On Harry Potter

Introduction: The Psychology of Harry Potter

By Neil Mulholland, Ph.D.

So, you might ask, what are my qualifications to investigate the psychology of the world-renowned Harry Potter series?

Well, to start, I did grow up some forty miles from where J. K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter books. Much like Harry, I once slept in a closet, where just my single bed fit (but not under the stairs). I also used to travel on a train, just like Harry’s, to English boarding school, where I wore a uniform like his and was “sorted” into a group or House in a country mansion. Unfortunately, it was not nearly as magical and interesting as Hogwarts, but I seemed to have as much difficulty as Harry in following the rules.

So, after “six of the best” (six whacks on the rear with my choice of the thin cane that stung or the thick cane that hurt), I was soon shipped off home and ended up at St. Mungo’s. Fortunately, it was not the infirmary, but St. Mungo’s Academy to finish my schooling. Yes, there was a real St. Mungo who was the bishop of Glasgow around the sixth century.

My other connection to Harry these days, aside from my fascination with the books, is that I developed something called Harry Potter Therapy. If you’ve looked at any of the Harry Potter blogs about a year or so ago, I seemed to have stirred a bit of controversy as I’ve used and encouraged others to use Harry Potter images when helping young people  …

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