"Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone" Why is this novel so successful?

Presentation / Essay (Pre-University), 2001

17 Pages


“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” Why is this Novel so successful?

1. Introduction

Teachers, parents and experts are wondering, how a boy with magical tendencies can fascinate a whole generation?

This phenomenon is called “Harry Potter” and causes a kind of cultural revolution. In times of technical progress, computer games and watching television it is amazing what career Harry Potter has done in recent years. The first book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone” was published in 1997.The second volume was “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”, than followed “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban” and the most current book is “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, but this Term paper is focused on the first book.

The adventures of Harry Potter are loved by millions of children and grown-ups. The topic of my Term paper is to find out why this novel is so successful. The following pages I describe the different aspects of the success. By the way I want to say that the search for secondary literature was a little difficult because the film and merchandising rights were owned by the TIME WARNER company who took out a patent for the word 20 “Harry Potter”. Now it is forbidden to publish secondary literature of the book series.1 Many information from the Internet are also very superficial and useless. In addition the Harry Potter books are brand new literature. That is also a reason why you cannot find much material. So I had the chance to analize many aspects of the success by myself, for example the meaning of the characters or the psychological aspects. 25 Maybe this the first Term paper about “Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone” and its success.

2. Summary

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone” US-title: ”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer`s Stone”

After the mysterious death of his parents Harry Potter lives with his hard-hearted relatives the Dursleys. The orphan lives in a cupboard under the stairs and wears the old clothes of his spoilt cousin Dudley.

Harry`s miserable life changes completely when he gets an invitation from Hogwarts, the famous school for witchcraft and wizardry, shortly before his 11th birthday. Harry finally learns the truth about his past which the Dursleys tried to hide from him for so long. Harry`s parents were wizards and did not die in a car crash. They were murdered by the evil Lord Voldemort, commonly known as “You-know-who”. The infant Harry survives the attack and the only thing remained is a lightening-bolt-shaped scar on his forehead.

On September 1st Harry leaves the ‘Muggle world’(the real world)and enters the Hogwarts-Express at the mysterious platform nine and three-quarters, King`s Cross in London to become a wizard.

In the magic castle Hogwarts starts an exciting life for Harry. On his schedule are subjects like ‘Transfiguration’ and ‘Defence against the Dark Arts’. But there are many dangers in this surrealistic world, Together with his friends Hermione and Ron, Harry has to fight against the Dark Arts. They have many adventures with gnomes, nasty classmates and monsters. At the end of the story they even defeat the dark Lord Voldemort who wants to conquer the world.

3. Biography: Joanne K.Rowling

Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born on July 31st,1965 in Chipping Sodbury, a little town 20 near Bristol.2 Her parents, Peter and Anne Rowling, met at the King`s Cross station in London for the first time. The 19 year old Peter John Rowling was a trainee at Rolls Royce in a department for aircraft engines. Her mother Anne, who was also 19 was part French and part Scottish. She worked as a laboratory assistant. They married one year later and then moved to Yate (county Gloucestershire).3

Joanne and her sister Diana spent a carefree childhood in Winterbourne north of Bristol. They often played games where they pretended to be witches and wizards. Joanne was the one who thought charms and curses up.4

In 1974 the Rowlings moved to Tutshill near to Chepstow in Wales.5 There, Joanne went to the Primary School which was hated by her because the school 30 was very old-fashioned and strict. She liked much more the Wyedean Comprehensive School she visited two years later. In the Wyedean Comprehensive School Joanne found out her interests for the English language. She got very good grades in French, German and English.6 At the same time she made friends with Sean Harris who became her best friend. Later in an interview she told that the novel figure Ron Weasley resembles Sean. Rowling also said she was very shy and petty bourgeois. So she identifies a little with Hermione Granger, one of Harry Potters best friends.7 But later she even became the head girl of the school.8

After school Joanne went to the Exeter University in order to study French and Philology. During her academic years she spent one year in as a teaching assistant in Paris. After her studies she worked as an academic assistant for Amnesty International for two years.9

In 1990 she started writing her first book (“Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone”). At that time she lived in Manchester where she had a job . Then her mother dies from multiple sclerosis at the age of forty-five. The death of her mother Anne came so sudden so that she showed her sadness in her first Harry Potter book in chapter 12 “The Mirror of Erised” where she expresses her feelings about her mother.10 Later Joanne and her boyfriend, separated and she went to Portugal and took a job as an English teacher. There she met Jorge Arantes who later became her husband. They married in October 1992 but the marriage did not go well and they got divorced after a short time.11 After her divorce Joanne moved back to England and decided to stay in Edinburgh with her daughter Jessica from the first marriage. There she wanted to finish her first novel about Harry Potter. The consequence was that she had to live on the dole for that time.12

Finally in 1997 “Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone” was published.In 2000 the fourth Harry Potter book beats all records. Now Joanne K. Rowling is one of the richest women in Great Britain.13

4. World Wide Success

Phenomenon is called something which is conspicious and unusual. Fact is, that the world wide success of Harry Potter is gigantic. The unusual success of these children`s 30 book is showed in the sales figures which is achieved in a very short time.Over 50 millions of Harry Potter books has been sold world wide until now. They are translated into forty languages. Six millions of them were sold in Germany by the publishing house Carlsen.250.000 to 300.000 editions were sold per week in Germany.14

This enormous success was not expected. First a number of 500 copies of “Harry potter and the Philosopher`s Stone” were printed in Great Britain.15 The sudden change came when the New York publishing house Scholastic paid over 100.000 pounds for the license agreement. That was much money for an unknown author. But this investment was an enrichment for Scholastic because it increased the profit over 56 per cent.16

The first three Harry Potter books were sold for estimated 480 million US-dollar in three years. The fourth book named “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” had a first print of 5,3 million and advanced orders of nearly two million, making it the largest recorded first print run and the fastest-selling title in history.17

On the first day (8th july,2001) 400.000 of the books were sold in Great Britain,500.000 in the USA and 400.000 English editions in Germany. The date of publication in Germany was 14th october,2000 with a number of one million copies from which 530.000 were sold on the first weekend.18

These four volumes were ridding high in international bestseller lists of many magazines and newspapers. The author J.K. Rowling and her books also got many literary awards.

Here are some awards of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone”:

- ABBY Award, American Booksellers Association 1999

- Anne Spencer Lindbergh Price in Children`s Literature 1997/98

British book awards:

- Children`s Book of the Years 1997
- Carnegie Medal 1997
- FCBG Children`s Book Award 1997
- Nestle Smarties Book Price 1997
- Scottish Arts Council - Children`s Book Award 1999
- The Guardin Children`s Fiction Award 1997 19

Complete woks:

- Bookseller Author of the Year 1998
- Author of the Year Award 1999
- Author of the Year Award 2000 20

Many of these awards enjoy great reputations and bring much money, so J.K. Rowling and her works won much fame.

All these things like literary awards, sales figures and reports in magazines and television make Harry Potter books successful. High sales figures arouses interests of media. The media attract attention of members of juries. Literary awards causes interest of media again. It is a really magical circle.21

Klaus Fritz ,who has translated the Harry Potter series into the German language, told that nobody can explain this success.22

5. Important Characters

The following pages I give short characterisations of the most important characters of the story in order to represent the different profiles. I only describe the most important character traits, otherwise my term paper would be too large.

5.1 Harry Potter

Harry Potter is the main character in the novel “Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone ” . Up until he received his invitation to Hogwart`s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry`s life was had been miserable and not exciting. But Harry is an extraordinary child who is skilled to become a great magician.

Harry is an 11 year old boy with black hair, green eyes framed by a pair of glasses and he has a scar on his forehead which was the result of the horrible wizard Lord Voldemort who killed his parents.

Harry is very honest and loyal because he fights against injustice. From the fact that he does not defend against his cruel relatives you can see that he is not aggressive and 30 accepts his life. Harry is also very modest because he does not know another life than to be suppressed and humiliared. In the magic world of Hogwarts he behaves brave and clever and he personifies love, loyality and trust. In short, Harry is the hero of the story.

5.2 Ronald Weasley

Ron is Harry`s best friend. Ron is very tall with red hair and freckles. He is the sixth of seven children in his family .His brothers have been very successful at Hogwarts, so he feels stressed and thinks that he has to be good as his brothers. That makes him appearing poor because his family expects him to do as well as for example Percy who is a prefector or Fred and George who always have good marks. If he did something very good it would not be something special because it was maybe already done by one of his brothers.

Ron likes playing Quidditch, chess and eating sweets.

On the one hand he appears shy and a little clumsy because he has problems to fly on a broomstick but on the other hand Ron is a faithful friend and is always prepared for an adventure.

5.3 Hermione Granger

Hermione is a good friend of Harry and Ron. She is at the top of her class although she comes from a ‘Muggle’ family. From the fact that she has learned the school books by heart you can see that she is a hard-working and bookish girl. Hermione`s knowledge is very helpful to her friends because she always knows how to deal with unpleasant situations and she also knows many strategies to solve problems. In spite of her cleverness Hermione is sympathetic and is very moral demanding. Hermione: “ Books! And cleverness! There are more important things - friendship And bravery - oh Harry - be careful ! ” 23

5.4 Draco Malfoy

Draco Malfoy is a student at Hogwarts and his favourite activity is to get on Harry`s nerves because they hate each other. Draco is a cunning and jealous boy. He loves nothing more than to see Harry and his friends fail. He betrays Harry and makes jokes about Ron. From this behaviour you can see he is a nasty and malevolent boy who wants to get more attention.

5.5 Vernon,Petunia and Dudley Dursley

Harry lived with them for over ten years because they are his ‘Muggle’ relatives. They do not like Harry and treat him like dirt. Uncle Vernon and Petunia cannot accept Harry`s magical skills. Everything they want, is to be normal, so they conceal from Harry he is a wizard. Their spoilt son Dudley is always dissatisfied and self-centered although he gets everything he want from his parents. In short, Dudley is the opposite of Harry: greedy, stupid and heartless. Summing up, the Dursleys are a typical petty bourgeois family who wants to have prestige in society and mistake that with real values.

5.6 Rubeus Hagrid

Hagrid is the gamekeeper at Hogwarts. He is a half-giant with long black hair and warm, good-natured eyes. Although Hagrid looks he is trustworthy. Harry and his friends like him very much. Unfortunately Hagrid has a weakness for drinking alcohol. The consequence is that he is sometimes drunken and it is easy to use him to get important information. But usually Hagrid is a gentle person who likes large and ugly creatures like dragons, monsters or centaurs.

5.7 Severus Snape

Severus Snape is the Potions teacher at Hogwarts and head of the Slytherin house (one of the four houses at Hogwarts) . Many pupils fear him because he appears like a dark wizard and he behaves mean to the students. Harry is the one who gets picked very often by him. Later Harry finds out that Snape saved his life when Voldemort and Quirrel tried to kill him. In the past Snape had some problems with James Potter (Harry`s father),so he do not like Harry. In general Snape is conscientious and has a good character.

5.8 Professor Quirrell

Professor Quirrell is teacher of the subject “Defence Against the Dark Arts”. He seems to be nervous and frightened but he is allied with the dark Lord Voldemort. Quirrel is the helper of Voldemort and has cruel intentions in order to get more power. First, Harry feels sorry for him because he always stutters when speaking. At the end of the novel “Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone ” Harry discovers his real character.

5.9 Minerva McGonagall

Minerva McGonagall is the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts, head of the Gryffindor house and teacher of Transfiguration. She looks strict with glasses and her black hair is pulled back in a bun. She has the ability to transform herself into many creatures, especially animals. The reason why she prefers to change into a cat is that she has many character traits of a it. McGonagall is delicate and uses her sense to take action. Although she is strict, she tries to be fair.

5.10 Albus Dumbledore

Albus Dumbledore is the Headmaster at Hogwarts School. Physically he has long white hair, a white beard and wears always a long green or red wrap. Dumbledore is the most powerful wizard at Hogwarts because he is omniscient and he is able to do everything with magic. The character is presented as highly-educated, peaceful and very wise. Many people think he is a little mad because of his sometimes mysterious way of acting, this is the reason why he is often underestimated. But Dumbledore is feared by dark wizards, they know how great his power is. He represents the High Magic. His most striking feature is that he does not abuse his power but uses it for teaching wisdom and helping other wizards and witches to fight against the dark arts.

Dumbledore: “Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the right proper name for things. Fear of name increases fear of the things itself. ” 24 “ If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love.He didn`t realise that love is powerful as your mother`s for leaves its own mark. ” 25

5.11 Lord Voldemort

Lord Voldemort is also called the Dark Lord or “You-know-who”. He is a powerful magician of he Dark Magic. When Harry was at the age of one Voldemort killed his parents. The attempt to murder Harry failed because he posses more power, goodness and innocence than the Dark Lord, Voldemort is the personification of badness and malevolence of the Dark Arts. He can transform himself into different creatures and 35 tries to take over the world. Lord Voldemort is the central antagonist of Harry.

5.12 Epilog

The present character descriptions point out the different profiles. To my mind I chose really important persons of the novel “Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone ” which represent the great variety of the story. I think one reason of the success of ‘Harry Potter’ are the characters. Many children (and adults) identify people in their surroundings with the story characters. It does not matter which social rang they belong to or how the family background is. Everybody can draw parallels to their own life and mostly I think develop a personal connection to Harry Potter. The children`s as well as adult literature needs I new kind of hero. But not a hero like “Superman ” But an ordinary boy, clumsy with a poor past, who turns out to have magical powers. One, who is disobedient and curious, who is not brilliant at school, who has friends and enemies and who needs to eat and sleep. In short, we need a hero who is human.

But the novel also contains a large number of given stereotypes: the hard-working best pupil, the helpless wimp, the coward, the favourite teacher, the unjust teacher and the teacher who seems to be bad but turns out good.

Summing up, I can say that every child (or grown-up) can find his favourite character in this story.

6. Marketing of Harry Potter

When you take a look at the world wide success of “Harry Potter”, you should not forget the marketing strategies. The question is how to create a success? Many people say that there is no marketing. It is rumoured that the success of Harry Potter books is made by the children talking about these books on the playground. But the success is not only created by mouth propaganda.26

6.1 The Rowling-legend

An important fact of marketing is the “Rowling -legend”. It is a moving story about a poor young divorced mother who writes a children`s book at a coffee house table and suddenly becomes rich and famous over night. A great myth-making detail which publishers readily hang on in order to wake the public`s interest.27 The beginning of this legend was in 1997 when the literature agent Christopher Little sold the American rights of “Harry Potter” to the publishing house Scholastic (see “World Wide success”) who paid over 100.000 pounds.28 Perhaps Scholastic realized that the market is ready for something new and that it is time to start something radically different which appeal to various tastes in books.29 Another example of this kind of marketing is the myth about Astrid Lindgren,the author of “Pipi Longstocking ”. Once she broke a leg, was bed-ridden and started writing down a story she had told her daughter.30 Then she became world-famous.

6.2 The Harry Potter Movie

The second succession of the Harry Potter books is the filming. The movie “Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone ” will start in Germany in November 16th,2001.31

It will be filmed in Britain with Christopher Columbus as the director.32

The shooting started in October 2000 . Some actors are Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Richard Harris (Dumbledore), Robbi Coltrane (Hagrid) etc..33

6.3 Harry Potter as a Brand Name

Time Warner Inc.`s Warner Bros. has not only acquired the film rights of Harry Potter, even the merchandising rights which make the world wide marketing possible.34 Some parts of these rights were sold for a limited time. So the danish toy manufactures Lego are allowed to produce toys. The deal includes development of two films based on the first two books “Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone ” and “ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ” . 35

Time Warner also signed a deal with Hasbro to market Harry Potter trading cards, games, role playing games, candies and electronics.

Mattel, home of Barbie and Hot Wheels, signed a similar licensing deal to sell other Harry Potter items, such as figures and board games.36

Time Warner expects sales from over 100 million US-Dollar. The lawful foundation of this merchandising success is not only the owning of the licensing rights of Harry Potter. Time Warner has also many words from the Harry Potter books protected by law. For example: Hogwarts, Hedwig, Nimbus 2000, Quidditch, Hagrid, Gryffindor or Dumbledore. 37 Other firms are forbidden to use these words. Only Time Warner has the licence to use them for brand names. But the protection of these words is doubtful.38

7. Psychological and Sociological Conditions of the Success

If you think of the Harry Potter phenomenon, you will need to know that ‘childhood’ has changed in recent years. Today children live in a consumer society full of media and risk.39 It is well-known that children and teenager are afraid of the future because of high unemployment and that the world around them make high demands is another reason. In this connection the wish to have magical tendencies like Harry Potter and then to be prepared for challenges in the future has a special meaning. Children are also an important part of product planning in the global economy. It does not depend on which social rang they belong to, that does not alter the fact that all children have similar wishes of consumption.40

Children are according to what is “in” in their surroundings. If for example “Harry Potter ” (or Diddl - Mouse or Pokemon) is “in”, they will be fascinated of them. And if they were not interested in modern things they would often be isolated by other children.41 Most children are fixated on friends and other children because their family life is often chaotic and their everyday life is not structured. So children and teenager look for a social security and often find them in their clique. They need attention and the feeling of solidarity to be socially acceptable.

Children seem to be dedicated to violence. An example therefore is The Pokemon hysteria, a few month ago. The whole sense of this game is training little monsters to kill others. But this cruel kind of education is not good for the children´s mind. J. K. Rowling underlines in her books a lot of basic values like friendship, responsibility, honesty, loyality and trust.42 She also reminds the readers of traditional values. Harry defeated Lord Voldemort with love, he was able to overcome him because he and his friends put all their cleverness together and therefore were stronger. In our society there is mostly no chance to experience this kind of solidarity.

Children find this togetherness at the magic boarding school Hogwarts. Rowling makes that clear very sensitively. It is Harry Potter himself who finds out he is better off if he relies on his friends and it is natural for him to take care of his friends and protect the wizard world. He discovers that he has many hidden skills to master the evil.43 The author Stephen King who is also a Harry Potter fan told Harry Potter was comparatively like Cinderella because Harry appeared like a person who was waiting for an invitation of somebody. It started with the invitation to Hogwarts and finally Harry is successful and popular. Stephen King also said all children identified with Harry because he was in a world full of uncomprehending adults.44

The main thing children and also grown-ups are fascinated by is the relationship of the magic world on the one hand and the ‘Muggle’ world on the other. This provides readers the possibility to leave reality and disappear into a world of fantasy without getting out of touch with reality.45 The two worlds are connected with each other. For example the wizard shop in London (Diagon Alley) where one can buy magic school supplies or you have to enter the Hogwarts-Express at the mysterious gate nine and three-quarters at the King`s Cross Station in London are proofs of the connection between the two worlds. Harry is living a double life because during the summer holidays he has to live with his cruel relatives in the ‘Muggle’ world and the rest of the year he spends at Hogwarts.46

Living a double live is not appreciated in reality but this is what might fascinate readers all over the world. Reading Harry Potter provides the opportunity to get away from our hectic lives and our world which is dominated by technological process and science. Harry Potter books do not contain any technology at all. Even many grown-ups feel that the ‘High-Technology World’ expects to much of them and that is one reason why so many adults read Harry Potter books to slip into childhood again. Today the manhood is addicted to research work. Human beings investigate all great secrets of their existence. computer technology, Internet and gene research grows together. Economic and science merge, progresses are made with fuel cell technology. In short, a new culture in dealing with knowledge has developed, because knowledge today has changed.47 This history of science provides a key to understanding the role of magic in J.K. Rowling`s books because science succeeded and magic failed in our modern world. In Harry Potter`s world, scientists think of magic in precisely the same way they do in our world where magic is known as a false and incompetent discipline. In Rowling`s “secondary world” magic is created in order to do simply works and works as reliably in the hands of a trained wizard, as the technology that makes planes fly or refrigerators chill the air. Summing up I would say that magic in our world is destroyed by scientific and technological process.

8. Subjects and Motives

The central subject of Harry Potter books is the fight between good and evil. But when we have a closer look at the Harry Potter series we can find many different subjects and motives like school, friendship, magic, the mirror, the motive of the duel or the outsider.48 I want to explain some of these literary aspects at greater detail.

8.1 Good and Evil

The dealing with good and evil is an important characteristic of literature. This subject is traced back to the Bible where human beings feel threatened by evil powers.49 The fight between the good and evil is clearly represented in the Harry Potter novels. Harry who defends the High Magic and Lord Voldemort who represents the Dark Magic are central antagonists in the story. Harry appears as a real cha racter but the evil Lord Voldemort mostly cannot be seen. Either he is substituted by Professor Quirrel or he appears as a strange creature which has not any human traits. But in the novel “ Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone ” it is not always clear which person belongs to the evil group or to the good characters. The readers have to change their judgements about some characters like for example Severus Snape who first appears malicious and turns out good or Professor Quirrel who seems to be pitiful and shy but is a supporter of Lord Voldemort. Finally Harry defeats the Dark Lord because he uses the power of love which was given him by his mother.

8.2 The Duel

Another important motive of “ Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone ” is the duel.

The duel often comes up in different variations in traditional and modern literature.50

First Harry and Draco Malfoy want arrange a midnight duel but Draco does not come to their arrangement.51 Later Harry has a duel in a basement near to Hogwarts with Lord Voldemort because he wants to steal the Philosopher`s Stone which would make him immortal.52

8.3 Magic

Magic is the most important literary background in the novel. You can distinguish between two kinds of magic which are found in the story of Harry Potter. The White Magic is used to help people and to do good things.53 But on the other hand there is the dark, egoistic and power-hungry magic employed to harm living beings. At 10 least Dark Magic is used to realise own interests without showing consideration for others.54

Especially in children literature magic is significant because it gives children power they do not have in reality.55 Many scientists equate magic with religious practices. They say people try to influence their life in reality with methods like praying to god.56 For example in the library of Hogwarts it is not allowed to read books about Dark Magic, only older students who are studying advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts.57 Students of Hogwarts are taught to perform High Magic.

8.4 School

One of the central subjects of “Harry Potter” is school. The magic boarding school Hogwarts confirms typical characteristics of English boarding schools like nightly adventures, punishments, friendship and hostilities.58

The difference between Hogwarts and other ‘Muggle’ schools are the school subjects.

Everybody knows what a geography or maths lesson is like but at Hogwarts there are subjects like Transfiguration, Potions and Defence Against the Dark Arts.

9. Fascination of Fabulous Beasts

The last point I would like to mention is the fascination of fantastic beasts. Many of the fabulous beasts in Harry Potter stories have their models in classical mythology or in old legends and fairy tales.59

The most fascinating beast is the unicorn. It is a magical creature which looks like a horse with a horn on the forehead. Unicorns are accepted as noble and most beautiful magical creatures. They represent innocence and cleanliness ,the unicorns are also a symbol of energy.60 Their blood has much power. In “ Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone ” the blood of unicorns helps to save Lord Voldemort`s life. The counterpart of unicorns are centaurs. Centaurs are hybrids of human beings and horses. Harry meet them first in the Forbidden Forest. They are astrologers and believe in fate. In many legends centaurs are known as voluptuous, wild and violent.61 But in this fantastic story they are accepted as wise and fair. Furthermore there are dragons (Norbert the Norwegian Ridback) and monsters (Fluffy, the three-headed dog) which make the novel so fascinating.

10. Conclusion

I think J.K. Rowling Has created an interesting set of characters and she is able to write good adventurous stories. I can understand why children and adults enjoy her books. Harry is ,in many respects, an ordinary boy, but when the crisis comes, he displays bravery and loyality to his friends. Finally, Harry Potter is a hero. He is the underdog 25 that we want to root for. Born to famous wizard parents, raised an insecure, bullied child, he finally blooms when he arrives at Hogwarts. As he begins to learn all the things that wizards need to know, he even fights against evil magicians and wins. Harry is a winner in spite of many obstacles and children find themselves living in his adventures. In my opinion all children (and adults) identify with Harry and want to be 30 like him. Harry`s friends are great, too, because they laugh with him, cry with him and cheer with him when Harry defeats his enemies. The fact that Harry is attending a school for witches and wizards in a world hidden from the eyes of humans, or ‘Muggles’ as they are called, adds to the fun. Rowling is creating a separate world for her characters.

There is also a clear line between good and evil and the author attaches no religious overtones to anything in her story.

To my mind imaginative literature is important for children especially in times when reality is often cruel. Heroic characters teach children that there are some things more important than creature comforts and there are many values which are more important than life itself. Imagination seems to me a crucial component of faith. If we cannot visualize what is invisible to our eyes then we will have a harder time sustaining our belief, especially in times of technological progress. Television, movies and computer games kill the imagination. Today media is often dominated by violence which make children and grown-ups aggressive and dissatisfied. From the fact that Harry Potter books do not contain violence is in my opinion one of the keys to the Harry Potter success story.

I would say that “ Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone ” is very moral because laws of moral obligation are taught very sensitively, for example solidarity. In addition we know from this fantastic novel the good will always be victorious over the evil. As a result children are motivated with positive thoughts.

Summing up I think we should take Harry Potter as an example. Children reading Harry Potter series will perhaps be dominating or powerful persons in the future and if they learn from Harry`s behaviour they will maybe help to create a better world without violence and negative thoughts but with love, honesty and trust. To conclude I want to say that it is a good decision to follow Harry`s example.

“ It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities ” 62 Albus Dumbledore

11. Bibliograhpy

Knobloch, Jörg :Die Zauberwelt der J.K. Rowling; Hintergründe & Facts zu “Harry Potter“. Verlag an der Ruhr, Dezember 2000

Rowling, Joanne K.: ”Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone”. Bloomsbury, Great Britain,1997

Rowling, Joanne K.: ”Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”. Bloomsbury, Great Britain,1998

Schneidewind, Friedhelm: Das ABC rund um Harry Potter.3.Auflage,November 2000

Stoldt, Hans Ulrich: Uni Spiegel, Phantastische Geheimnisse. Heft 1,Februar 2001,p.37







www.spiegel-online.de/0,1588,8160,00.html www.spiegel.de/0.1588,81860,00.html


1 See Stoldt, Hans Ulrich: Uni Spiegel, Phantastische Geheimnisse. Heft 1,Februar 2001,p.37.

2 See Knobloch, Jörg: Die Zauberwelt der J.K. Rowling. Hintergründe & Facts zu “Harry Potter“. Verlag an der Ruhr, Dezember 2000,p.15.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid,p.16.

5 Ibid,p.17.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid,p.19.

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid,p.21f..

10 Ibid,p.23.

11 Ibid,p.24.

12 Ibid,p.26f..

13 Ibid,p.32f..

14 Ibid,p.48f..

15 Ibid,p.49.

16 Ibid.

17 See www.hindustan-times.com/notram/180800/detOP102.htm.

18 See Knobloch,J.:Zauberwelt,p.50.

19 Ibid.

20 Ibid,p.53.

21 Ibid,p.48.

22 Ibid,p.49.

23 Rowling, Joanne K.: ”Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone”.Bloomsbury, Great Britain 1997,p.309.

24 Ibid,p.320.

25 Ibid,p.321.

26 See Knobloch,J.:Zauberwelt,p.60.

27 See www.rohan.sdsu.edu.com.

28 See Knobloch,J.:Zauberwelt,p.60.

29 See www.rohan.sdsu.com.

30 Ibid.

31 See www.movies.warnerbros.com.

32 Ibid.

33 See Schneidewind, Friedhelm: Das ABC rund um Harry Potter.3.Auflage,25.11.2000,p.112.

34 See Knobloch,J.:Zauberwelt,p.61.

35 See www.cesnur.org/recens/potter_053.htm.

36 Ibid.

37 See Knobloch,J.:Zauberwelt,p.64.

38 Ibid.

39 Ibid,p.54.

40 Ibid.

41 Ibid.

42 See www.hausarbeiten.de/cgi-bin/archiv/anglistik/angl-harrypotter.shtml.

43 Ibid.

44 See www.spiegel-online.de/0,1588,8160,00.html.

45 Ibid.

46 Ibid.

47 See www.spiegel.de/0,1588,81860,00.html.

48 See Knobloch,J.:Zauberwelt,p.92.

49 Ibid.

50 See Scheidewind, F.:ABC Harry Potter,p.42.

51 See Rowling, J.K.: Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone,p.157-177.

52 Ebd.,S.283-309.

53 See Schneidewind. F.:ABC Harry Potter,p.220.

54 Ibid.

55 See Knobloch,J.:Zauberwelt,p.98.

56 See Schneidewind, F.:ABC Harry Potter,p.221.

57 See Rowling, J.K.: Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone,p.214.

58 See Knobloch,J.:Zaubrwelt,p.102.

59 Ibid.

60 See Scheidewind, F.:ABC Harry Potter,p.90.

61 Ibid,p.434.

62 Rowling, Joanne K.: ”Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Bloomsbury, Great Britain 1998.

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"Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone" Why is this novel so successful?
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Maria Neumann (Author), 2001, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone" Why is this novel so successful?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/101767


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