Title

THERE IS NO GOOD AND EVIL: THE DYNAMICS OF POWER IN HARRY POTTER

Presenter Information

Madeline McKiddy

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Critics such as Harold Bloom, John Pennington, Abanes and Arms have criticized the Harry Potter books for being immoral, infantile, destroying the genre of ‘high fantasy’ and being over simplistic. I argue these points with the help of scholars Gupta, Lurie and Falconer in hopes of proving that the Harry Potter is much more than a simplistic, infantile ‘low-fantasy’; rather, Rowling creates an extremely complex world with a mix of classic mythology and her own inventions which invokes very adult power dynamics. Throughout the seven Harry Potter novels, the Good and Evil binary so firmly established in the first novel gives way to a much more complex, multi-facet world of power relations. The dynamic then becomes about the balance of power, rather than the difference between good and evil. This shift between the early books’ “Good vs. Evil” giving way to the conflict between the balance of power is one of the many things which sets the Harry Potter novels apart from other Children and YA novels, as these genres generally simplify conflicts in order to prevent children from becoming confused or distressed. This play of the balance of power, both within and outside of the human soul, is what I will discuss—the allure of power, as well as the power of fear, the power of deception and the distrust it fosters and the power of love—and from these power dynamics I will discuss the true “magic” of Harry Potter.

Category

Humanities

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Apr 15th, 10:00 AM Apr 15th, 10:20 AM

THERE IS NO GOOD AND EVIL: THE DYNAMICS OF POWER IN HARRY POTTER

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Critics such as Harold Bloom, John Pennington, Abanes and Arms have criticized the Harry Potter books for being immoral, infantile, destroying the genre of ‘high fantasy’ and being over simplistic. I argue these points with the help of scholars Gupta, Lurie and Falconer in hopes of proving that the Harry Potter is much more than a simplistic, infantile ‘low-fantasy’; rather, Rowling creates an extremely complex world with a mix of classic mythology and her own inventions which invokes very adult power dynamics. Throughout the seven Harry Potter novels, the Good and Evil binary so firmly established in the first novel gives way to a much more complex, multi-facet world of power relations. The dynamic then becomes about the balance of power, rather than the difference between good and evil. This shift between the early books’ “Good vs. Evil” giving way to the conflict between the balance of power is one of the many things which sets the Harry Potter novels apart from other Children and YA novels, as these genres generally simplify conflicts in order to prevent children from becoming confused or distressed. This play of the balance of power, both within and outside of the human soul, is what I will discuss—the allure of power, as well as the power of fear, the power of deception and the distrust it fosters and the power of love—and from these power dynamics I will discuss the true “magic” of Harry Potter.