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Death and Harry Potter

By Edited Apr 9, 2016 0 1

The Harry Potter series of films and books may be classified as children's entertainment but some contain adult themes. No, they do not have bad language, sex and the like but the plot sometimes touches on what I would deem as more adult content. Sure plenty of adults, myself included, love these books and films but ultimately they were written and made for children.

Cedric Diggory loses his life
Harry as an orphaned babe in arms
Voldemore lives a half life
Harry and Dumbledore fight the Inferi or Zombies

Death in Harry Potter

As the magical tale of Harry Potter unfolds, we glimpse death on more than one occasion. From the outset of the saga, death is always close at hand, albeit lurking in the shadows. The first Harry Potter book begins with two deaths that are central to the Harry Potter tale.

As a mere child in arms, Harry escapes death at the hands of Lord Voldemort. He is saved by his mother's love. Harry's parents are not so lucky, however, and they are both slain.

And so the tale begins.

Each book of the series holds some person's or some creature's death. The caretaker in the old Riddle house, Sirius Black, Dumbledore and more. With characters such as Neville Longbottom's parents left in a spell induced, catatonic state, from which they will never return, we see that death comes in many forms. After all, theirs is a kind of living death which sees them incarcerated forever at St Mungo's Hospital for magical maladies.

When Dumbledore's death arrives, unbeknown to Harry, his school friends and his teachers, it has been planned by the victim. Suffering an injury, which he knows will ultimately cause his demise, Dumbledore chooses to lay down his life, in order to achieve some purpose. He sacrifices himself at a time when the best use can be made of his death.

Dunbledore about to die
With the flick of a wand and an unspeakable curse he is gone.

In the fantastic world of Harry Potter, though, death leaves behind more than in our world. We usually have photographs of our deceased loved ones and sometimes, if we are lucky, we have home movies. However, in the magical world, portrayed in these books, the characters have photographs that actually have life. Well a life of sorts.

In the later books the deaths become more nasty, as the terror resurfaces into the world being portrayed. An old lady, for example, whose dead body is inhabited by the huge snake, Nagini, which explodes out of her body in a moment of horror.

With an ongoing theme of Good winning out over Evil casualties were always on the cards. Each book sees a battle of sorts with the fallen on all sides but, overall, good being triumphant.

Then as the final battle rages Harry resigns himself to what he thinks will be his fate. Death at the hands of Lord Voldemort and his cronies, the Death Eaters. Harry vows to sacrifice himself, to win the final battle.

The ultimate evil practiced by Lord Voldemort is the splitting of his immortal soul into separate parts, in order to live forever and become invincible. What form this life will take though, is another matter altogether.

To split his soul Voldemort has to commit murder. One murder for each of the Horcruxes, or parts of his soul, that he wants to save. Seven people are killed to provide for his needs. These deaths are possibly the most important to the Harry Potter tale.

With a person's soul split, especially by such means, that person becomes little more than a living evil or a half life. This creation is not easily killed but yet he or she has no proper life. In many ways they have a living death.

For me, it shows that life at any price is not always acceptable. Perhaps it never is.

Dumbledore's and Harry's quest to find the missing Horcruxes is fraught with danger. One search leads to a challenge from the Inferi or Zombies.

Death, in its many forms plays a central role in the Harry Potter tale, but then it does in life.

Remember "In the midst of life we are in death". In this respect, the magical world of Harry Potter is just like our own world. As the author, J K Rowling, portrays death appropriately it should se something that the audience, even a younger audience, can cope with.



Mar 23, 2015 7:38pm
That is an interesting perspective on the story. I think overcoming the fear of death is also a major theme.
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