacrifice. Everyone who trusts in him and his sacrifice for us receives eternal life. Yes, this means life forever, but it also means knowing our Creator and our Savior. This is the metastory that writes all the great stories for us. So, why does this metastory feel so real to us?
The metastory is our story
The metastory about Jesus is real to us because every one of us has experienced it ourselves. For all of us there has come a moment when we had to give ourselves up. Our sacrifice doesn’t save the world. When we repent of trying to save ourselves and trust in Christ, we die to ourselves join with him in his resurrection. This happens the moment we trust in him, and it happens every day the rest of our lives.
In Luke 9:23, Jesus told us:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
This metastory feels so real to us because it describes the story we faced when we trusted in Jesus as well as every day of our lives. And, we don’t’ just die for ourselves. When we give ourselves up every day, we follow in the footsteps of the faithful before us (Hebrews 12:1). We also die for the people we love most. Our sacrifice shows them our hope is in something bigger than us. Then, we use our words to tell them that something is Jesus!