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THE WORLD OF HARRY POTTER. Who/What is: Harry Potter Dumbledore Muggles Quidditch Dementors A Pensieve.

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Presentation on theme: "THE WORLD OF HARRY POTTER. Who/What is: Harry Potter Dumbledore Muggles Quidditch Dementors A Pensieve."— Presentation transcript:


2 Who/What is: Harry Potter Dumbledore Muggles Quidditch Dementors A Pensieve

3 What is ’Harry Potter’? The books and The films and The fanware and The games and The websites and Etc, etc, etc… OR?

4 How to study Harry Potter 1. Analysing a novel, or series of novels 2. Analysing all forms of cultural text

5 Approaches 1.Analysing a novel, or series of novels Literary approaches (theory and methodology) such as formalist, reader-response, genre theory, feminist

6 Approaches 2. Analysing all forms of cultural text Cultural approaches, theories and methods (cultural theory, sociolology, feminism)

7 Harry Potter as a mosaic of genres Pulp fiction Series books Mystery – detective fiction Buildungsroman School stories –Sports stories Realism Fantasy Adventure tales Quest romance and myth

8 Harry Potter as a mosaic of genres Pulp fiction popular or sensational writing (poor quality)

9 Harry Potter as a mosaic of genres Series books titles: Harry Potter and… The same group of characters structure of plot repeated

10 Titles: Harry Potter and: The Sorcerer’s Stone: fantasy, magic, myth The Chambers of Secrets: mystery, thriller fiction, horror The Prisoner of Azkaban: crime thriller, gothic tale The Goblets of Fire: adventure, fantasy, mysticism The Order of the Phoenix: thriller fiction, mysticism The half-blood Prince: fantasy, myth Book 7: ????

11 Harry Potter as a mosaic of genres Mystery – detective fiction Main mystery: who is HP? Who is Voldemort? Why can V not kill H? Specific mysteries in each book: Prisoner: the identity of Sirius Black

12 Harry Potter as a mosaic of genres Buildungsroman Focus on physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual development of main character from childhood to adulthood Main character goes through various situations and crises, which lead to maturity and recognition of his identity and place in the world. Genre motifs such as: loss of father, conflict between past ideals and present struggle, the search for and discovery of love

13 Harry Potter as a mosaic of genres School stories –Sports stories Hogwarts and its houses “schooldays as they should be” (practical jokes, sports, studying). Dumbledore as headmaster (kind, charismatic, powerful, knowledgable, high moral McGonagall as role model teacher Snape as anti-role model –(Quidditch) – to teach values as loyalty, courage, leadership, etc

14 Harry Potter as a mosaic of genres Realism Takes place in the real world (England of today) Realist aspects: students go to class, do homework, and have the same experiences as at any British public school

15 Harry Potter as a mosaic of genres Fantasy Fantasy aspects: in the detail: owl post, live photographs, magical creatures What they learn at Hogwarts: magic and the history of magic, etc other fairy tale elements: dragons, unicorns, trolls, giants, and settings such as castles, huts, towers, woods

16 Harry Potter as a mosaic of genres Fantasy and realism Blending the familiar with the unexpected (for the reader comfort and excitement at the same time) The wizard world has –its own financial system –its own political system –its own transportation system –its own educational system –its own candy.

17 Harry Potter as a mosaic of genres Adventure tales involves a quest noble-natured hero forced to face dangers with faithful companions and helpers who know more than he does The plot climaxes in the final battle against the main opponent

18 Harry Potter as a mosaic of genres Quest romance and myth Three stages of quest romance: agon (conflict) pathos (death-struggle) anagnorisis (discovery) Myth: forces of good and evil, mythical elements

19 Topics for project work (emnestudier) – literary approaches Pick one or more genre(s) and examine what roles they play in one (or more) Harry Potter book(s) – for example for plot or character construction The Harry Potter books have been described as ”Kidlit” – what is that and is it important for how we, as ’literature scholars’ approach the books? Can we use the same literary methodologies we use for adult literature? Pick a theme that you think is interesting and analyse one or more book(s) in the light of that (how is gender thematized, how are female characters constructed, how should we read Hermione’s character? What is her role for the plot? etc) Compare Harry Potter (books or films) to other examples of fantasy (books or films) – for exampe The Chronicles of Narnia and analyse how they ’use’ the fantasy genre

20 Book 7 What do you think will happen in Book 7? People guess! http://www.mugglen books/book7/index. shtmlhttp://www.mugglen books/book7/index. shtml On the basis of what do you/they guess?

21 Cultural approaches HP as a consumer craze or fashion Sales figures The books: –Third on the all-time bestsellers list: –The Bible (2.5 billion copies sold) –The Thoughts of Chairman Mao (800 million) –HP (300 million) (2005) The Films: –The three first films: 1.6 billion USD, DVD, video and broadcasting rights: 750 million USD (2004) Merchandise:? The HP brand: –estimated value 4 billion USD

22 Cultural effects The appearance of innumerable similar children’s books (including two by Rowlings herself (using pseudonym)) Children’s books have changed from short, realist tales (until the mid 1990s) increase in applications to boarding schools National Health style glasses back in fashion Owls are increasingly popular as household pets New words are now part of the vernacular (quidditch, muggles, Gryffindor, Hogwarts) HP as Britain’s biggest cultural export since the Beatles and James Bond.

23 Cultural consumption of HP Reading the books Watching the films Buying the merchandise (official HP shop) Staging the stories unofficially as school plays Music played by amateur orchestras HP theme parties Fan mail (two anthologies are published: We Love Harry Potter!(Moore, 2001) and Kids’ Letters to Harry Potter (Adler 2001) Official websites Tribute websites (,, www.hp- Fanfiction: 263.941 additions to the HP corpus! ( lists 35.157 stories and 115.778

24 Consumer research 60% of American teenagers like HP 25% of adults (2003) 50% of all UK households own at least one HP novel (2002)

25 Consumer research An analysis of message-board postings on the web showed: 2/3 of Potter posters are under the age of 18 (most between 12-16) Of those between 12 and 16, 2/3 are female, though male participation is much greater in film-related message boards.

26 What will end the HP as a consumer craze /What challenges the HP brand? When it becomes too familiar? When everybody has it? When there is too much ‘here-we-go- again’ marketing?

27 Topics for project work (emnestudier) – cultural approaches What is about the HP books that has made them so popular? What is it about our culture that embraces the HP books and have turned HP into such a phenomenon? Look at the reception of HP – why has HP been banned (for examples by groups in the US)? Examine the concept of ‘fanfiction’ and look at some HP stories – for example focusing on how and what genres they rely on and emphasize Examine some of the tribute websites Examine the target audience of the books/films – do they grow up with Harry?

28 Topics for project work (emnestudier) –other approaches Examine the develment in children’s books since 1995 – can the development been seen as a consequence of HP, or is HP itself part of a general change with children’s books? Discuss the translations of HP into another language in the light of translation theory.

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