Harry Potter as TCK Lit

In July of 2014, two of my kids challenged me to read the entire Harry Potter series. Although we were first in line to get the books through the years and my children dressed up for the movies, hitting the midnight opening shows more than once, I had (shamefully) not read them.

So I took the challenge, and six months later on New Year’s Day I read the last sentence “All was well” and, realizing I had finished, I burst into tears. I had fallen in love with Harry Potter and all the people in his world.

It wasn’t until later that I realized how much Harry Potter’s world resembled the world of the third culture kid. Harry Potter lived between, learning to negotiate the Muggle world, even as his life in the wizard world was not perfect. Harry Potter’s best friends were like TCK best friends, who stick with you through the years, even though you go through times of not speaking or hating each other. Harry Potter knew he was ‘other’ when he was with his relatives, the ghastly Dursley family. The first sentence in the book is a perfect description of this Muggle family:  “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

Through all seven books, Harry’s adventures are relatable to the kid who has lived on three continents and knows several different languages. He even speaks Parseltongue, making him a bilingual hero.

But it was this paragraph that convinced me that Harry Potter was a third culture kid: “Harry kicked off hard from the ground. The cool night air rushed through his hair as the neat square gardens of Privet Drive fell away, shrinking rapidly into a patchwork of dark greens and blacks, and every thought of the Ministry hearing was swept from his mind as though the rush of air had blown it out of his head. He felt as though his heart was going to explode with pleasure; he was flying again, flying away from Privet Drive as he’d been fantasising about all summer, he was going home… for a few glorious moments, all his problems seemed to recede to nothing, insignificant in the vast, starry sky.” [Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, pp 54-56.]

So call me crazy, but this series will definitely be in my resource list for TCK lit. For the thousandth time, I thank JK Rowling for regifting the gift of imagination.

I’ve included some of my favorite quotes in today’s post. Enjoy, and, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, feel free to add your own.

On Adventure:

Adventure HP quote

On Dreams: 

HP Quote version 2

On being a stranger in our passport countries: 

Snape quote

On Being Yourself:

Luna Lovegood 2

On third culture kid connections:

hearts beat as one


14 thoughts on “Harry Potter as TCK Lit

  1. I never really thought of HP as a TCK but it makes a lot of sense, also it strikes me as kind of funny how his best friends were essentially TCKs themselves, Hermione being the reverse TCK and Ron while not exactly from a different culture was definitely from a different economic bracket which set him apart as well. (plus dad was obsessed with muggles so that didn’t help). So often in real life TCKs end up with other TCKs simply due to the fact that as humans we all seek community, and its easiest to have community with those who understand you. (PS. As a TCK married to another TCK this applies to me as well :p)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh which book is that Snape quote from? I totally see this as a TCK book now that you mention it!! What a discovery!!!


  3. Thanks for reminding me Marilyn.
    My favourite quote – and its off the top of my head so may not be word perfect-
    “It’s our choices Harry, that show what we truly are – far more than our abilities.”
    Albus Dumbledore
    So much wisdom scattered through the books.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes! I totally agree with you! I think that’s one reason people become so in love with Hogwarts and can relate to Harry’s feelings of having to exist “between” that and the niggle world. And thanks for pulling out these great quotes! 😄😄


  5. Thanks, Marilyn! I loved your post today and the great quotes too! There are so many great children’s books that are good reads for third culture kids. I just posted about Wonder by R.J. Palacio and how that was tailor made for TCKs as well. I’m working on a reading list for TCKs to put on my blog at Kids Books Without Borders. I would love to hear your suggestions. Ruth Van Reken, co-author of Third Culture Kids is sending me her list as well. I also wanted your readers to know that I have copies of the Harry Potter books available for families living overseas (Kidsbookswithoutborders.wordpress.com).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAY! I still need to put your logo onto my blog. I’ve been meaning to update the look for awhile. Do you want to do anotherh guest post on TCK Lit? I’d actually LOVE to have you be a regular contributor to CAB.


  6. Oh so many great quotes!

    “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

    and “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.” :-)


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