Wang Lei

Speaking Time and Room No.: 2006-9-22 14:00-15:30 Room II

Speaker: Wang Lei (China)

What Does Harry Potter Tell Us?

Wang Lei (China Peace Publishing House)

Nowdays, there appears a best-selling series of books.The books are heavy, and as a reading material for children, the text is incredible long enough that they are written in hundreds of thousands words. It’s surprisingly popular in book shops and attracts the E-generation back to traditional book reading.That is the Harry Potter Series, written by an English writer Ms J.K.Rowling. How does Harry Potter, a handsome English boy with a pair of glasses on his nose and a wand in his hand,conquer the readers all over the world? What magic does Ms J.K. Rowling have to stimulate an upsurge of reading?

In my opinion, there could be three reasons to explain the miraculous popularity of the Harry Potter Series and why it’s so widely loved by its readers.

Firstly, although the series seems only telling about some stories happening in a magic school impossible, but deep inside, it actually advocates the Symbolic Right for children. In the real human world, the strong not only controls resoureces but also controls the supremacy of words, while the weak is nearly powerless. Among the weak,we can say that children are the weakest. Children have no right of discourse or symbolic power of their own. All the symbols that children need for their cultural life are produced and provided by adults. So, the way how adults regard the children, that is to say our Conception of Children, becomes very significant.The key reason for the popularity of the Harry Potter series lies in the text’s Standpoint of Children which makes the story truly loved by young readers. It’s Loved because it’s For them.

The Harry Potter Series tells about how a boy becomes the strong from the weak. Harry, the hero of the stories, appears in a sad identity. He is an orphan boy, and has to live with his horrible relatives the Dursleys, and worse, he is disliked and cruely treated by the awful Dursleys. But soon his condition gets completely changed after he enters the magic school Hogwarts. By the contrast of Harry’s condition in the two worlds, the muggle world and the magic world, we can easily see how the author successful defends children’s rights at the Standpoint of Children. In the muggle world, Harry is a helpless boy but in the magic world, Harry doesn’t feel constrained. On the contrary, He feels free and happy. He has good friends,teachers and headmaster who really care for him. More importantly,in the magic world, as a child and human being, Harry gets respected by others. He is also bestowed all the rights that a child deserves, the right to live, the right to be educated,

the right to develop, the right to know etc. And by taking adventures, he fulfilles his own self-realization.

Secondly, Harry Potter’s stories confirms with the children’s mode of thinking. That is Children’s Imagination. We know that Children’s interest in the things relating to myth, witchcraft, and totem worship is almost inborn. Children are always so fond of fairy tales. Anything that seems unreasonable in the real world can still happen in the fairy tales. Children’s Imagination enables children to understand them and enjoy in them. The rationality is not something that children would worry about. Harry Potter’s stories are full of such kind of magic and amazing things which seem impossible in our common world. The author creates a bewitching world that seems so real, a world that every child would dream to enter. Once they step right into the enchanting world of Hogwarts,they could travel on a flying broom, gain the fascinating magic power and take adventures as Harry Potter himself. Everything in the magic world that the author creates deeply attracts children,such

as the magic shops in Diagon Alley, the platform nine and three quarters, the sorcerer’s stone, flying keys and wand etc.All these magic things make children love the world more!

Thirdly, the Harry Potter Series caters to children’s special taste. Comparing with adults’ literature, children’s literature needs to pay more attention to the taste of children, their reading habit and life experience. All these need to be taken into consideration.The experienced writers of children literature know that, a successful story should catch the young readers’ eye at the very beginning, that is to say the first minute of reading,the first paragraph, otherwise they might lose the interest to continue. The reason for this is simple, that is, children are lack of patience. Harry Potter’s author, Ms J.k.Rowling knows young readers’ psychology well. She tells the stories in such an intense rhythm and dramatic plot that readers hardly get rest during reading,let alone feeling bored. She places Harry Potter in constant dangerous moments. The stories are filled with strained, stimulating and thrilling atmosphere, which excite the young readers and make them

hold their breath as stories go on. For example,the first appearance of Harry can strongly impress readers with the amazing lighting scar on his forehead. A mysterious letter is sent to Harry by an owl messenger.The letter announces that he has been accepted to the Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry. A kindly and very large Hagrid takes Harry into the magic world, and purchases for him all the school stuffs he needs from the magic shops in Diagon Alley.And Harry catches the Hogwarts Express on platform nine and three quarters at King’s Cross Station in London……more amazing and unbelievable things happen later on. The author devises a variety of thrilling plots.The young hero always find himself at a very dangerous point, but finally the author will release him out of it nonetheless. The author’s organization of plots meets with the young readers’ curiosity and their psychology of longing for being a brave hero.

Generally speaking, the author of the Harry Potter Series writes at the standpoint of children by respecting and defending their rights, creates the things they like by knowing their psychology and thinking mode, and meets with their taste by understanding their needs.These could explain the great success and popularity of the Harry Potter stories. And maybe, they are the “triple magic” of Ms.J.K.Rowling.

The Harry Potter Series gives children the pleasure of reading. The work absolutely belongs to children. However, it does not only give fresh blood to children literature but also give beneficial enlishtening guidance for adults literature.