Several weeks ago I led a literature discussion group through the use of fantasy, symbols, and alchemy in the Harry Potter books. These talks outlined why fiction can sometimes convey more truth than non-fiction, how symbols work and how modernity has consciously sought to undermine the Christian basis of symbols, and how alchemy was an attempt to purify the soul through the process of sanctification.
The premise of these talks is that J.K. Rowling uses medieval symbolism consistent with Biblical understanding and that the overall theme of the stories may in fact be the process of sanctification utilizing the imagery of alchemy.
The actual book discussion focused primarily on Books 1-3 since we are having another discussion next week on Books 4-6. Refer to John Granger's book, Looking for God in Harry Potter, for more information on the use of alchemy.
Part One (about 40 minutes): Introduction and primary Alchemy Discussion
Part Two (about 37 minutes): Discussion on types of magic, symbols, and the thematic material in Book 1-3
Part Three (about 15 minutes): The Questions and Answers after the Discussion
(Thanks to Cy and Elliott Fenton for editing these)