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5 YA Tropes Harry Potter Uses (& 5 It Avoids)


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As a series that centers around pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults, Harry Potter fits into the young adult genre. The novels and films range from Harry’s eleventh birthday to the end of the Battle of Hogwarts seven years later. Harry, Ron, and Hermione grow and mature as they age and have dangerous experiences during that time. Several tropes appear in young adult novels, and while Harry Potter does not indulge in all of them, the franchise does not escape every trope in the genre.

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The books and movies have both portrayed young adult tropes throughout the installments. In some cases, the catalyst for the entire series relies on some of those tropes. But, there are some tropes the series evades.

10 Used: Corrupt Government

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The Ministry of Magic does have problematic tendencies, but Minister Fudge shows his worst failures after Voldemort’s resurrection. Fudge had been terrified of Voldemort, so instead of listening to Harry and Dumbledore, Fudge denied their claims and framed them as liars. Fudge placed Umbridge, a loyal employee, as the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor to ensure he would have a spy on Hogwarts grounds.

When Voldemort and the Death Eaters took over the Ministry, they placed Harry as Undesirable Number 1 while forcing Muggleborns to undergo trials as pureblood supremacists claimed that they had stolen their powers and wands from other wizards.

9 Avoided: Dystopian Future

A screenshot of Draco Malfoy, Gregory Goyle and Blaise Zabini stumbling upon the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

One of the most common tropes in young adult fiction is the dystopian society. In a world during the aftermath of a massive plague or destructive war, society has been recreated in a violent or oppressive image. The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner are all franchises that portray a dystopian future. Harry Potter is known for being its imaginative and extensive wizarding world. The wizarding world comes with years of backstory, numerous magical creatures, and political relationships between different species or blood status.

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As much ground as the wizarding world covers, the Harry Potter series takes place during the 1990s. The muggle world appears familiar to what audiences could relate to, while the wizarding world is fantasy.

8 Used: Dead Parents

Dead parents is a common factor in young adult series as it pushes the protagonist in an emotional direction. Harry grows up with his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon after Voldemort kills his parents. Without any memories of James or Lily, Harry relies on Hagrid, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin to fill in the blanks of what his parents were like.

Unfortunately, he also learns a fair share from the still bitter Severus Snape. Harry also faces his other deaths of parental figures, such as Sirius and Remus.

7 Avoided: Time Jump

Harry Potter shows Harry, Ron, and Hermione each year at Hogwarts and their time on the run. Since each installment records one year of school time, every major event in their lives is documented. The novels and films begin before the major event would happen, so fans aren’t trying too hard to catch up.

The only time in the series a true time jump occurs in the epilogue of the final book and the last minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. However, it is only meant to show that the main characters got a happy ending in the story’s context and is not used as a plot device for the next novel or film.

6 Used: Love Triangle

Harry Potter Harry, Hermione, and Lavender (Half Blood Prince), Ron (Order of the Phoenix)

Harry Potter does have its share of romances, even if they aren’t a prominent storyline. In “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” romantic feelings cause plenty of tension for Hermione, Ron, and Lavender. Ron’s relationship with Lavender sparks jealousy in Hermione. During “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” there were rumors about a love triangle between Harry, Hermione, and Viktor Krum. Rita Skeeter wrote articles slamming Hermione for playing with Harry and Viktor’s hearts.

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But, that wasn’t the only time Harry and Hermione’s friendship would be called into question. Cho Chang was upset with how close they were, and Ron also showed jealousy at Harry and Hermione’s relationship.

5 Avoided: Central Romantic Plot Line

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Hermione, Ron, Ginny, and Harry

Even with the romances that occurred in the series, it always remains a subplot. The main story always rests with Harry and his friendships with Ron and Hermione, the mysteries at Hogwarts, or the dangers connected to Lord Voldemort.

However, Harry does have two main love interests, Cho Chang and Ginny Weasley. His relationship with Cho fizzles out quickly, and fans have argued that Harry and Ginny’s relationship did not have enough buildup. The closest thing the series gets is the dynamic between Ron and Hermione. But, even that is a subplot to everything else they have going on.

4 Used: Coming Of Age

Harry Potter is very much a coming of age story. Beginning at eleven years old, Harry goes through several conflicts as he gets older. Harry, Ron, and Hermione all experience the highs and lows of growing up while preparing for a war with Voldemort and the Death Eaters.

They may be getting involved in some dangerous activities, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to live as normally as possible by attending Hogsmeade trips, talking back to teachers, or just avoiding homework. The final installment also begins with Harry’s seventeenth birthday, which marks becoming an adult in the wizarding world.

3 Avoided: Adults Are Useless

Adult roles in Harry Potter are mutually exciting and frustrating. In many aspects, the adults, as their parts are shown less than teenagers, may not appear as integral to the storyline. However, that is not the case. Even if they are not as included in the large-scale events, that doesn’t mean they did nothing at all. Dumbledore learned about Voldemort’s Horcruxes. Snape, one of the franchise’s most controversial characters, did not show signs of being anything more than an antagonist. But, he was actually working for Dumbledore as a double agent.

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Molly and Arthur Weasley may not have been as involved in war efforts, but they played a very integral role to Harry. The Weasleys are the first family Harry feels accepted by, and some of that has to do with Arthur and Molly’s willingness and excitement to include him.

2 Used: The Chosen One

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Harry

Harry Potter is the chosen one destined to defeat Lord Voldemort. However, it wasn’t that simple. Voldemort discovers he can be defeated by a boy born at the end of July whose parents had thrice defied him. As Voldemort prepares to be rid of the fated boy, there are only two options at his disposal, Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom.

When Voldemort marks Harry as his equal, Harry Potter becomes the boy of the prophecy, and ever since he begins Hogwarts, Harry finds his life in constant danger. Harry would be the person to defeat Voldemort, and no one else could take the position.

1 Avoided: Outsider

Ron, Luna, Neville, Hermione, Harry and Ginny Are 6 of Rowling's Big Seven

Harry may not have a lot of close friends, but he isn’t an outsider. From the beginning, Harry’s most significant relationships are with Ron and Hermione. As time goes on, Harry also learns he can rely on Neville, Ginny, and Luna during the Ministry Battle.

He is also on the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, later becoming Captain. Even when Harry is outcasted by most of the school, especially during the Triwizard Tournament, there are still people who stand with Harry. When he feels he is alone during his fifth year, Luna breaks through to him.

NEXT: Harry Potter: The 10 Most Confusing Things About Quidditch

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Updated: November 26, 2020 — 1:00 am

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