Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Power Heirarchies, Sex, and Gender Roles: Challenging the Comfortable in Lev Grossman's The Magicians

In this essay, Elizabeth Simons examines some of the traditional, comfortable structures of power in children's literature--including Harry Potter and The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe--and argues that Lev Grossman's The Magicians challenges many of these structures.  She also notes, however, that gender stereotypes seem particularly difficult to rewrite, even in a novel like Grossman's.

Ever since the Grimm brothers revised their tales for children, removing sexual content and adding heavy-handed moralizing, children’s literature has carried with it the promise of safety and comfort, and many of the popular works for children today still play off these ideas.  The MagiciansThe first book in C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, for instance, exudes comfort from its very dedication: Lewis, in addressing his goddaughter Lucy Barfield, refers to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe as a “fairy tale,” to be taken “down from some upper shelf,” an image that puts the story in the context of a warm tale, as from a parent to a child (vii).  Indeed, he tells her that he has written the story for her, and he reassures her that regardless of her interest in the book or her enjoyment of it, and regardless of his own as he ages and as his mind and body deteriorate, he “shall still be [her] affectionate Godfather” (vii).  The rest of the story maintains this same comfortable feel by drawing on familiar aspects of storytelling and by reinforcing comfortable structures.  Another popular children’s series, Harry Potter, offers similar comfort through similar structural techniques. Jack Zipes compares the series to a fairy tale, citing the books’ “absolute conformance to popular audience expectations” as the biggest reason for their “phenomenality” (176).  Even more important is the comfort given in Harry Potter’s underlying message: “In a world in which we are uncertain of our roles and uncertain about our capacity to defeat evil, the Harry Potter novels arrive and inform us . . . that if we all pull together and trust one another and follow the lead of the chosen one, evil will be overcome” (Zipes 182). Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which is, in many ways, an homage to Rowling’s and Lewis’ works, moves away from the child audience, placing their fantasy stories in an adult context instead.  Grossman’s novel causes his readers to address unsettling issues by casting off several comfortable structures; specifically, The Magicians challenges traditional power hierarchies and directly addresses sexual desire.  Still, despite the way in which the novel undercuts the safety and comfort of the Narnia and Harry Potter stories, it nevertheless adheres to the same familiar gender stereotypes that shape those worlds.  The existence of these gender stereotypes in a novel as progressive as The Magicians demonstrates how such stereotypes are particularly persistent within the fantasy literature genre.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneSome of the comfort in children’s literature comes from the affirmation of power hierarchies.  In Harry Potter, for instance, such hierarchies “are unequivocal.  Wizards are superior to non-wizards. [. . .] Human beings are superior to goblins, elves, centaurs, and giants – grotesque bodies, physically impaired” (Nikolajeva 228).  These structures, or hierarchies, as she calls them, are comforting to the reader in part because they are not explicitly stated in the texts; rather, the Harry Potter books portray the power relations as so natural a part of the natural order that they do not even need to named, let alone questioned.  The Dursleys, for instance, are a flat, nosy Muggle family who lack imagination and self-awareness.  They belittle Harry and neglect him, locking him in the cupboard under the stairs.  Harry’s introduction to the magical world frees him not only literally from the Dursley’s home, but also affirms his superiority to the family who abused him by giving him powers that are beyond the Dursley’s ability to imagine.  He can flee to a realm completely beyond their power, and this knowledge of the wizarding world protects him even during his summer returns to Privet Drive.

Nikolajeva describes these books’ hierarchies as traditional values that are reinforced throughout the texts, particularly at the ends of each book, when Dumbledore visits Harry and imbues him with wisdom (238).  Albus P. W. B. Dumbledore may be whimsical and magical, but he is also wise, old, and respected by the Hogwarts professors, the Ministry officials, and the magical population.  Moreover, he has had a successful career as headmaster and always seems to know what is happening in Harry’s life.  In this way, he can guide Harry and protect him from a distance, even while teaching him the self-sufficiency to enter, eventually, into his own manhood.  By the end of the series, Dumbledore has died, leaving behind a Harry strong enough to stand on his own as a man, but still returning, even after his death, to bestow more pearls of wisdom upon Harry .  At the heart of this, for Nikolajeva, is the family structure, in which the authority of the adult is final (228).  As powerful as Harry was throughout the series, he was still subordinate to adults, both in terms of the professors who define the curriculums and the adults who exclude him from the Order (235).  At the end, Harry is an adult–fully powerful and well-respected, and at the head of a family of his own.

The Chronicles of NarniaSimilar power structures are at work in the Narnia books.  Peter, as the oldest child, has authority over all the others.  When they rule Narnia, he becomes the High King; in England, he and Susan take responsibility for Lucy’s mental health.  Lewis writes, “They stood in the passage talking about it in whispers long after [Lucy] had gone to bed” (46).  Edmund’s betrayal is seen as being less about loyalty to the Witch and more about anger toward his brother; when all four siblings are in Narnia, Peter insults him, and Edmund says to himself, “I’ll pay you all out for this, you pack of stuck-up, self-satisfied prigs” (56).  Edmund’s crime, then, is not a love for evil for its own sake, but rather a love for anarchy.  He betrays his siblings in anger directed specifically toward Peter—who is both firstborn and male—and Edmund’s rebellion defies not just his family, but the established structure that they represent.

The older siblings have authority over the younger, but they are all still subject to the same higher powers.  Susan and Peter tell Professor Kirke—a  parental figure, albeit a temporary one—about  Lucy’s story of the wardrobe, knowing that he will decide whether or not to write their mother, who functions as an even greater authority figure (47).  In Narnia, the siblings follow and learn from Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, whose years of experience in Narnia and whose knowledge of Aslan and prophecies make them apt teachers for the children.  Father Christmas, a powerful, magic figure from another world, appears and bestows presents.  Despite his mysterious powers and origin, he, too, follows the established structures of Narnia, shouting “Long live the true King” as he leaves (109).  And, of course, Aslan reigns with absolute power over all.

Grossman’s text, however, undercuts the safety and order that is so firmly established in tales such as these.  In the first place, the family structure, so important to Nikolajeva, is nonexistent in Grossman’s book.  Brakebills is on a separate timeline from the rest of the country, and the changes make Quentin’s estrangement from his parents more pronounced than before.  Grossman writes, “If they had asked him—if they had put it out there for an instant that they were eager to see him, or that they would be disappointed if he didn’t come—he might have caved.  He would have, in a second.  But they were their usual blithe, oblivious, glassine selves” (200).  Alice’s parents openly hate each other, and they spend their lives doing pointless tasks.  Quentin speculates that it has been some time since the mom has spoken to anyone (204), and Alice’s father is simply ridiculous.  He spends years constructing period houses, but he tires of them in months.  He spills wine on himself.  Even his appearance is silly: his eyes bug out, and his calves are “plump and bone white; black bristles stood straight out from them in static astonishment” (203).  Instead of obeying their parents, or even having parents worth honoring at all, Quentin and Alice are able to condemn them.  Alice claims to hate her mother and father, and Quentin, too, has his doubts about which couple was worse.  Grossman writes, “Alice’s parents were toxic monsters, but at least you could see it.  His own parents were more like vampires or werewolves—they passed for human” (205).  In this way, the parental figures are mocked and dehumanized.  Moreover, the readers do not blame Quentin and Alice for their lack of devotion to their parents.  These are not rebellious children who deviate from a healthy social structure.  On the contrary, Quentin and Alice are mature adults who rightly critique their flawed parents.

Outside the family, The Magicians lacks other figures of authority as well.  The professors are troubled and flawed, like Mayakovsky, who, despite being married, had a sexual liaison with the student Emily Greenstreet.  Fogg, the dean, gives the students demons, so that if they ever need help, they will have an ally.  This in itself may be troubling enough, a far cry from the powers that Dumbledore is too noble to use (Rowling 11), but Fogg seems to have failed altogether with Quentin’s demon, who is slow, nearsighted, and of little help in an actual fight.  Like Father Christmas, there is a visitor from another world who appears unexpectedly; however, this visitor is Martin Chatwin, the Beast from Fillory who disrupts their lives and kills a student.  He does not defer to any authority; in fact, he boasts about the ease with which he kills gods (353).  This lack of order extends beyond the book’s major characters, even beyond its adults and its villains.  When the four students test into the physical magic discipline, for example, they do not seem to admire or even need the fifth-years Quentin and Alice, who feel like “relics of an earlier era” (199).There is no respect for Quentin and Alice’s knowledge or experience.  In Harry Potter, older students are constantly helping out younger ones, and younger students, like the Creevey brothers, are in awe of older ones.  Moreover, the structure of Hogwarts is such that some older students, the prefects and the head boy and girl, have specific responsibilities toward the others.  This builds a power hierarchy based on age, skill, and ability to help other students—a hierarchy that is noticeably absent in The Magicians.

Perhaps The Magicians’ most unsettling challenge to power hierarchies comes at the highest level—a questioning of the power and even relevance of a divinity.  Ember, the god figure of Fillory, is not omnipotent; he is even, sometimes, wrong.  He and Umber first summon Martin Chatwin to Fillory to fight the Watcherwoman.  Because of Martin’s visits to Fillory, he decides never to leave, and he becomes a non-human monster.  He kills Umber and wounds and imprisons Ember.  Ember then summons Jane to fight Martin and gives her a watch to control time.  If Ember had never brought either of them to Fillory, then Martin would not have turned into the monster that he became, and there would have been no need for a Watcherwoman at all.  Essentially, Ember is so desperate to get rid of Martin that he sets up Jane with the time-controlling watch.  But past-Ember did not know that the Watcherwoman was Jane, so he calls Martin to fight Jane, thereby eternally beginning the cycle.  Jane even tells Quentin that there was no universe—no alternate timeline—in which Martin never visited Fillory (381).  Perhaps this just shows the depth of Ember’s mistakes.  Perhaps it indicates a dreary determinism that no one can alter.  Either way, this portrayal of a god-like figure is a far cry from the triumphant victory of Aslan in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  As a result, Quentin learns not to rely on the authority figures, even those associated with the divine, to solve his problems or even to explain them.  In the end, Quentin and his friends must come to the aid of the imprisoned Ember, but they, likewise, are unable to save his life either.

In addition to the comfortable power structures seen in the Harry Potter series, another familiar aspect of the stories is their distinction as British boarding school novels, an already-established tradition into which Rowling’s series comfortably fits.  Much of the appeal of boarding school narratives comes in their celebration of British culture and in their “common themes related to the virtues of chivalry, decency, honor, sportsmanship, and loyalty.  Familiar features in the genre include competitive team sports in general . . . and [intramural] rivalry in athletics and other things in which points can be accumulated towards an annual championship” (Smith 73).  In Harry Potter, these are clearly shown by the Quidditch matches, the inter-house competitions, and specific ideals held by each house (e.g. Gryffindor with courage and chivalry, Hufflepuff with loyalty and a strong work ethic).  At boarding school, Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend a considerable amount of time together, learning not only their magical studies but also virtue and friendship.  As Hagrid says in the first Harry Potter book, “Seven years [at Hogwarts] and he won’t know himself” (58).  The stories may be safe for the readers, just as the school is a safe venue for Harry to grow and learn.  It is an immersive environment for Harry, marking a complete transition from the Muggle world to the Wizarding world.

Furthermore, Harry Potter goes to considerable lengths to avoid the areas of discomfort that were common in boarding school stories.  Smith describes the “rule of three,” in which boys in boarding schools were required to have a third companion to discourage homosexual experimentation (74).  She claims that many memoirists attest to such experimentation, and she likewise cites many examples of “traditional boys’ school stories” with clear homo-erotic subtext (75).  However, she argues that by making the third friend a girl, J. K. Rowling dilutes the Harry/Ron relationship; this leaves “no viable reading of the relationship between Harry and Ron as homoerotic” (75).  Eventually, the characters pair off into heterosexual couples.  In this way, Rowling continues to reinforce a strong sense of order and maintain, as Nikolajeva argues, traditional morals.1

Moreover, the sex both in the Harry Potter books and in the Narnia books is minimized, if it is even there at all.  One scholar notes the lack of even the possibility for sexual desire: “From the very beginning of C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, the major relationships between males and females are defined by friendship or by family, rather than through sexual desire” (Miller 114).   She adds that even when the possibility of marriage is suggested, sexual desire is either distant or nonexistent (114).  Narnia is a children’s world, created in innocence for children.  Similarly, the sexual desire in Harry Potter is understated.  Another scholar calls Harry “eternally pre-pubertal.  Hermione is a helper . . . .  Harry’s infatuation with Cho is just another attribute of the romantic hero: the chivalrous worship of a pretty—and exotic—lady ” (Nikolajeva 237).  Harry’s sexual experience in the series is limited to a few kisses.  The epilogue jumps ahead nineteen years, until after Harry has had children, but readers do not see this part of the narrative unfold, and the text gives no details about Harry’s marriage or his feelings on having children.  Nikolajeva writes, “. . . Harry is ridiculously uninformed.  Yet this is also a children’s literature convention” (237).  The lack of sex and desire within both The Chronicles of Narnia and the Harry Potter series is yet another way that these series create a comfortable space for their child readers.

In reexamining these two series in an adult-oriented novel, Grossman recasts his school setting in terms of a sexually charged student body, thus undercutting the safety of these formerly sex-free structures.  While Rowling’s boarding school novels took deliberate steps to avoid even a homoerotic subtext, Grossman confronts the issue directly.  He writes, “From this angle, the armchair might have blocked Quentin’s view, but it didn’t quite as Eliot fumbled jinglingly with Eric’s belt buckle, then his fly, then jerked down his pants, exposing his thin, pale thighs” (65). This passage is uncomfortable for the readers in a voyeuristic sense, and it trouble Quentin in the same way: “Quentin couldn’t have said why he waited an extra minute before he ducked back down the ladder. . . .  On some level Quentin was hurt: If this was what Eliot wanted, why hadn’t he come after Quentin?” (66).  As this passage continues, Quentin is both hurt and relieved that Eliot did not pursue him.  Quentin examines his sexuality and wonders whether or not he would have been able to have a liaison with his friend.  Quentin seems like a heterosexual for most of the book: he lusts after Julia, he has a long-term sexually active relationship with Alice, and he spontaneously has a one-night stand with Janet.  Still, his homo-erotic impulses, which are never resolved in the book, complicate his sexual development.

Furthermore, although a college is certainly different from a boarding school, the boarding school “rule of three” also applies to this text.  As in Harry Potter, the trio consists of two men and a woman: Quentin, Penny, and Alice.  Because the three of them were chosen to skip ahead a year (provided that they pass a test), “Quentin spent a lot more of his time with Alice and Penny now. [. . . They] found themselves drawing apart from their classmates” (61, 63).  Again, even as Grossman borrows from popular literary forms, he undercuts their familiarity and comfort.  In this case, instead of learning virtuous behavior, Penny and Quentin, both attracted to the same woman, become tense and uncomfortable around each other.  Quentin ignores Penny as much as possible and does not allow himself to think of him even as a friend.  Penny finally snaps and attacks Quentin, fails the test, and temporarily falls out of the story.  Penny’s removal from the picture pushes Quentin and Alice even closer, but their relationship is not necessarily a happy one.  He sleeps with Janet and Alice with Penny, and Alice dies before they can find proper resolution.

Closely tied to sexuality in these texts are the gender roles.  In Harry Potter, for example,  the comfortable power hierarchies rely on a traditional construction of gender.  Nikolajeva tells of the dynamic between Harry, a wealthy and famous man, blessed with two sons, and Ginny, a “model wife and mother” (238). Ginny has not had a career, nor does she complain about her lack of one; her presumed role as a housewife is expected and accepted by the characters and condoned by the text.  Moreover, she has given birth to three children, and the “two sons [are] already acting superior toward their little sister . . . traditional family values are permanent” (Nikolajeva 238).  I am not trying to argue that Harry Potter is sexist, per se—only that by centering on the traditional constructions of gender, it maintains a safe, comfortable structure.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe also depicts traditional gender constructions.  Lucy may well be the main protagonist, but since her narrative is placed in the context of powerful male figures, she has little actual authority.  Edmund manipulates her easily, first by bullying her about have seen Narnia, and then (after visiting Narnia himself and agreeing to corroborate her story) by denying Narnia in front of Peter and Susan.  Peter and Edmund fight in the battle against the Witch, while Father Christmas warns Susan and Lucy to defend themselves only “at great need.  For you also are not to be in the battle . . . battles are ugly when women fight” (109).  The kindly, wise professor is a fatherly male figure, and even the age-hierarchy within the Pevensie family is gendered: the first-born, a boy (and later, High King) protects the youngest, a little girl, the paragon of innocence.  As before, I am not trying to argue that the Narnia series is sexist: it is, perhaps, just a product of its time.  However, the gender roles as presented in the Narnia books draw on familiar stereotypes and long-held traditions, using them to reinforce the comfortable feeling of the texts.

One gender dichotomy that is potentially unsettling for the child reader is that of the White Witch and Aslan, since it provides a female Satan figure, changing the Biblical scenario of male deity and male devil.  Even here, however, whatever discomfort the Witch's gender would give readers is only troubling on the surface.  In the first place, it is clear in the story that the Witch, despite her evil plans and scheming, will not triumph. Aslan, as a powerful male deity, may be pitted against evil in the form of a beautiful woman, but he will defeat her, and by doing so, he rids Narnia of her evil and affirms, for the readers as well as the characters, the status quo. Her slaying of Aslan, Aslan’s resurrection, and the Witch’s downfall all resonate with the Christian Gospel, in which Christ triumphs over the devil, and Lewis’ readers would likewise expect a happy resolution to the novel.

Equally important to the readers’ comfort is the fact that her character still draws from so many powerful females from such a variety of familiar traditions (e.g. Classical myth, fairy tales, Christianity) that her gender does not become problematic.  In an unpublished letter, Lewis claims that the Witch “is of course Circe” (Graham 32).  Homer's wand-wielding antagonist who turns men into pigs certainly resonates with Lewis’ Witch, but so does Andersen’s Snow Queen, an ice-cold woman who captures a boy and changes the ways that he treats those around him (Miller 122). The biggest reason, on the surface, that the Witch’s gender might seem troubling is the fact that she “introduces a specifically female evil into the Christian story, for in the gospels the crucifixion is the fault of male authority figures: the chief priests and scribes, King Herod, and Pontius Pilate” (Graham 39).  However, while she is new to the Passion story specifically, she draws from many other Christian elements.  Mr. Beaver, when sharing her genealogy with the Pevensies, says that she is descended from Lilith, Adam’s first wife (81).  According to the tradition, Lilith refused his sexual overtures by claiming to be his equal; she is a seductress obsessed with power, who is both appealing and dangerous (Graham 35).  Moreover, as one of Adam’s wives, she immediately invites comparison with Eve—a comparison that is reinforced by the way in which she tempts Edmund with Turkish Delight.  Some traditions maintain that “Lilith caused the fall by inciting the menstruating Eve to seduce Adam,” and that, unlike Eve, who was the mother of the world, Lilith feeds on children.  This association makes Witch’s seduction of the child Edmund all the more terrifying.  Graham even calls Lilith “a female equivalent to Satan, the enemy of humankind . . . associated with death and hell” (35).  Likewise, the Witch’s control over Narnia and slaying of Aslan sets her up as a supreme type of evil, and Aslan’s rescue of the Narnians imprisoned in her castle is like the harrowing of hell.  In these ways, Lewis’ use of a female villain draws on long-established, familiar traditions of feminine evil.  When the Witch is ultimately defeated, the gender stereotypes become, if possible, even more familiar and nonthreatening, since the idea of a male defeating an evil female is reinforced.

Ultimately, in spite of the way in which Grossman’s novel subverts other comfortable structures found in Lewis’ and Rowling’s series, these same gender stereotypes appear in The Magicians as well.  In Fillory, the Watcherwoman is set up as a female villain similar Narnia’s Witch, and her “enchantments threaten to stall time itself, trapping all of Fillory at five o’clock on a particularly dreary, drizzly afternoon in late September” (6).  Her manipulation of time shows her power’s influence over all of Fillory, which is accessed through a portal in a clock.  Even Castle Whitespire, the palace on the eastern sea from which the Chatwins ruled, has clockwork that has been running perpetually for all of living memory (377).  Moreover, the Watcherwoman claims to have gotten her power by Ember’s permission (377), just as the White Witch claims that the Emperor-beyond-the-sea gave her the right to prey on traitors (142).  In addition to this insidious usurping of power through those already in authority, the Watcherwoman—that is, Jane Chatwin--manipulates people even beyond the realm of Fillory.  It is she who influences Quentin’s entrance exam to Brakebills, and she tends to him in the school infirmary when he is hurt, ensuring that he suffers no brain damage (85).  She even admits to Quentin that she watches him at school, though she herself makes “a point of not being seen” (83).  Quentin wonders “what part she was playing in his story, or he in hers” (84), but he does not find out until the novel’s end that she influenced him and his friends to travel to Fillory and confront Martin.  It was she, all along, deceiving him and pushing him to fight her battle for her.  Finally, her somewhat callous attitude toward death and her blatant confession to manipulation demonstrate her self-assurance and fearlessness.  She does what she wants.  As she tells Quentin, “I cut corners, sometimes at other people’s expense, but I had other things on my mind [. . .] I’m a witch, I’m not a god” (379).  This is simply an explanation, not an apology, and Quentin is furious that she “had used him, used them all like toys.  And if some of the toys got broken, oh well” (379).  This image of the subtle, manipulative female conforms to familiar gender stereotypes.

Rather than challenging these common gender models in a novel filled with challenges to other expected structures, The Magicians simply accepts these models and reuses them as necessary.  This novel has already reexamined such comfortable structures as power hierarchies and sexual content by weaving unsettling elements into the narrative in thoughtful, productive ways.  For example, in undercutting the power hierarchies in Quentin’s world, this novel keenly shows Quentin’s pain at being adrift.  He has no specific calling, which means that no one needs him, and his financial security means that he has no need for anything else.  Moreover, the lack of purpose or higher meaning has direct ties to reality, and it encourages readers to examine the purpose, or lack thereof, in their own lives. Because this text challenges readers with new ways of thinking about some traditional constructs, however, it draws even more attention to the unchallenged constructs that it still maintains.  That is, in a book where other comfortable structures have been challenged, the inclusion of traditional gender stereotypes becomes all the more troubling.  Perhaps the text implies that nothing can be gained by challenging them because readers—even these mature, intelligent, adult readers—are not yet ready to let go of this comfort.

Harry Potter and Narnia are comfortable for child readers because of their power hierarchies, their removal from sexuality, and their familiar gender stereotypes.  Although Grossman’s The Magicians is compelling and powerful because it refocuses two of these structures for adults, the persistence of stereotypical images of females in the novel suggests that sexism in fantasy literature is particularly difficult to rewrite.  Given the virtual lack of female characters in classic fantasy novels such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, along with present-day critics such as Ginia Bellafante who insist on calling Game of Thrones (and fantasy in general) “boy fiction” (C4), this is perhaps not surprising.  But as The Magicians demonstrates, revising other traditional power structures can open up new possibilities for fantasy literature, even while providing a way to keep such narratives grounded in the traditions of the genre.  As a result, we should not be afraid to challenge the persistent sexism within fantasy literature, even though it might seem to disrupt comfortable, familiar narratives, because it is through such challenges that the fantasy literature we know and love will continue to grow as a genre.

1 This article was published before Rowling’s famous announcement of Dumbledore’s homosexuality.  However, I would argue that the presence of homosexuality in the Harry Potter books does not negate their comfortable, “safe” aspects.  In the first place, Dumbledore’s sexuality is not made explicit in the text.  Secondly, he is not one of the heroes, nor is he a student.  Harry and his friends attend classes, bond with each other, learn courage, and begin dating, all apart from Dumbledore’s own love life.          
 Works Cited
Bellafante, Ginia. “A Fantasy World of Strange Feuding Kingdoms.” The New York Times. 14 April 2011. C4. Print.
Graham, Jean E.  "Women, Sex, and Power: Circe and Lilith in Narnia."  Children's Literature Association Quarterly 29.1-2 (2004) 32-44. Print.
Grossman, Lev.  The Magicians.  New York: Plume, 2010. Print.
Lewis, C. S.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  New York: Scholastic Inc., 1995. Print.
Miller, Jennifer.  “No Sex in Narnia?: How Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Snow Queen’ Problematizes C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia.” Mythlore 28.1-2 (2009): 113-130. Print.
Nikolajeva, Maria.  “Harry Potter and the Secrets of Children’s Literature.” Critical Perspectives on Harry Potter. Ed. Elizabeth E. Heilman.  2nded.  New York: Routledge, 2009.  225-241. Print.
Rowling, J.K.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1999. Print.
Smith, Karen Manners.  “Harry Potter’s Schooldays: J.K. Rowling and the British Boarding School Novel.”  Reading Harry Potter: Critical Essays. Ed. Giselle Liza Anatol.  Westport: Praeger, 2003.  69-87. Print.
Zipes, Jack.  Sticks and Stones: The Troublesome Success of Children’s Literature from Slovenly Peter to Harry Potter.  New York: Routledge, 2002. Print.