Harry Potter and Its Influence on Modern Folklore

Harry Potter and Its Influence on Modern Folklore

Harry Potter and Its Influence on Modern Folklore

By Zoensangi Ralte 

The fictional world of Harry Potter had dominated the perception of magic and mystical creatures for a whole generation and with sixty-three language translations and three million copies sold in minimum, it represents the Britons in the same way Sherlock Holmes once did for the detective genre. Harry Potter has arguably become the most famous Englishmen in the modern world even with his fictional status. Including this fact and its insertion of mythological references; we can say that Harry Potter is vitally creditable for influenced the modern comprehension of British myth and folklore, it could also influence the younger generation’s impression on the subject matter. 

Most of British myth and folklore had become nebulous or were changed entirely when it goes through the Puritan scrutiny; many cases of mythical characters turned into demons, great kings or fallen angels can be attributed to the Christian’s concept of one God which leaves no space for additional deities. As society change and moral evolved, yesterday’s hero may convert and become tomorrow’s villain. However, there are still a notable amount that survives because myth and folklores have universal themes that representant the concept and belief of the society it originated from. Tradition change and the way we choose to keep them alive can represent the values and ideas of existing society. Myth usually originates as a means to explain a deity or in some cases a natural phenomenon in a time that know not of science. On the other hand, folklore refers to certain stories pass down through groups called ‘folk-group’ through oral tradition.

To simply claim that Harry Potter represents a new form of folklore or that it moulds the impression of myth to a new perception would be wrong as the events in the book itself are yet to be officially ‘canonized’ or so to speak. The involvement of stories and legends in the books are also adaptation or references to the myths. It does not involve the myths themselves in most cases. Furthermore, Harry Potter may be seen as a powerful form of popular culture but can it truly be seen as a modern folktale as folklores are stories that are transmuted through oral tradition and not through books or through stores among others. Folklore is also ever-changing while the events in Harry Potter are sealed within the confines of their books and Rowling’s words.

Nevertheless, the fantasy world is build using both folklore which pre-dates the book’s publication while creating elements unique to the world of Harry Potter which specifically reflect the world of the reader. Rowling builds a world which is highly political, complex and multivocal while still remaining accessible to the readers. At the same time, the tradition of ancient mythology is carried in the story where modern readers are exposed to the names, creatures, symbolism and stories of ancient myths. Parents will use the stories of Harry Potter as examples and cautionary tales just as fairytales were used in the past. It is very easy to explain common moral dilemmas and a certain myth by citing Harry Potter. Even though the story is yet to be ‘canonized’ in a sense, it is a timeless tale that has been prevailing and leaving signs that it will continue to do so. For most people in the recent generation, it will be their introduction to mythology and it will shape their mind accordingly towards the myth. Harry Potter has created a space for itself in regards to the genre of myth, magic and mystic. The people involved often share their opinion and their interpretation with each other which created a folk-group dedicated to the story they perceive. The story of Harry Potter is permanently sealed with its printed words but J.K. Rowling created a world that is highly accessible for the imagination and it is a world that is shifting and growing. This is also speculation that does not involve certain entities like fanfiction or fan art.

To conclude, Harry Potter is a fantasy story with elements that reflect reality. Just like the growth of the conception of a vampire from an undead demon of vengeance to the modern interpretation of a seductive predator to the reformation of Satan from a deformed being to a beautiful morning star, the reflection of temptation by Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’. Harry Potter has also influenced the modern perception of magic and myth and it has created a modern form of folklore that shows potential for shaping the ideas of the future generation regarding the myth and folklore.