Since hitting bookshelves in 1997, the Harry Potter series has taken the popular culture world by storm in an unprecedented way, breaking sales records for both books and films, and dramatically increasing readership among young readers. Despite its immense and unique success, this series, like many other examples of pop culture, doesn’t often receive the credit it deserves with respect to its literary merits. However, it is undeniable that the Potter books reflect many of the traits found in all great works of literature, including complex character development and abundant literary devices that elevate the intellectual level of the series.
Based on in-depth character studies of Severus Snape and Albus Dumbledore and an examination of several literary devices found within the Potter series, one can easily see how Rowling’s books are exemplary works of texts that are both popular and literary. Comparing the Potter books to classic literary works shows that, despite the books' primarily young audience, they contain literary elements seen in the world's greatest examples of literature and can therefore be seen as exemplary of literary merit.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Dr. Molly McCaffrey
English Language and Literature
Sherrill, Brenna, "The Wizarding Words of J. K. Rowling: Literary Merit in the Harry Potter Series" (2014). Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 482.