Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Alderete Diez, Maria Pilar
A Brand of Fictional Magic. Reading Harry Potter as Literature
A two day international conference
University of St. Andrews
Chaired Session
Optional Fields
In spite of the lengthy discussions by Harry Potter fans about the possible death of certain characters in the Deathly Hallows while J.K. Rowling was in the process of writing it; there has not been much analysis about this topic. It is obvious that death is one of the main issues in the books and the way it is underlined throughout the series opens up the ground for the discussion on one of the most taboo themes in Western culture amongst children, although children stories have always embroidered death into their plots – even as a character-showing the fascination that humans of all ages have with the unknown stage of non-living. This presentation was triggered by the comment from a thirteen year old boy in my family who reported that the last book helped him deal with the painful sudden death of his own mother only weeks after the publication of the book. It was not the first time our dialogue about Harry Potter would direct my research and since his previous comment had led down the route of translation and humour with successful results I decided to embark in this new adventure and see where it would take me for this conference. My task for this presentation will be to examine death in the books, its imagery, its language and the types of death to which children are exposed and the different options and role models offered for coping with the numerous and many times brutal deaths. I will be searching for connections to other well-known children books and attempting to map a portion of Death’s territory in the imagination of contemporary children.
Triennial Travel Fund, NUI Galway
Publication Themes