On Harry Potter

Attachment Styles at Hogwarts

By Wind Goodfriend, Ph.D.

Picture London during the height of World War II. The city was constantly threatened by bombings from above. Parents had only one greater fear than the fear of their own death: the death of their children. To keep its young ones safe, the British government evacuated children to the countryside. After the war, families were reunited. Physically, the children were fine. However, an unforeseen side effect had occurred. The children had been separated from their parents at a crucial time in their development, and, as young adults, they began displaying a variety of psychological disorders. For many of these adolescents, a key problem among these issues was the inability to form strong, loving ties with other people. From this phenomenon, psychology researchers noticed and created attachment theory. Attachment theory focuses on how the familial environment during one’s formative years affects one’s ability to begin and maintain normal, adult relationships–including romantic relationships. Psychologists have now identified three distinct attachment styles, or patterns of behavior relevant to how one interacts with potential romantic partners. Perhaps it is coincidental, but these three attachment styles can be seen in almost perfect form in the three main characters in the Harry Potter series: Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Harry himself.

A Brief History of Attachment Theory

Inspired by the emotional troubles caused by mass child evacuations in London, British psychologist John Bowlby began a long line of research into child-parent bonds. Bowlby observed infants with their primary caregivers (usually their mothers) and noted that the infants grew  …

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