Back to Back Issues Page
Harry Potter and YA literature
March 30, 2014
Hi,

I hope you are enjoying the onset of the warm season without the associated sniffles of the changing weather. This month’s edition of the Book Lovers Club News will close the discussion on Young Adult Literature with some notes on Harry Potter as a significant chunk of the young adult’s library. We will also ponder on why Harry Potter is considered to be a part of Young Adult Literature, and not simply child or adult fiction.

And then over the next few editions, we will relish a review of Indian writing in English.

Harry Potter as a Young Adult

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows-J K Rowling So Harry was only eleven years old when Rowling published her first novel in the series. Little Harry’s magical world beckoned young muggle children to read volumes of small print of over 600 pages! And surprisingly, adults in their late twenties were, if tentatively, flipping through the same pages and memorizing the new rules of Harry’s magical world. Over the next few books, Harry Potter had won over a diverse fan following in the age group of 10 to 60. So why should the Harry Potter series, be considered a part of young adult literature?

Parents of young children would be concerned about the increasingly dark tone of Harry Potter’s later books. The predominance of the ‘death’ theme and the use of violence in the novels do not make it a fitting read for small children. I would think, adult fans of Harry Potter are addicted mostly to the epic scale of Rowling’s imagination. The Harry Potter series has not gained popularity merely on grounds of the strength of the story; it has also successfully created a parallel universe of magic. Adults love to escape into this magical world whose minutest detail Rowling has lovingly painted-
  • How to get there from Paltform 9 ¾
  • What sport to play and how: Quidditch
  • Use, effect and limit of magic: Magic does not resurrect anyone from the dead
  • Subjects taught at Hogwarts down to the detailing of the Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration,
and many more such brilliantly conceived minutiae like these.

The character of Harry Potter, in fact, resonates best with the young adult who has to undergo the pains of growing up, just like Harry. Much like a young adult, Harry (an orphan) must make his own decisions and learn from them, if painfully. Throughout the series, Harry is trying to transition from the muggle world to the magical world just as a young adult is transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Harry is very close to his friends Hermione and Ron, is influenced by their thinking and often wants to please them, again very much like a young adult.

Book Review Circle gossip

The Harry Potter books have been criticized by some to lack moral growth and an ethical dilemma. Jenny Sawyer, in Christian Science Monitor, writes that Harry Potter does not undergo any moral struggle throughout the series and therefore cannot serve as a guide to young adults in real life circumstances where ethical dilemmas can be anything but black or white.

Book Review Circle suggested read:

The Tales of Beedle the Bard- This is a supplementary work to the Harry Potter series and is mentioned in the final novel. It was written by Rowling to raise money for a charity.

Test your Literary Quotient

See if you know answers to the following:
  1. One supplementary work to the Harry Potter series is mentioned in the newsletter. Name another such work by Rowling
  2. Name the famous café in which Philosopher’s Stone was written
  3. How many children does Harry Potter have and what are their names?

Answers

  1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  2. The Elephant House in Edinburgh
  3. Harry Potter has 3 children. Their names are James Sirius Potter, Albus Severus Potter, Lily Luna Potter
Do write in to me at feedback@book-review-circle.com with your comments, updates and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ok. I will leave you to munch on that.

Happy reading till we meet again.

Ashmita

Back to Back Issues Page