Beyond the twin cores: the motif of doppelganger in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series

Arslan, Murat
The aim of this thesis is to analyze the doppelganger motif Harry Potter series which is written by J.K. Rowling and belongs to both fantasy literature and children’s literature. It begins with an overview of the uncanny, the fantastic and the interpretations of the double / doppelganger. The doppelganger motif originates from the duality of ancient times but the earlier form of the double is mostly a good visual twin. Later, especially in Gothic fiction, it appears as an evil twin who haunts and pursues the self. Sigmund Freud argues that the double turns into an uncanny omen of death. In the series, it is observed that Voldemort’s return from Harry’ past corresponds to Freud’s uncanny; Voldemort’s haunting and pursuing Harry is an uncanny omen of death. However, there are many similarities between Harry and Voldemort such as the bond of the twin cores, their family background and the ability to speak Parseltongue. Above all, a part of Voldemort, in the form of a Horcrux, resides in Harry. Voldemort represents both the external evil and the evil within Harry. Like many other Gothic examples of the self, Harry wants to restore the order in himself. By killing the doppelganger and awarding Harry with a rebirth, Rowling keeps the tradition of death in relation to the motif of doppelganger and provides the suppression of the evil both in human and in society. This study shows that the doppelganger motif is created by the polarization and mergence of the self and the doppelganger and it keeps the Gothic tradition by destroying the evil.


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Citation Formats
M. Arslan, “Beyond the twin cores: the motif of doppelganger in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2015.