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Postmodern Literature | The Harry Potter Series

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1326 words Published: 17th May 2017

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The Study of Postmodern literature has always been very interesting because of its contemporary relevance to us. Literature of postmodernism emphasizes the subjectivity of a work of art than the objectivity of it. It also attempts to deconstruct the so called modern and it promotes obscurantism. This new form of literature describes the antithetical to the conventional systems of so called morality. Literature of postmodernism rejects the modernist system of beliefs such as historical, rational and scientific notion in favor of ironic, self-conscious and experimental work of art. We do find the postmodern writers do not present the ideal world instead they project the real world and the problems in different ways. Hence this paper presentation focuses on the Harry Potter series written by J K Rowling with a special reference to the post modernist features in them. J K Rowling gives prominence to techniques such as magical realism, archetypal characters and metafiction. This paper would venture into exploration of the glossy cover of popular fiction attributed to the Harry Potter series so as to understand and analyze the aspects of postmodern literature in it.

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J K Rowling’s Harry Potter Series

J K Rowling is a British writer born in the year 1965. She currently resides in Scotland with her husband and three children. She became most popular for the Harry Potter Series. After writing for more than five years, she got her place in the literary world. In the words of J K Rowling, “I am an extraordinarily lucky person, doing what I love best in the world. I’m sure that I will always be a writer. It was wonderful enough just to be published. The greatest reward is the enthusiasm of the readers.”

Harry potter series has drawn the attention of audiences of all ages around the world. She bagged the Hugo Award, the Whitbread Award for Best Children’s Book, the Bram Stocker Award as well as many other honours. She has been also names as the most influential woman in Britain by leading magazine editors. In the recent times, she extends to the works of charity such as one parent families, comic relief and Lumos. She is considered one of the best accomplished story tellers, who have the real sense of teenage psyche in her works. It is widely accepted that J K Rowling being a contemporary novelists in the post colonial era has contributed more to the literary arena. She is unique in her writing style with regard to the following aspects such as crafting her own characters, creatures, spells using Latin words and employing present-day events. J K Rowling speaks that, in some ways, she just writes what she sees in her mind. “I have a very visual imagination. I see a situation and then I try to describe it as vividly as I can. And I do love writing dialog. Dialog comes to me as though I’m just overhearing a conversation.” It is widely accepted that J K Rowling being a contemporary novelists in the post colonial era has contributed more to the literary arena.

Postmodern aspects in Harry Potter series:

Harry Potter series is considered to be one of the most read and enjoyed work in the contemporary world. We do come across some of the prominent post modernistic aspects in them to a great extend. They are such as magical realism, metafiction, archetypal characterizes and so on.

Magical Realism

“Magic becomes art when it has nothing to hide.” – Ben Okri

Magical realism is primarily a literary style or genre of fiction, in which magical elements

are into a realistic atmosphere in order to access a deeper understanding of reality. A good number of magical elements are present in the series such as magical creatures at Hogwarts. J K Rowling used these creatures from the folklore, Greek mythology and other works of the past. We do encounter many ordinary animals with magical qualities. For example Owls deliver mails in the story. The other prominent magical factors employed in the series are as follows: magi-zoology, Hogwarts School, the rules and regulations of the ministry of magic and so on. The author purposely deploys these magical aspects to craft a realistic environment and it helps us to comprehend the story well. We find the unification of the muggle and magical worlds, namely the real and the magical worlds.

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Metafiction attempts to make the readers belief the artificiality of the work of art and it also generally ignores the obligation for “willful suspension of disbelief”. J K Rowling makes us belief the magical world to a great extent by incorporating the essence of magical realism. She supersedes the traditional notions of storytelling by including fantastical and supernatural elements in the novel adding to the excitement and thrill of the readers and audience. In other words the technique of fabulation is presented in the series with an effect of reality where one feels part of this make believe world and finds oneself involved to a great extent.


Harry Potter series proves to be possessing elements of fantasy in them significantly. The super natural creatures such as dragons, elves, vampires, werewolves, dragons and talking animals are present in the novels. Most of the characters do perform magic and the protagonist Harry Potter and his friends own innate strong magical powers. We do have an extraordinary and powerful villain in the form of Lord Voldemort, who is exposed completely at the end of the story. There is also a great battle as in an epic, which shows the hero Harry Potter is nearly at the end of his life, yet he becomes victorious. The weapons Harry Potter uses such as Eragon, wand, sword are unique and powerful compared to what others have. The whole series mostly happen in the fictional place of Hogwarts School makes the series to be more fascinating to the readers. Finally the language used is very much fabricated one and it makes the readers to transform themselves in the magical world. Hence the Harry Potter series do possess the elements of a fantasy novel.

Archetypal Elements:

The archetypal elements are very much prevalent in the story. In other words, one come across recurring themes, symbolic situations, rituals, moral characters, colours, and images in the series. The protagonist, Harry Potter becomes the questing hero and he does encounter a number of challenges throughout the story. He becomes the totem for integrity, suffering, hard work, virtue and patience to the other characters in the novel as well as the readers. Harry Potter’s magical world posses other archetypal figures namely Hermoine and Ron who become Harry’s partners, Troll and Filch turn out to be threshold guardians. The mythical trails and quests begin with the aim to conquer the villain Voldemort taking Harry and his friends through many difficult and challenging situations. All these events prove to consisting archetypal elements in them.


Harry Potter series becomes a part of the postmodern literature based on the themes and techniques discussed earlier. This series has got the ability to appeal to readers of all nationalities and ages. The story comprises of dynamic and complex elements of boarding school stories, fairy tales, detective novels, adventure stories, fantasy novels and quest tales. The movie adaptation of her work cannot be discounted for its literary value while providing one with entertainment. Throughout the series, readers constantly encounter different themes such as death, heroic quest, prejudice, oppression, normality, survival, self discovery, love, power, abuse of power and free decision making. Besides, J K Rowling engages the interest of the younger generation along with that of the adults with her imaginative and creative richness.


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