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Harry Potter subject of study at University of Calgary

Amanda Bolton, a PhD student at the University of Calgary, is conducting a study on people's opinions of literary characters.

"I'm doing the study to learn more about what people really think of various literary characters. Most people assume that good characters are seen as being good, bad characters as bad, but it is not always that simple. Characters can be complex. In a good book, the author can really develop a complex, realistic character, and readers can see all of the character's good qualities and not so good qualities. When you have that kind of information, your opinions can also be more developed and complex."

But why Harry Potter? "My study is looking at Harry Potter characters in particular since they are well known by many people of all different ages and backgrounds. Really, this study could look at any characters. But I'm excited to be looking at Harry Potter since I enjoy reading the books myself. Once the study is done, I'll be able to say what people really think of some of the characters. I know there's a lot of debate about some of them."

And what has she found so far? "People do have a variety of opinions, but people also agree on many things. It will be very interesting to see what the final verdict is, and I can't wait to share it with everyone."

This study is still ongoing, and anyone 13 years old and older is welcome to participate. If you would like to give your opinions, you can go to

Published April 19, 2006

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