SAMPLE_ESSAY - Although over the past decade J.K Rowlings...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Although, over the past decade, J.K. Rowling’s popular “Harry Potter” series has earned its place in the literary world by means of instigating a global cultural phenomenon, it has brought with it a dimension of religious controversy that, despite having subsided some since the series reached its end in 2007, remains a prominent and unresolved issue. Because, on the surface, Rowling’s books are a series of children’s stories about witchcraft, a number of religious groups—most prominently, various Christian and Muslim factions—consider “Harry Potter” a threat to their cultural values and, because of its immense popularity, a force capable of undermining the beliefs that they wish their communities to hold. This widespread concern has led to a search for religious subtexts within Rowling’s books, a process by which distressed religious groups hope either to confirm or assuage their suspicions that “Harry Potter” is a detrimental cultural force. However, as many scholars have noted, in the fictional universe of “Harry Potter,” “there are no gods or godlike beings—good or evil—at all” (DeVos 70); “Harry and his friends don’t practice witchcraft as a religion any more than they practice Christianity as a religion” (Krause 59). Consequently, the search for hard evidence of Rowling’s religious allegiances is perpetually inconclusive, often resulting in wishful and overtly biased interpretations by those determined to find what they seek. Yet, despite their lack of specific religious references, Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books have their thematic origins in many religious traditions. Although the fictional universe of “Harry Potter” involves themes central to the Abrahamic religions, it is the traditions of Pagan religion whose influences are most evident within Rowling’s work; both the author’s representations of Pagan philosophies and her frequent invocation of ancient world mythology place “Harry Potter” deep within the context of Pagan belief. 1
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Throughout the “Harry Potter” series, magic plays a central role. Not only is magic used frequently throughout all seven of Rowling’s volumes, but it is the element that defines the wizarding world from the Muggle world and, therefore, is the force upon which the fictional universe of “Harry Potter” is founded. While ideas of magic are present in the traditions of nearly all religions, the manner in which magic exists and functions within the world of “Harry Potter” seems based, most heavily, upon Pagan ideas of the nature of magic—specifically, on those central to the religious tradition of Wicca. In the Wiccan philosophy, magic is often referred to, not as some fantastical supernatural force, but as energy, a force with which even those unaffiliated with Pagan practice are familiar; in the Wiccan sense, magic is “a ‘personal ecology of energy’” (Trevarthen 121)—to use the words of ceremonial magician Alan Moore— or “the power of positive thinking” (Trevarthen 121). Magic is not merely a system of
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 10/27/2011 for the course ECON 125 taught by Professor Diannelabert during the Spring '11 term at Hamilton College.

Page1 / 12

SAMPLE_ESSAY - Although over the past decade J.K Rowlings...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online