Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Harry Potter and the Narrative

The Harry Potter series, written by JK Rowling, is an excellent narrative that is an important part of our lives. Since there are 7 books to pick from, I’ll mostly discuss the first book (mainly the movie for visual purposes), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

The movie begins when Harry Potter is eleven years old, living in the cupboard under the stairs. He is an orphan, whose parents were killed by Lord Voldemort; Harry magically managed to survive with only a lightning-bolt scar as young baby—the root of the 4,175-page-long narrative—and is forced to live with his ungrateful muggle aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley.We already sympathize with Harry because his aunt and uncle favor their spoiled son Dudley, not Harry. In fact, nearly every book/movie begins with Harry with his aunt and uncle, suffering through a frustrating summer of being punished for no reason. As a young boy who is modest and quiet, we realize he doesn’t deserve being treated so poorly or being mistrusted.

Soon enough, we learn along with Harry that he is a wizard, as Rubeus Hagrid (the gamekeeper of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry) enters to take him to their wizardry world.

Harry Potter's motives are to seek revenge on his parents's killer, Voldemort. His fervor determination is the "cause of events that unfold around [him]" because in turn, Voldemort wants to kill Harry since he didn't the first time. And when Harry enters school, he meets Professor Severus Snape, who immediately dismisses Harry’s celebrity with an obvious dislike, and we begin to question his motives. Later we find Professor Snape at the scene of every mystery, such as having a scratch on his leg when a Troll was out or silently chanting while staring intently at Harry during his Quidditch match. With Snape at the center of all the conflicts, we take Hermione’s side, believing her belief that Snape is trying to kill Harry Potter. With motives we don’t understand until the end of the book, Professor Snape turns out to be actually protecting Harry from Professor Quirrell/Lord Voldemort.

Though Snape's opposition with Harry is in every book, the very last one reveals the ultimate reason behind his actions. The third person perspective keeps the mystery alive for the entire series with an enigma code, as we are “alongside [Harry] in trying to solve the crime or mystery” of the Horcruxes, Tom Marvolo Riddle's story, and Snape’s true allegiance. Finally, in the span of the seven books, the equilibrium of Harry’s happiness with his father and mother is disrupted by the years of disequilibrium fighting Voldemort and living with the Dursleys, but equilibrium restores when he defeats the Dark Lord and gets married happily ever after. (I hope that's not a surprise!)


  1. My biggest problem with the whole Harry Potter series as a whole is that last chapter, the one where JK Rowling restores the equilibrium perhaps WAY too much. That last chapter read like a fan fiction story to me.

  2. I'm a huge harry potter fan and I think Rowling does an excellent job of including all of the stylistic elements into her writing!

  3. yes yes yes!!!!!
    this is brilliant. harry Potter is definitely an excellent example of the different parts of the narrative!
    But I sort of agree with Kim.... the last last last chapter was a bit too stretched.