Into the Pensive: The Philisophy and Mythology of Harry Potter by Patrick McCauley is a book that follows the incredible seven year journey that we all took with J.K. Rowling’s beast selling series, Harry Potter. McCauley does this whilst uncovering what is just beneath the surface and delves even deeper into the philosophical and mythological themes behind the book series’ stories.
Why do we find ourselves so intrigued with the tale of Harry Potter?
This is the first question posed at the very beginning of the book and asks us the fundamental premise behind McCauley’s work – just what is it about Harry Potter and the world in which he lives, that seems to resonate with so many of us?
The hit novels brought reading back to the forefront and got children once again excited to pick up a book and read. It wasn’t just children though, teenagers and adults also became fascinated with Hogwarts and the wizarding world created by Rowling. It seemed that everyone who read the tales could relate in some way to Harry and the life he was leading, or to one of the other characters.
Some of the themes and ideas explored in the books are nothing short of profound, most notably the way we deal with the death of a loved one, but as McCauley shows, Rowling also shows her characters to have great strength of character, to learn how to cope with responsibility and violence, with the corruption of elders and things far out of their control.
Many of these wonderful and terrifying ideas are born out of mythology or religion and can be one way of explaining just why we seem to connect so completely with the story. McCauley walks the reader hand in hand, through these ideas and shows how the philosophy of the Harry Potter series shows us destiny is there for the taking, that all of us have potential, no matter how old we are.
A fascinating read!