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The Hogwarts Library

JK Rowling began writing the Harry potter series in 1990 after the idea hit her on a train trip to London. She released the 1 st book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in 1997 through the publishing company Bloomsbury after some initial setbacks from other publishers (I bet they are kicking themselves now after the success of the series). (About J.K. Rowling, 2012) The seven books in the series were released consecutively from 1997 through to 2007 with the additional Hogwarts Library books Quidditch through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them and Tales of Beedle the Bard published partly in 2001 and 2008. Film Versions of the series were released and accepted with huge success from 2001 to 2011 winning awards for services to film.

from 2001 to 2011 winning awards for services to film. Book Releases:  Harry Potter and

Book Releases:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone—1997

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets1998

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban1999

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire2000

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them2001

Quidditch Through the Ages2001

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix2003

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince2005

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows2007

The Tales of Beedle the Bard2008

Hallows — 2007  The Tales of Beedle the Bard — 2008 Film Releases:  Harry
Hallows — 2007  The Tales of Beedle the Bard — 2008 Film Releases:  Harry

Film Releases:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone—2001

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets2002

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban2004

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire2005

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix2007

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince2009

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 12010

The Monster Book of Monsters

Harry Potter and high fantasy

As some critics like to kindly remind us the world of harry potter has been created from the bones of many other mythological and legendary stories, creatures, concepts, names etc. however it is these elements which make the world of the Harry Potter series relatable and believable and what makes the stories work . It is this that makes the secondary world so easy to believe and has helped readers become entranced with J.K Rowling’s stories. As argued by some (Beagley, 2014) the Harry Potter series is not one completely of high fantasy but something that steadily grows from something simple to something far more complex and challenging over time. In the beginning of Rowling’s series events and consequences are effecting only the immediate community within Hogwatrs however this soon begins to escalate as the power of lord Voldemort grows and fear spreads throughout the wider wizarding community building tension and becoming a world altering high fantasy series by the time it concludes.

Episodes

Events began effecting only the immediate Hogwarts community and Harry’s pocket of friends.

The Troll

Sneaking Norbert to Charlie

The mystery of the Chamber of Secrets

Quidditch matches

Rescuing Sirius from the Dementors

The Triwizard

 Rescuing Sirius from the Dementors  The Triwizard tournament Before long events began to impact

tournament

Before long events began to impact of the wider community and the greater good.

The return of Voldemort

Fighting death eaters at the ministry

Creating Dumbledore’s Army

Finding and destroying Voldemort’s Horcruxes

It is this change from a local and confined issues and events to the expansive and worldwide problems that make this text difficult to categorise as solely fantasy or high fantasy however one could suggests it uses characteristics of both at times.

The Hero’s Journey

Harry’s Call to adventure began with the death of his parents and his survival. All
Harry’s Call to adventure began with
the death of his parents and his survival.
All the events leading up to and
including the arrival of his Hogwarts
The Herald in this instance is Hagrid and his
arrival in the ‘Hut on the rock’ when he finally
gives Harry the letter. Although other characters
come into play later in the series.
There are multiple thresholds throughout the
series beginning with the magical entrance to
Diagon Alley through the Leaky Cauldron and
including platform 9 3/4 , Flu powder, port keys
and many more.
Harry crosses back and forth across the threshold into the mundane world constantly throughout the
Harry crosses back and forth across the
threshold into the mundane world constantly
throughout the series but in the conclusion
appears to remain settled in the magical world.
By fulfilling the prophecy and destroying
Voldemort Harry saves the wizarding world and is
then able to move on with his life.
The many protective figures in the series include:
Lilly and James Potter, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Snape,
Sirius, Ron and Hermione, Order of the Phoenix,
Dumbledore’s Army and The Weasleys.
Harry faces many trials throughout the series
beginning with learning magic and fitting into the
magical community before having to defend it
from Voldemort . Along the way he is forced to
compete in dangerous competitions, face
unsavoury creatures and characters, experience
grief to an unimaginable extant and trust his
relationships in order to survive.

The Statue of Secrecy

The World of Harry Potter

Set in the primary world that we know the Harry Potter series came to life over the course of a schoolboy’s life and experiences. This was something that many children of similar ages could relate to, especially those living in the UK at the time of release. As the series progressed and Harry grew so did the themes and complexity of the series which allowed the readership to grow along with it. Rather than remaining a series for children the stories transformed along with readers and became a series for young adults (which even provoked the need for an adult cover design). The emotional connection between the characters and the audience along with realistic locations in the crossover between the primary and secondary worlds make the Harry Potter stories highly relatable. The series was based on the mundane world as we know it but the added secondary world elements remained unnoticed by Muggles (us).

secondary world elements remained unnoticed by Muggles (us). The Crossover — The various thresholds between the
secondary world elements remained unnoticed by Muggles (us). The Crossover — The various thresholds between the
secondary world elements remained unnoticed by Muggles (us). The Crossover — The various thresholds between the
secondary world elements remained unnoticed by Muggles (us). The Crossover — The various thresholds between the
secondary world elements remained unnoticed by Muggles (us). The Crossover — The various thresholds between the

The Crossover

The various thresholds between the worlds were commonplace and eas- ily recognised by the audience but were fantasised and transformed by the magic of the secondary world. This, and the events of the series, aligns with the typical fantasy struc- ture of separation, crossing the threshold, facing trials and recross- ing the threshold. From the death of Harry’s parents and his acceptance into the magical community at Hog- warts to the confrontations with various trials and rivals follow the hero’s journey typically focused on in the fantasy genre.

Primary/Secondary World— The Mundane The Magical
Primary/Secondary World—
The
Mundane
The Magical

Fantastic Themes & Where to Find Them

Some of the major themes in the Harry Potter series include:

relationships (family, friendship, romance, rivalry etc.), heroism, humility, morality, death, violence, acceptance, grief and of course magic. These themes have been pulled apart by critics over the last decade but in my opinion the series still remains one of the best pieces of children’s literature in recent times. We are able to see these themes through the interactions between characters and through the actions of the main protagonists as the stories progress. As the stories grow so does the intensity of the themes, bringing into focus darker ideas.

intensity of the themes, bringing into focus darker ideas. “The world isn't split into good people

“The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters”

Although this is often how it seems in fantasy stories there isn't always a clear cut line between good and evil and as suggested by Wolosky it is to do with Love and Power struggling to coexist. An individual either choses to love or power and this drives their subsequent choices.

Crime and Consequence:

Breaking News

One of the major themes of the Harry Potter series is the

presence of morality, humility, heroism and choices and with this comes the associated consequences. Just as our world does, the world of Harry Potter functions around law and authority and of course with this comes rebellion and crime. These of course have their consequences but action taken by the authorities in turn provokes further retaliation from the opposing forces at work. Lord Voldemort is the prime example of rebellion and lack of morality in the series with his over

powering desire for death and

destruction. The counter to this force of evil is of course our protagonist Harry and his deep humility and moral compass throughout the series. As Dumbledore states in The

our

Chamber of Secrets "It is

choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" and it is the choices that

characters make that separate them from one another.

are, far more than our abilities" and it is the choices that characters make that separate

Fantastic Themes & Where to Find Them

The many relationships in Harry Potter are one of the major themes throughout the series. From the more obvious to the subtle and perhaps more complex, relationships are what force the story to keep moving. The main events of the series revolve around various interpersonal relationships and their outcomes in turn revolve around and affect others. As the story progresses the relationships between characters begins to grow and change such as Harry close friendships with Ron and Hermione and their loyalty to him throughout the series. We also see friendships grow and change such as Harry and Ginny’s relationship moving from a young girl’s admiration through friendship and into romance.

girl’s admiration through friendship and into romance. Me, Myself and I Gossip column — We are
girl’s admiration through friendship and into romance. Me, Myself and I Gossip column — We are

Me, Myself and I

Gossip column

We are exposed to the dysfunction of families (Percy Weasley’s abandonment) and the close bonds between others (the Grangers support) and the pain that these groups must endure for the good of humanity. We are introduced to teams and allies through the order of the

p h o e n i x

Dumbledore’s army.

through the order of the p h o e n i x Dumbledore’s army. a n

a n d

We are also able to see rivalries begin to alter, whether that be growing stronger or weakening to the point of becoming allies. This is evident with the feuds between Harry and Malfoy’s as well as Harry and Snape. The two boys started out from the very beginning as enemies however by the end of the series the issues causing them to fight one another begin bringing them closer, close enough for Harry to save Malfoy’s life. A similar alteration occurs between Harry and Snape as he discovers the links between his teacher and his mother and the lengths he has gone to over the years to protect her and himself.

Fantastic Themes & Where to Find Them

Death and Violence

As Dumbledore states death is a part of life and it is not to be feared unreasonably. The Harry Potter series gradually introduces the idea of death and violence from an early stage. Although reader understand Harry’s parents were killed in the first book it is not until The Goblet of Fire that death truly shows itself in full. Harry must come to terms with the death of many characters close to him throughout the series including close family (Sirius) and friends (Fred Weasley, Cedric Diggory, Mad-Eye Moody, Lupin and Tonks) and his mentor Dumbledore. Many of these deaths he witnesses first hand and quite damaging to Harry’s emotional state.

first hand and quite damaging to Harry’s emotional state. Grief and Acceptance — "After all, to

Grief and Acceptance

"After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure."

Harry is forced to accept death in many instances but nothing compares to the acceptance of his own death as he faces Voldemort unarmed. It is the sign of a true humanitarian and hero to face your fate head on with no protection willing looking your own death in the face and this is what Harry must do in order to save all wizard kind.

Fantastic Themes & Where to Find Them

Racism and Hierarchy

Something well noticed in the Harry Potter series is the presence of social hierarchy. The most evident is the distinction made be- tween wizarding families of pure bloodlines and those with mixed heritage. Wizards born of muggle families are seen as lowly by those with egotistical issues such as the Malfoy’s and many other Slytherin wizards.

Voldemort and his followers place themselves in top rank and feel all non-magical beings are to be put in their rightful places.

non-magical beings are to be put in their rightful places. Some social distinctions include:  Pure
non-magical beings are to be put in their rightful places. Some social distinctions include:  Pure

Some social distinctions include:

Pure bloodwizards coming from a pure pedigree

Half bloodwizards with a mixture of magical and non- magical blood

Muggle born (mudblood) - wizards born spontaneously into

a completely non-magical family, the reverse situation is

a Squib.

Slaves (house elves) - creatures used for the benefit of man

Non-human magical beingscentaurs, merpeople, goblins and giants.

Death Eatersall of pure blood descent with high levels of self-entitlement

Mugglescommon non-magical folk

of self-entitlement  Muggles — common non-magical folk It is not always the muggles that fare

It is not always the muggles that fare the worst but the non-humans and half-bloods that are exposed the greatest acts of racism and exclusion. creatures are forced to work or lived isolated and forced to near extinction while wizards are persecuted for their heritage.

The Standard Book of Spells

The Origins of Harry Potter Magic

Much of the magic in the Harry Potter series has a basis in mythology or history somewhere. The bulk of the spells found in the stories link directly to Latin meanings relating to the use of the spell.

Some example of the use of Latin in Rowling’s spells:

Accio for example simply means to call or to summon in Latin and is used to summon objects from other locations by wizards.

Lumos means light in Latin and is used to magically light rooms.

The incantation Expecto Patronum means “to throw out” a patronus or “guardian” which will protect or convey messages.

It has even been suggested that Avada Kedavra the killing curse has links to middle eastern or roman healing spells for vanquishing illness and could likely have originated from abracadabra.

illness and could likely have originated from abracadabra. Magic in Fantasy — Although the idea of

Magic in Fantasy

Although the idea of magic itself is not an idea original to the Harry Potter series criteria for good children’s fantasy requires the need for the supernatural elements and thus J.K Rowling has based her fantasy around the learning and use of magical abilities.

Magic in this series is a means to an end and creates an adventurous coming of age story that many children can relate to regardless of the extraordinary because it provides readers with a reason to imagine that which they can never really hope to achieve without it.

In keeping with the culture of fantasy stories Rowling created a story “mundane enough to be credible” whilst balancing with the extraordinary and building towards high fantasy.

Hogwarts, A History

Rowling draws on many sources from history for her characters. Many character names originate in myth or legend or are based on specific cultures and meanings however one particular character Nicolas Flamel was a true alchemist born in France in the 1300s.

Some other include:

Fluffyoriginally Cerberus the guard dog to hades in Greek mythology

Sphinxbased on both the Egyptian myths and the Oedipus story in Greek mythology

Bagshot, Snape and Flitwickare towns in England

 Bagshot, Snape and Flitwick — are towns in England Dumbledore’s defeat of Grindelwald aligns with

Dumbledore’s defeat of Grindelwald aligns with the end of the second world war and the defeat of Hitler suggesting that perhaps magic had something to do with the war and terror spreading across Europe at that time.

Events in modern history

Durmstrang Academy draws on ideas of Nazi Germany with its focus on the Dark Arts and rebellion rather than morality and integrity.

Also taken from outside sources are

Locationsthe grey area between worlds:

Kings Cross Station, central London, the underground.

 Kings Cross Station, central London, the underground. Names — used for their meanings:  Sirius

Namesused for their meanings:

Sirius Blackreferring to the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major. The name literally means black dog.

Malfoyfrom the Latin malificus,English maleficent and French mal foi referring to evil doing, and bad faith

Luciusperhaps an echo of Lucifer and a reference to his evil nature.

Dracoa star in a northern constellation, meaning dragon or snake.

Creaturesborrowed from various mythologies around the world:

dragons, goblins, giants, centaurs, phoenixes, unicorns and werewolves and Hippogriffs.

mythologies around the world:  dragons, goblins, giants, centaurs, phoenixes, unicorns and werewolves and Hippogriffs.

ReferencesThe Restricted Section

Primary Sources:

Rowling, J.K. (1997) Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. London:

Bloomsbury.

Rowling, J.K. (1998) Harry Potter and the Chamber f Secrets. London:

Bloomsbury.

Rowling, J.K. (1999) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. London: Bloomsbury.

Rowling, J.K. (2000) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London:

Bloomsbury.

Rowling, J.K. (2001) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them London:

Bloomsbury.

Rowling, J.K. (2003) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. London: Bloomsbury.

Rowling, J.K. (2005) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. London:

Bloomsbury.

Rowling, J.K. (2007) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. London:

Bloomsbury.

Secondary Sources:

About J.K. Rowling. (2012). Retrieved from J.K. Rowling: http:// www.jkrowling.com/en_GB/#/about-jk-rowling

Beagley, D. (2014). Harry Potter and High Fantasy. Bendigo: La Trobe University.

Colbert, D. (2001). The Magical World of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts. Kent Town: Wakefield Press.

Green, A. (2009). Revealing Discrimination: Social Hierarchy and the Exlusion/Enslavement of the Other in the Harry Potter Novels. The Looking Glass: New Perspectives on Children’s Literature, 13(3).

Matthews, R. (2002). From Antiquity to Infinity: The Development of Modern Fanstasy. In R. Matthews, Fantasy: The Liberation of Imagination (pp. 1-36). New York: Routledge.

Tucker, N. (1999). The Rise and Rise of Harry Potter. Children's Literature in Education, 30(4).

Wolosky, S. (2010). The Riddles of Harry Potter. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Images:

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