HPEF presents Infinitus 2010, a Harry Potter conference            TEXT  MENU

July 15-18, 2010
Orlando, Florida

The psychology of adolescent friendships in the Harry Potter books  
Susan Schutjes  

“You need your friends, Harry.” (Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, p79).

Friendship is an important issue in the Harry Potter books. Without it, Harry would never have made it past the Devil's snare, known how to get by the Hungarian Horntail or survived his dangerous journeys in Deathly Hallows. The importance of friendship for Harry has been acknowledged before. However, this paper addresses the development of (adolescent) friendships from a psychological point of view.

Questions that will be answered are divided into two parts:
I. The psychology of friendship
- What is friendship?
- What kinds of friendship exist?
- How does friendship develop?
- What are the key influences on friendship, according to psychological research?
- What influence does being an adolescent have on friendship?

II. Friendship in Harry Potter
- How does J.K. Rowling portray friendship and its development?
- What kinds of friendship may be found in the Harry Potter books?
- In what way does the way J.K. Rowling portrays friendship differ from or agree with the psychological theories?
- Does it matter that Harry Potter is an adolescent for the strength or form of the friendships in the books?
- What can we learn from the friendships in Harry Potter?
After this presentation you will have a better understanding of the intricacies of friendships in the Harry Potter world. And maybe you will be able to apply the knowledge acquired on your own friendships!

An avid fan of Harry Potter since 2001, Susan Schutjes (34) enjoys re-reading the books and exploring all possible books about the Harry Potter series. She is a major in Work- and Organizational Psychology and works as a project member at a consultancy firm in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. JK Rowling did not influence her in her decision to join, but Susan is a volunteer at Amnesty International. She writes articles for a quarterly regional bulletin and gives presentations about the organisation.
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