Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A World Without Potter?

Date:
July 24, 2007
Source:
University of Kentucky
Summary:
Children and even some adults around the globe will be saddened this weekend by the loss of a character in the famous Harry Potter book series. Author J.K. Rowling divulged last summer that two central characters will meet their demise in the series' final book released midnight July 21. Clinical social worker James Clark feels this is a valuable opportunity for parents to discuss such an important topic as death and dying.

Children and even some adults around the globe will be saddened this weekend by the loss of a character in the famous Harry Potter book series. Author J.K. Rowling divulged last summer that two central characters will meet their demise in the series’ final book that was released midnight July 21. University of Kentucky clinical social worker James Clark feels this is a valuable opportunity for parents to discuss such an important topic as death and dying.

With many speculating that the title character might die in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” it is safe to assume that at least one of the book’s deaths will be of a popular figure. The final book with its two deaths will have an impact on both children and adults, says Clark, associate dean for research in the UK College of Social Work and an associate director of the Center for the Study of Violence Against Children. “A lot of children who have read Harry Potter, and even many adults, have become attached to particular characters.”

Clark believes the suspense surrounding the last book and anticipated deaths will make many children eager to talk. Noting the popularity of E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web,” he says intense interest in a book or its characters is not out of the ordinary. “It is not unusual for a child who has been really invested in a literary character to feel a sense of loss or some sadness about that character.”

In fact, Clark feels the sadness surrounding the loss will open up a discussion about death and any moral implications surrounding the figure’s fate. Rather than expecting the loss of a character will create any permanent or extended sadness, Clark believes the experience will actually have a useful outcome by generating conversations between kids and their parents or caregivers.

“What is so interesting about literature is that it allows children to rehearse the losses that they may face in life,” notes Clark. “If a child has never experienced the death of someone close and they do this in terms of a fictional character, it can bring up feelings and questions about death and dying.”

Likewise, a character’s death can often be more helpful than harmful for kids that have recently experienced the death of a relative or a friend, or other significant losses like the death of a pet or moving away. “Talking about the literary experience often helps the child come to grips,” says Clark. “Rather than seeing this as opening up old wounds unnecessarily, it allows children to sometimes talk for the first time about actual losses that they faced that … they were reluctant to discuss.”

Clark offers parents suggestions to begin conversations with their kids as they read the final Potter book and encounter the deaths it details. “What parents ought to do most of all is to express to their child, as the book is being released, their real interest in the child’s experience reading the book,” comments Clark. “You do not have to be interested in Harry Potter or the book; what you should be is interested in your child and your child’s experience.”

Showing interest and asking questions may inspire kids to open up and ask about issues that are weighing on them. Clark suggests asking questions similar to these:

  • what happened in the book;
  • what was it like or how is it going;
  • what did you think about this event; and,
  • what was it like to learn of the death of this character or both of these characters?

Clark warns parents against ignoring their children’s interest in the Harry Potter books. “The worst thing that an adult can do would be to ignore the fact their child is reading the book or not take it seriously, trivializing it by saying it is just a book or fictional character.” He adds, “for many children, as for many adults, sometimes fictional characters feel in ways more ‘real’ than the real people in their lives.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Kentucky. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Kentucky. "A World Without Potter?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070722121347.htm>.
University of Kentucky. (2007, July 24). A World Without Potter?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070722121347.htm
University of Kentucky. "A World Without Potter?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070722121347.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins