Shape-shifting, identity, and change in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Ward, Renee (2005) Shape-shifting, identity, and change in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. In: Accio 2005, 29-31 July 2005, University of Reading, Reading, UK.

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Abstract

Complex representations of identity abound in children or youth’s fantasy literature, particularly in texts that employ the shape-shifting motif. In two of the most studied youth’s fantasy literature texts, A Wizard of Earthsea and The Sword in the Stone, Ursula K. Le Guin and T. H. White link shape-shifting to the identity and development of their protagonists. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series also serves as an excellent case study, and her use of the motif, and its connected themes of identity and the development of the hero, places her within the tradition epitomized by White and Le Guin. The third installment of Rowling’s series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, foregrounds theriomorphic (that is, human to animal) shape-shifting through its focus on Animagi and the werewolf figure Remus Lupin. This paper considers Rowling's texts a part of what Giselle Liza Anatol identifies as “this generation’s most formative narratives,” not only because they represent identity in varied and contradictory terms, but also because they “reflect and/or comment upon the cultural assumptions and ideological tensions of contemporary society” (xv).

Keywords:Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling, Werewolves, Remus Lupin, Shape Shifting, A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula Le Guin
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q323 English Literature by topic
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q322 English Literature by author
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
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ID Code:26882
Deposited On:03 May 2017 08:55

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