Magic in Stories For Younger Readers – Part Seven – Magic and Reality

In stories for children, it is the boy or girl who solves the problem, rather than the adult, which children reading the story find it much easier to relate to. Harry Potter is just like his young readers, an ordinary child with admittedly extraordinary powers. Even those of his friends who come from magical families have the same things to deal with at Hogwarts, such as homework, embarrassing parents or annoying siblings, making it more believable and thus rooted in the real world, despite Harry’s enrollment in an exclusive school for wizardry.
Harry even has trouble becoming a wizard and struggles at school with some of his subjects, while his classmate Hermione consistently streams ahead of him. On more than one occasion, Harry curses himself for not having studied the history of the magical world or some other topic more deeply.
In the earlier novels too, Harry is quite simply not good enough to take on more powerful wizards. Much of the strength of the novels is the journey of Harry from the age of eleven to manhood and his complicated learning curve along the way, which is reflected not just in his relationships with his friends and teachers, but also in his growing comprehension of the laws of magic. Although magic is the predominant theme running through these and other novels, the hero still has to overcome his difficulties though his own efforts. Magic should never be used simply as a way to solve all problems and just wish them away.