The Education of a Witch: Tiffany Aching, Hermione Granger, And Gendered Magic in Discworld and Potterworld (Critical Essay) The Education of a Witch: Tiffany Aching, Hermione Granger, And Gendered Magic in Discworld and Potterworld (Critical Essay)

The Education of a Witch: Tiffany Aching, Hermione Granger, And Gendered Magic in Discworld and Potterworld (Critical Essay‪)‬

Mythlore 2009, Spring-Summer, 27, 3-4

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CONTEMPORARY FANTASY OFTEN REFLECTS SOCIAL ANXIETIES about issues such as education and gender and the responsible use of power. The training of a young person in how to use his or her budding talents wisely is a common trope in children's and young adult fantasy, echoing a primary concern of its audience. Tied up with the depiction of education are broader social issues of gender inequality and access to power; in keeping with this, some fantasy novels depict societies where education in women's magic and men's magic is entirely separate and reflects deeper social divisions, while others show more inclusive societies where both sexes are educated together to use more generic powers and expected to participate in society in a more equal fashion. (1) The defining characteristic of the heroines of two recent YA fantasy series is a similar overwhelming determination to learn how to use their magical powers against any odds. Both the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling and the Tiffany Aching sub-series of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books feature a young heroine whose thirst for knowledge overcomes all obstacles. However, the environments and societies in which they work towards their goals are very different, and reflect two important ways of thinking about gender in education, work, and power. The system in Harry Potter's world is one of co-education, where all humans who have magical potential theoretically have equal access to the same education and to positions of power in any field after graduation; in contrast, on Discworld, witches and wizards occupy totally different niches, are trained separately according to traditional concepts of gender-related strengths and weaknesses, and tend to value and excel in different types of work. Both heroines face obstacles from the very start: Tiffany is from the sheep-farming, magic-distrusting Chalk Downs country, and it is common knowledge (among witches, at least) that you can't grow witches on chalk (Wee Free Men 7), while Hermione is summoned to Hogwarts from a pure Muggle family with no history of magical talent. Responding to a calling in the blood, Tiffany and Hermione both recognize that the opportunity to gain knowledge is the opportunity to gain power--power to control their environments, to chart their own courses in the world, and to protect those they care for.

GENRE
Professioneel en technisch
UITGEGEVEN
2009
22 maart
TAAL
EN
Engels
LENGTE
24
Pagina's
UITGEVER
Mythopoeic Society
GROOTTE
218,8
kB

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