Author Information

Laurie Delaney


The appeal of the Harry Potter series for adults is often attributed to its ability to speak to fundamental questions of human existence. Here, Edmund Kern finds a Stoic moral teaching as Harry employs his reason to balance his desires against the demands of the world. The problem with this argument is that it misses the centrality of friendship to Rowling’s account of virtue which suggests that Rowling’s theory of virtue is properly understood in Aristotelian terms. Pursuing the question of the manner and extent to which the Harry Potter series provides an Aristotelian account of virtue, my analysis begins by exploring Aristotle’s understanding of friendship before applying this understanding to the Harry Potter series. I argue that the Harry Potter series is grounded on an Aristotelian conception of virtue where friendship serves as the fundamental, complete virtue allowing one to lead a good life.

Note on the Author

Laurie Delaney, from Dedham, is a senior majoring in Political Science. This research began in the summer of 2008 as an Adrian Tinsley Program Summer Grant project under the direction of Dr. Jordon Barkalow, and has expanded into a two-semester honors thesis. Laurie will be presenting her research at the 2009 Midwest Political Science Association conference.

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