We're sure if you had to classify the Harry Potter series by genre, your first move would be to call it a Bildungsroman... no? Just us? Well okay, just hear us out for a second.
|British Literature||All British Literature|
Another genre the series belongs to is that of the Bildungsroman
Those are novels dealing with the protagonist's psychological and moral growth as they progress from youth
Oof, that’s a mouthful. [Description of Bildungsroman in a mouth]
Both the word and the definition.
Alright so this genre is fiction that focuses on how young people grow up, but with more emphasis
on their psychology than… on how tall they're getting each year. [Girls height is measured]
Since the series starts with Harry as an eleven-year-old kid, and each successive book covers another
year in his life, the series almost can't help but touch on various themes that come [The books in the Harry Potter series appear]
with growing up.
And no, we don't mean outgrowing your old jackets. [Harry's top rips]
Luckily Rowling didn't devote too many pages to that kind of thing.
There's all sorts of pleasant stuff, like learning the value of love, loyalty, and friendship, [Harry's friends by his side]
something Harry learns plenty about due to his relationships with Ron and Hermione.
They also help him learn grittier lessons about courage, perseverance, and overcoming
Though, to be fair, his enemies also help him learn these lessons. [A Dementor puts down a blackboard]
Enemies are good for something, you know.
Although these themes come up as early as the first book, it's only in the third volume,
The Prisoner of Azkaban, where we start to see one of the more complicated of the Bildungsroman [The Prisoner of Azkaban book appears]
That is the tension between the emerging individual and the society in which they find themselves.
Luckily it's not a literal tug of war, because society definitely has the individual outnumbered. [Harry Potter in a tug of war with other characters and he is flung into the air]
In The Prisoner of Azkaban, this tension is brought out by Azkaban itself: the isolated, [Dementors surrounding Azkaban]
foreboding wizard prison guarded by dementors.
When Harry arrived at Hogwarts, the wizarding world seemed like a fantastic place, full [Harry walking through the dining hall]
of clever spells and exquisitely decorated banquets.
But Azkaban's a reminder that this society has a dark side.
Convicted prisoners are kept on this isolated island, guarded by fearsome dementors, and [Prisoner runs away from Dementors]
it's generally expected that the prisoners will go insane within weeks of arriving.
Sounds like an extended stay at a Days Inn.
When Harry learns about Azkaban, he must confront the fact that the evil of the wizarding world [Harry thinking about the Azkaban prison]
isn't just a bunch of angry renegades with vendettas against him.
It's also partly institutionalized within the wizarding world…and he can either accept
this world as it is, or seek to change it.
Admittedly, we’re talking about some pretty heavy stuff, but if Harry Potter only had [Harry debating what to do]
to come to terms with sorting hats and levitating candles, the stories might get boring fast… [Harry falls asleep]