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Friday, 5 October, 2001, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
Harry Potter inspires thesis
Harry Potter book
Is Harry really the hero?
An undergraduate, who wrote a thesis on the role of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter novels as part of her degree course, is to have her work published in an academic journal.

In her research paper, Michele Fry, 32, argues that Hermione - Harry's sidekick - is the true heroine of the books.

Emma Watson (L) and Daniel  Radcliffe (R) who play Hermione and Harry in the coming film
Is Harry powerless without Hermione's feminine wiles?
"Most critics argue Hermione is an accessory but I would say she is the real power behind Harry Potter," said Ms Fry.

"Without her he could not beat the evil villain Voldemort," she said.

Her study - Heroes and Heroines: Myth and Gender Roles in the Harry Potter Books - will be published in December in the annual academic journal, the New Review of Children's Literature and Librarianship.

Fan

Ms Fry, who was awarded a 2:1 in English and History from Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, said she had always been a fan of Harry Potter.

"I started reading the books two years ago as an antidote to revision - and they proved very effective!"

She had planned to dedicate her independent study in her third year to the First World War, but a prompt from her lecturer got her thinking about studying the Harry Potter series instead.

Harry Potter books on sale
The Harry Potter series has captured the imaginations of children and adults around the world
"Once she had read and marked the paper, she said it was one of the most interesting papers she had read on Harry Potter and suggested I got it published.

"My initial reaction was 'Don't be daft!'", she laughed.

Ms Fry believes children's literature is a growing subject area for academic study and has been unfairly neglected.

"As adults we need to discuss what our kids are reading and what is influencing them.

"Adults enjoy the books because they are a reminder of what we enjoyed as children," she said.

Future research possible

Ms Fry is about to take up a post in the research services offices at Oxford University, dealing with applications for funding.

But she hopes to go into academia "at a later stage" when she has cleared her student debts.

So will she revisit the subject of Harry and Hermione?

"I may go back to it when all the books have been written and see if I still hold the same view."

See also:

25 Oct 00 | Education
Potter school play ban
24 Sep 01 | Film
Toy shop bans Harry Potter
28 Mar 01 | Business
Harry Potter and the profit hike
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