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VOYAThe Harry Potter book had the potential to be just another coming-of-age boarding school novel series, but in the hands of a talented, culturally literate creator, Harry, his friends, and his enemies have become icons. Lackey collects a group of insightful, sometimes funny essays that analyze Harry's world in contexts that include religion, heroism, psychology, politics, and myth. Harry is the central character and the driving force behind the essays, but many focus on characters other than Harry, including Neville Longbottom. One essay that may be of particular interest to teachers and book discussion group leaders is Why Dumbledore Had to Die, which explores the death of Harry's mentor in the tradition of the hero's journey, comparing Harry's story to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and other popular hero's journeys. The Curious Attractiveness of Professor Snape examines Snape's online fandom role as a "thinking woman's sex symbol." The wide range of topics and deep levels of analysis in these essays make this book an indispensable guide for students who wish to explore the Harry Potter series against the backdrop of literary traditions. All of the highly readable essays are written by respected science fiction and fantasy authors, some of whom have written or spoken at professional conferences on the topic of Harry Potter. This collection is recommended for academic libraries, especially those where there is a high interest in popular culture. VOYA CODES: 5Q 2P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2005, BenBella Books, 195p.,Trade pb. Ages 15 to Adult.
—Carlisle Kraft Webber