Expelliarmus!: Retaliation and peaceable outcomes in the Harry Potter series.

Janet Iafrate


J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter saga can be considered, in a contemporary political context, a liberal-slanted series with a setting that includes corrupt government, resistance to injustices, ideal characters, and underlying messages about how to treat people.  This focus is enlarged in this article to include the treatment of, and retaliation against, criminals, enemies and villains.  While compassion toward kind, lovable characters like Hagrid and Lupin is easy to achieve, Rowling does something even more radical when she asks her readers to examine the actual treatment of the unlovable, irredeemable enemies in the story, and suggests that in order to defeat our enemies, we must make different and ultimately better choices than those enemies. 

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680