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Harry’s Curiousity

By Susan Engel


from The Psychology of Harry Potter

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This is one essay from the anthology The Psychology of Harry Potter

Harry Potter has provided a portal to the wizarding world for millions of readers, but an examination of Harry, his friends and his enemies will take us on yet another journey: through the psyche of the Muggle (and wizard!) mind. The twists and turns of the series, as well as the psychological depth and complexity of J. K. Rowling’s characters, have kept fans enthralled with and puzzling over the many mysteries that permeate Hogwarts and beyond: Do the Harry Potter books encourage disobedience? Why is everyone so fascinated by Professor Lupin? What exactly will Harry and his friends do when they finally pass those N.E.W.T.s? Do even wizards live by the ticking of the clock? Is Harry destined to end up alone? And why did it take Ron and Hermione so long to get together? Now, in The Psychology of Harry Potter, leading psychologists delve into the ultimate Chamber of Secrets, analyzing human mind and motivation by examining the themes and characters that make the Harry Potter books the bestselling fantasy series of all time. Grab a spot on the nearest couch, and settle in for some fresh revelations about our favorite young wizard!

About the Author

Dr. Neil Mulholland was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. He is presently a senior psychologist in child and family psychiatry at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton, Canada, and consults to several health teams in the region. He also runs a small private practice for kids and adults, where he often uses Harry Potter as a therapeutic tool. In 1979, after spending ten years in the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, Dr. Neil graduated from Arizona State University. He then returned to Vancouver, Canada, and spent 20 years there before moving to the prairies of Alberta. According to the online quizzes, he’s a bit of a Mr. Weasley.

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About the Author

Susan  Engel

Susan Engel earned a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College in 1980, and a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from CUNY Graduate Center in 1985. She is currently a senior lecturer in psychology and director of the Program in Teaching at Williams College. Engel has taught students from age 3 to adults. In addition to journal articles and book chapters, Engel has written three books, The Stories Children Tell: Making Sense of the Narratives of Childhood (W. H. Freeman, 1985), Context Is Everything: The Nature of Memory (W. H. Freeman, 1997) and most recently, Real Kids: Creating Meaning in Everyday Life (Harvard University Press, 2005). She is also the co-founder and educational adviser to an experimental school in eastern Long Island, the Hayground School, and writes a regular column on teaching, “Lessons,” for the New York Times. Engel’s research interests include the development of autobiographical memory, narrative processes in childhood, imagination and play in childhood and the development of curiosity. She lives with her husband and three sons in New Marlborough, Mass.

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