Harry Potter: National Hero and National Heroic Epic

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Joanne K. Rowling's teenage wizard has enchanted readers all over the globe and Harry Potter can truly be called an international hero. However, as I will argue, he is also very much an English national hero, complying with the national auto-image of the English gentleman as well as with the idea of Christian masculinity, another English auto-image holding that outdoor activity is more character-building than book learning. I will also show that the series can be read as a national heroic epic in two respects. First, Harry Potter, alias Robin Hood, has to fight the Norman yoke, an English myth haunting the nation since the Norman invasion in 1066. The series displays as a national model an apparently paternalistic Anglo-Saxon feudal society marked by tolerance and liberty as opposed to foreign rule. Second, by establishing parallels to events which took place in Nazi Germany, the series takes up the idea of fighting it, which is a popular topos in British (children's) literature which serves to reinforce a positive self-image.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Research in Children's Literature
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)15-28
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 07.2011

    Research areas

  • English - English gentleman, Fighting Nazi Germany, Harry Potter series, National heroic epic, Norman yoke