Harry Potter and the Enhancement of Hope: What Harry Potter and Positive Psychology can Teach Us about the Good Life

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Thesis or dissertation

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This capstone explores J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books through the lens of positive psychology, the scientific study of human flourishing. Specifically, it proposes that reading Harry Potter is a positive intervention, an evidence-based activity that enhances peoples well-being, especially given its potential to spark hope in its readers. Hope is one of the positive psychological character strengths most associated with happiness and life satisfaction, yet is one of the least endorsed worldwide. This suggests a need to offer people around the world easily accessible interventions through which they can cultivate more hope. Through its ubiquitous ability to resonate with children and adults alike across cultures, Harry Potter has much potential to do just that. By merging the principles of positive psychology with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, readers may be better able to access hope that they can be who they want to be and create a world that they want to see. Indeed, as Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile, the founders of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text articulate, “reading fiction doesn’t help us escape the world, it helps us live in it”.


Harry Potter, positive psychology, hope, positive interventions, positive humanities.


Humanities, Well-being/Flourishing


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Date Posted: 25 September 2018