Thesis Theater Recording
Join us on October 2, 2019, at 2pm ET for a Thesis Theater with Kelli Orazi, who will be discussing her recently completed thesis for the MA in Language & Literature program. Kelly’s thesis topic is mythological beasts. Kelly’s thesis advisor, Elizabeth Hardy, will be joining to moderate the conversation.
Kelly’s thesis explores how animals and their natural world function within the Harry Potter series, taking a look at the influence of early taxonomy and bestiaries over medieval history and how magical creatures are viewed within the wizarding world: the treatment of such creatures, wizard dominance, and specific character views on animals.
While scholarship has surveyed medieval and ancient influences on Rowling’s magical creatures, this thesis is less interested in simply comparing Rowling’s own fantastic creations or inspirations to that of her medieval predecessors. It instead aims to discover what she does with those creatures in light of her influences.
This thesis compares the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them textbook to the medieval bestiary and expands this study to explore connections between animals in their natural setting and animals that Harry himself experiences. This thesis argues that Rowling continually uses animals to signify magic and that characters who pay close attention to animals are always led to success and personal growth. Ultimately, this thesis sets out to prove that in the world of Harry Potter, experiences with animals—not just knowledge of them—lead to a better understanding of humanity, magic, and the natural world.