Harry Potter and the Raging Hormones

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While perusing film reviews for the highly anticipated movie version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I discovered two common themes: the film has an strong focus on adolescent romance, and film reviewers were smitten by it. This is especially fascinating when one considers that the same reviewers, as a general rule, tend to eschew films dealing with teen dating as either bubble-gum romances or hormone-driven romps (which, incidentally, seems to be  the standard adult reaction to young love in real life as well).

Why then, do literary and movie critics, along with the general public, praise the Harry Potter series’ portrayal of teen love? Perhaps because, even in its fantasy setting, it approaches the topic with honesty and frank realism:

These kids are deep in puberty, and all they want to do is kiss and touch each other. It’s to the massive credit of [director] Yates and [screenwriter] Kloves that the teen sexuality comes across as neither puritanical or crass. There’s a sweetness here, the sweetness of the first kiss and the inarticulate aching for something more. But Yates and Kloves (and Rowling, of course) don’t see this through the fog of nostalgia. They fully understand the pain that goes along with this exciting and confusing part of life.”- CHUD MAGAZINE

By “sexuality,” the reviewer refers to attraction, not actual sex, which is never introduced into the Potter series. The point is that adolescents have very real hopes, yearnings, joys, and heartaches in their relationships. These emotions, far from being hollow, are experienced all the more acutely because of their newness and because previous experience cannot be called upon to provide insight and help with coping. The highs seem impossibly high, the lows impossibly low, and, as one discovers in the character of Severus Snape, adolescent experiences help mold adult personalities.

In this regard, the magical fantasy of Harry Potter shares a common thread with ACHMI’s teen initiative, Be Real Teens, whose purpose is both to acknowledge the validity and depth of the teenage dating experience and to provide guidance, from their peers, to adolescents navigating these often turbulant waters. This initiative is both a creative and academic enterprise, combining  the most current research with the minds, voices, and experiences of over twenty Alabama teens to promote healthy and happy relationships via our website, videos, a stage play, radio ads, a blog, and more. The website, realteenrelationships.com, is currently being remodeled, but we’ve got big plans for this year, so keep checking back in, and advise any teens you know to do the same!

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2 Responses to “Harry Potter and the Raging Hormones”

  1. surveysavvy Says:

    Great books and great movies, makes me want to be a wizard!

  2. Sophie Tanzer Says:

    Hi – It’s good to find such topical writing on the Web as I have been able to discover here. I agree with most of what is written here and I’ll be returning to this website again. Thanks again for publishing such great reading material!!

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