Death and how to deal with it in the Harry Potter series
Alderete Diez, Pilar
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Alderete-Diez, Pilar. (2019). Death and how to deal with it in the Harry Potter series. In Rubén Jarazo-Álvarez & Pilar Alderete-Diez (Eds.), Cultural Politics in Harry Potter: Life, Death and the Politics of Fear. New York: Routledge.
It is obvious that death is one of the main issues in the Harry Potter world and the way it is underlined throughout the series opens up the ground for discussion of one of the most taboo topics in Western culture amongst children, although children’s stories have always embroidered death into their plots – even as a character in its own right – demonstrating the fascination that humans of all ages have with the unknown stage of non-living. This chapter was triggered, in particular, by the comments of a 13-year-old Spanish boy who reported that the last book helped him deal with the painful sudden death of his own mother, only weeks after publication. It was not the first time this adult–child dialogue about Harry Potter had informed research, and the result was this new adventure. The main aim of this chapter 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 often brutal, deaths. This chapter will also comment on the portrayal of grief and the strategies the characters use to cope with death. This analysis will search for connections to other well-known children’s books and will attempt to map a portion of Death’s territory in the imagination of contemporary children.
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