With the full introduction of the Marauders characters (James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew) into the Harry Potter series in The Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling shifted away from the storybook tone of the first two volumes to something darker and widened the scope of her story in depth and breadth. This paper examines how Rowling uses these characters to create what J.R.R. Tolkien called the “impression of depth” in her fictional world. While contrasting Rowling’s specific techniques with Tolkien’s, this paper argues that Rowling scales this literary device down to meet her young hero (and implied reader[s]), focusing primarily on character and personal history to create this effect. Specific attention will be paid to the way in which the Marauders are characterized before their proper appearances in the narrative, the function of questions and answers, the craft of exposition, the use of backstory and untold tales, and the role of tragedy. This paper will demonstrate how Prisoner, and the Marauders in particular, laid the foundation for the darker and more mature novels later in the series.
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Online Winter Seminar
February 4-5, 2022 (Friday evening, Saturday all day)
Mythcon 52: The Mythic, the Fantastic, and the Alien
Albuquerque, New Mexico; July 29 - August 1, 2022