Battling Voldemort, 101


Sep 26, 2008

Posted by: SueTLC | Comments


In the past, we’ve told you about the rise in popularity of collegiate level course on the Harry Potter Series. Tonight, MTV has a new piece online, focusing on the classes being taught at Swarthmore College. In particular, one class “Battling Against Voldemort” is proving so popular, the article note that “a lottery determines who gets one of the 12 seats.” Students who enroll in the classes have read the series at least once, and the course is hoping to teach the students to read the books with a different perspective.

MTV reports that “They analyze each book, looking at themes and metaphors, reading up on scholarly perspectives, going over Jungian archetypes. For a discussion of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” they were guided by a critical essay by Veronica Schanoes, called “Cruel Heroes and Treacherous Texts,” to explore the ambiguities in the constructions of good and evil and the unreliable narratives of Harry’s world. It made students understand that even Harry himself can be an unreliable narrator. “

There are also deeper and mature discussions, such as the Professor’s explanation on what fate awaited Umbridge after she was carried away by the Centaurs at the end of Order of the Phoenix, as well as the moral and ethical issues in using an Unforgivable curse as highlighted in the following exchange:

“Haven’t we been led to believe that the difference between Death Eaters and those who are not is the use of the Unforgivable Curses?” Finberg asked the class when the discussion turned to Harry’s usage of the torturing Cruciatus curse.”He uses it on Bellatrix; he uses it on Carrow,” Hannah Edelman observed. “He also uses the [controlling] Imperius curse.”

“He is just really upset when he uses that curse on Bellatrix,” Matlock said. “I don’t think that means he’s a bad person. It just means he’s more human.””Do you think J.K. Rowling is playing with us?” Matt Bowers asked. “Do you think she’s telling us, ‘Look, you thought Harry was a good guy, but what if this were from the point of view of Draco?’ “But Harry would never use [the killing curse] Avada Kedavra,” Soares argued. “This is really dorky, but a hero, like Superman would never kill Lex Luther.” The class laughed.”

You can see the video report of this at this link, as well as view it on MTV2, and MTVu at the following times tomorrow:

Fri 9/26- 7:30am
Fri 9/26- 12:45am, 2:45am, 4:45am, 6:45am, 8:45am, 10:45am, 12:45pm, 2:45pm, 4:45pm, 6:45pm

Finding Hogwarts

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.