English and Modern Languages


Master of Arts (MA)


William Gribbin


Dumbledore, Harry Potter, Lawrence Kohlberg, Stages of Moral Development, Merlyn, Once and Future King, Progressive Theory


Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, Anglophone outside British Isles and North America | Literature in English, British Isles | Literature in English, North America


The Once and Future King (1957) and the Harry Potter series (1997-2007) are Bildungsroman stories of young, orphaned boys, Wart and Harry, who endure extraordinary circumstances and become wise, mature, and heroic. The transformation that they undergo is the effect of strong education from their teachers, the wizards Merlyn and Dumbledore. This thesis uses progressive educational theory to demonstrate the model these wizards employ. This study also utilizes a study of discourse grammar and Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development to discuss the nature of Wart’s and Harry’s education. Because of the moral education demonstrated in the stories, reading them can have a positive impact on the development of readers of these popular fantasy novels.