The Sorcerer’s Stone, Mirror of Erised, and Horcruxes: Choice, Individuality, and Authenticity in Harry Potter

Nichole LeFebvre


Examining the Harry Potter series through the lens of existentialism reveals J.K. Rowling’s unmistakable ties to the philosophy, notably in the recurring theme of self-deception as a manner of avoiding one’s mortality. Rowling explores the role of materialism in self-deception and the fear of death. Her characters choose between material possessions and an authentic life, for it is precisely these belongings that create a false impression of happiness. Rowling’s novels display existential problems concerning material possessions: the Sorcerer’s Stone, Mirror of Erised, and Horcruxes all distract from the anxiety surrounding death by creating an illusion of happiness or success for their owners.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680