Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Summer 2017

Department 1

First Year Seminar


The paper reviews how J.K. Rowling is able to examine death in the Harry Potter book series. In the first part of the text the author touches on the deaths of Harry's parents and the scarring that Harry receives from that, as well as an examination of how the deaths of others, from close friends to acquaintances, have affected Harry, specifically pertaining to his personal responsibility for them and also his grieving process. The paper also goes into how Voldemort's inability to feel love, paired with his fear of dying, have pushed his quest for immortality (using Horcruxes). Harry's mastery of death (using the Hallows), his willingness to accept death, and his sense of love and sacrifice for his friends is what enables him to finally defeat Voldemort. The main message is that the Harry Potter books are great entertainment, but their underlying philosophy on death creates a depth that Rowling wants us to learn from: death is a part of life, and seeking love and friendship is much more important than worrying about death.


Written for FYS 150: Death and the Meaning of Life.