The Past is Present and Future: Recurring Violence and Remaining Human in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series

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Author: Alaa Alghamdi, Taibah University, Saudi Arabia
Email: alaaghamdi@yahoo.com
Published: June 1, 2018
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.5.1.04

Citation: Alghamdi, A. (2018). The Past is Present and Future: Recurring Violence and Remaining Human in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.5.1.04


Abstract

J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series of seven novels span the historical period immediately before and after 9/11. Although the series does not deal directly with the events of 9/11, the Harry Potter storyline provides a powerful psychological representation of both the accelerating threat of violence and the intergenerational trauma. These themes are expressed and explored both through a variety of symbols and themes within the novels as well as through metanarrative elements. Ultimately hopeful rather than nihilistic, Rowling’s series explores the challenge, importance and promise of remaining human in the face of overwhelming challenge and loss, as well as the results of the fragmentation and loss of self that occur when ethical human virtues are abandoned. Through the creation of a magical world that both echoes and embellishes reality, Rowling shows her keen awareness of events and her orientation toward tolerance, equality and humanity.

Keywords

Harry Potter, Voldemort, Rowling, terrorism, 9/11, post-9/11 literature, trauma, fragmentation