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Document Details :
Title: Harry Potter and the Problem of Evil
Author(s): JANSEN, Henry
Journal: Studies in Interreligious Dialogue
Volume: 13 Issue: 1 Date: 2003
In this article the author looks primarily at the issue of the depiction of transcendent evil. Some successful works of fantasy literature are examined in this respect. Whereas J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) and C.S. Lewis (Narnia Chronicles) wrote for a public with a widely shared stock of beliefs about the world, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books are written in the context of contemporary secularized Western Society, in which any idea of the transcendent is largely absent. Therefore, the author explores the portrayal of evil in the Harry Potter books and asks the fundamental question: What happens when the notion of the transcendent is excluded from the discussion of evil? In the first section the portrayals of evil in these novels are described. In the second, the problems encountered in Rowling's portrayal of evil are elaborated upon, and in the third section these problems are connected to the understanding of evil in contemporary secularized society by means of references to some 'postmodern' authors.