Animal symbolism: Prisoner of Azkaban

by | Jan 19, 2021 | College (1-2), Research Paper

Animal Symbolism

1.) Abstract

The animals within J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series play a very significant role throughout each novel. Rowling didn’t coincidentally choose these specific animals out of the blue, each animal has a specific background and meaning behind them. When digging into the four house mascots of Hogwarts; lion, badger, eagle, and snake, each animal represents the specific traits of the four houses. Every trait and motto that these houses stand for can be taken back to historical times. The lion stands for courage, badger is loyalty, eagle is wisdom, and the snake is ambitious. Those aren’t all that they are limited to being known for within the series but those are one of the main attributes connected with these animals. Not only are the house mascots important symbols, but there are several other animals such as the owls, cats, rats, etc. The animals play a huge role within the series and that is why I feel that this topic is very beneficial and important. People that would be interested in reading my paper would most likely be Harry Potter fans and animal lovers. Not only those type of people but also people who enjoy reading about mythology, and spirits within. Individuals tend to learn about spirit animals and their meanings, and I believe that those types of people would enjoy reading my paper. When it comes to me, I am honestly very curious about this topic because I love learning about animals whether they are real or mythical. It is just my own personal interest.

2.) Introduction Paragraph

When deciphering what an animal stands for one has to take into account the kind of animal that it is. Where does it stand in the food chain, and is it considered prey or a predator in the animal kingdom? Not only are those aspects important, but there’s more to it than just that. Animal symbolism can be connected to religious traditions across the globe and past centuries as well as greek myths. The animal symbols all contain secret meanings and are connected with the characteristics and nature of the specific animal being examined. In Marion Copelands literary review, “Animals in Fiction” she states, “ …beings of other species made to resemble humans so we can share in their lives in ways we cannot do in real life.” The animals are utilized to add to a sense of self for the individual. These symbols have higher meaning when placed in works of literature. In Rowling’s Harry Potter series it is clear that the first animal introduced was the cat, with that being Professor McGonagall that the cat transformed into. That cat is known worldwide as very cunning and independent, and curious. Animal symbolism within the Harry Potter series is very prevalent, and it has been utilized in ancient history in very similar ways as is in the series.

3.) Points to cover

The significance of the lion in Gryffindor goes hand and hand with bravery and chivalry, but the lion holds a different background in ancient history. According to an article titled, “King of Beats: Manipulation of the lion by Patriarchal Culture,” “Early Bronze Age peoples of the Mediterranean first chose the lion as a beautiful symbol of just and balanced law.”
Animals in literature tend to be connected to humans through fantasy and entertainment for the reader. The symbols work to build up the characters and assist them in their journeys.

4. Source list

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