SummaryThis thesis looks at J.K. Rowling’s seven-volume Harry Potter series (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince, and The Deathly Hallows) as a morality tale. It examines the moral implications of Rowling’s representation of diversity, friendship, bravery, love and truth through close textual analysis.
The analysis acknowledges that the narratives both examine and rally against slavery, neo-Nazism and racism. It argues that bravery and friendship are guiding moral qualities in the stories. It demonstrates that love in the Potter universe is both a predestined and chosen quality, that truth exists and that its ultimate expression is death. Furthermore, the thesis explores the religious overtones in the books and how the narratives both confirm and refute a belief in an afterlife.
Although the discussion relies heavily on close reading, the thesis also draws on the conventions of children’s literature and fantasy literature. The fantastical quest and the orphaned child are central motifs informing the reading. Likewise J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia serve as points of reference. The thesis concludes that the moral inconsistencies and tensions affirm Harry Potter’s moral universe as generally inoffensive and politically correct. Furthermore, it establishes that the books advocate the idea of absolute wrong grounded in a European understanding of history and of Holocaust. Finally, the thesis concludes that the series has a loud didactic voice and a steadfast moral purpose.