Harry Potter and the Latin Legacy

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Harry Potter and the Latin Legacy
• Keep ’em Reading •
by | Susan Roth Rose
We know that our students are mesmerized by the continuing adventures of their favorite introspective magical hero—
Harry Potter. J. K. Rowling gives us an opportunity to
tap into our students’ interests and passions, especially when we can give them unusual tools with which to explore the richness of Rowling’s enchanting world.
The following suggestions and materials will work with any upper elementary or middle school students who are motivated to read Harry Potter books, or more likely, have already memorized the first five and can tirelessly debate any discrepancies between the books, the movies, and the video games. I have had success with fifth through seventh graders with the activities provided.
Lesson 1: The Roots of
Harry Potter’s Universe
Time Required: 30 minutes
Objectives:
• Students understand the role of mythology in
J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.
• Students make independent connections
between mythological figures and Harry
Potter characters.
Warm-up:
• Does anyone know what J. K. Rowling and I
have in common? (Hopefully someone will
know that Rowling is a former teacher; if not,
wow your students with this information.)
• Did she get all of her ideas out of her own
head? What may have influenced her?
Procedure:
Materials:
• complete set of Harry Potter series
• D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and
Edgar D’Aulaire (Random House, 1962)
• Mythology (Eyewitness Book series; DK
Publishing, 2005)
1. Brainstorm possible influences on Rowling’s
creativity and imagination. Some students
may have a background in mythology, most
may not. Use their knowledge to forward
connections.
2. Using D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, set up
connections between certain characters and
their mythological origins.
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• Argus Filch (caretaker of Hogwarts) =
Argus, hundred-eyed servant of the goddess Hera
Materials:
• Basilisk (monster in Chamber of Secrets
whose gazed turned to stone) = Medusa,
horrible Gorgon whose snake hair turned
all to stone
• D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek
Myths by Ingri and Edgar
D’Aulaire (Random
House, 1962)
• Fluffy (three headed “pet” of Hagrid
in Sorcerer’s Stone) = Cerberus, three
headed watchdog at the gate of Hades,
the Underworld
• several Latin/English dictionaries, enough so that four to five
students can share
• Sphinx (creature in Goblet of Fire maze
who asked Harry a riddle) = Sphinx in
Oedipus myth, who asked Oedipus the
riddle, “What walks on four legs in the
morning, two legs at noon, and three at
twilight?”
Warm-up:
Significance of names:
• Minerva McGonagle (Transfiguration instructor) = Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom
• Sybil Trelawney (Divination instructor) =
Sybil, the prophetess of the Oracle of Delphi,
who prophesies in riddles and whose meaning is clear in hindsight
Lesson 2: The Roots of
Harry Potter’s Universe:
What’s in a Word?
Time Required: two 30-minute sessions
Objectives:
• Students understand the influence of the Latin
language in Harry Potter books.
• Students reinforce and hone their dictionary
skills.
• Students use Latin prefixes and roots to
gain more understanding of Harry Potter
and way, way beyond.
2 • LibrarySparks • October 2006 Web Resources
• complete set of Harry
Potter series
• Solicit from students: What do we remember
about some of the influences in literature and
culture that may have inspired Rowling in her
writing?
• Do you think there were other influences that
may have helped her create such an interesting universe?
Procedure:
1. Solicit from students any spells, curses, or
charms that they might remember from their
favorite Harry Potter novel. You will hear
“Expelliarmus!,” “Stupefy!,” and “Wingardium
Leviosa” (the last will be complete with wand
movement, courtesy of the first movie). Ask
them: did Rowling invent these terms or did
she have help or inspiration?
2. After discussion, reveal that Ms. Rowling
received a classical English education and
studied Latin as part of her schooling. Explain
to the students that they are going to understand Harry Potter in a way that no one else
does!
3. Have students break into small groups (either
assigned or voluntary), then hand out Latin
dictionaries, one per group.
4. Hand out the worksheets on pages 4–8, each
group should receive one worksheet. Explain
the assignment to the students.
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a) Each worksheet has four words from the
Harry Potter books.
b) For each word, look up the Latin root in
the provided dictionary. Students may
need to be creative—they may not find an
exact match, they might have to choose a
prefix, rather than a whole word or they
may find something that is close but not
exact. Approximations are okay.
c) Students should try to define the word
and explain if they think it is a spell,
charm, curse, object, etc.
e) Extra points if students remember what
book it was used in and what the significance was. (It may have been used in
more than one book …)
5. Advise students to assign jobs within the
group (word searcher, recorder, Hogwarts history expert, etc.) to help complete the worksheet.
This assignment may take more than one period.
If it does, collect worksheets and dictionaries and
remind group members to put their names on
their worksheets.
After students have finished, share the glossary
with them and give them the Web site references.
Your students may find these sites very enlightening and they may not be aware that they are
learning linguistics!
What Harry Potter exercise is complete without a
dementor antidote? As a finale, ask the students
Harry Potter trivia questions and for every correct
answer, give them chocolate! Also, don’t forget the
power of chocolate as a consolation prize!
E E E
Susan Rose is a school librarian at the Northern
Lincoln Elementary School and Northern Lincoln
Early Center in Manville, Rhode Island. Feel free
to share your Harry Potter lesson inspirations with
her at [email protected]
October 2006 Web Resources • LibrarySparks • 3
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Harry Potter Universe
Latin Roots of Spells, Charms, Etc.
Group Member Names: ___________________________________________________________
For each of the following:
1. Look up the Latin root (you may have to be creative).
2. Try to define the word.
3. Do you think this is a spell? A charm? A curse? An object?
4. Extra points: Do you remember what book this was used in and what it really did in that book?
(It may have been used in more than one book …)
1
Accio
2
3
4
1
Veritaserum
2
3
4
1
Cruciatus
2
3
4
1
2
3
4
• LibrarySparks • October 2006 Web Resources
Stupefy
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Harry Potter Universe
Latin Roots of Spells, Charms, Etc.
Group Member Names: ___________________________________________________________
For each of the following:
1. Look up the Latin root (you may have to be creative).
2. Try to define the word.
3. Do you think this is a spell? A charm? A curse? An object?
4. Extra points: Do you remember what book this was used in and what it really did in that book?
(It may have been used in more than one book …)
1
Diffindo
2
3
4
1
Sonorus
2
3
4
1
Expelliarmus
2
3
4
1
Reparo
2
3
4
October 2006 Web Resources • LibrarySparks • Keep ’em Reading
Harry Potter Universe
Latin Roots of Spells, Charms, Etc.
Group Member Names: ___________________________________________________________
For each of the following:
1. Look up the Latin root (you may have to be creative).
2. Try to define the word.
3. Do you think this is a spell? A charm? A curse? An object?
4. Extra points: Do you remember what book this was used in and what it really did in that book?
(It may have been used in more than one book …)
1
Impedimenta
2
3
4
1
Reductor
2
3
4
1
Imperius
2
3
4
1
2
3
4
• LibrarySparks • October 2006 Web Resources
Patronus
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Harry Potter Universe
Latin Roots of Spells, Charms, Etc.
Group Member Names: ___________________________________________________________
For each of the following:
1. Look up the Latin root (you may have to be creative).
2. Try to define the word.
3. Do you think this is a spell? A charm? A curse? An object?
4. Extra points: Do you remember what book this was used in and what it really did in that book?
(It may have been used in more than one book …)
1
Impervius
2
3
4
1
Reducio
2
3
4
1
Incarcerous
2
3
4
1
Occlumency
2
3
4
October 2006 Web Resources • LibrarySparks • Keep ’em Reading
Harry Potter Universe
Latin Roots of Spells, Charms, Etc.
Group Member Names: ___________________________________________________________
For each of the following:
1. Look up the Latin root (you may have to be creative).
2. Try to define the word.
3. Do you think this is a spell? A charm? A curse? An object?
4. Extra points: Do you remember what book this was used in and what it really did in that book?
(It may have been used in more than one book …)
1
Incendio
2
3
4
1
Obliviate
2
3
4
1
Lumos
2
3
4
1
2
3
4
• LibrarySparks • October 2006 Web Resources
Nox
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Harry Potter Latin Roots Glossary
Accio: summoning charm
Cruciatus curse: the victim experiences extreme pain—
one of the unforgiveable curses, used in torture
“Crucio,” which is the spell word, is Latin for
“to torture.”
Diffindo: causes Cedric’s bag to rip open
Nox: “turns off” the beam of light from a wand from the
“lumos” spell
“Nox” is Latin for “darkness” or “night.”
Obliviate: memory charm
“Oblivio” is Latin for “forgetfulness.” Oblivious can mean
“lacking all memory.”
“Diffundo” is Latin for “scatter” or “pour forth,” which
is what happened to the stuff in Cedric’s bookbag in
Goblet of Fire.
Occlumency: the method of blocking Legilimency
Expelliarmus: disarming charm
Patronus: defense against dementors
Combination of “expel” (to force or drive out; eject forcefully) and “arma” (weapons [Latin]).
Patronus is Latin for “protector.”
Impedimenta: used for obstructing persuers
“Impedio” is Latin for “to hinder.”
Imperius curse: gives a wizard complete control over
his/her victim
“Impero” is Latin for “to command,” and “imperium” is
Latin for “absolute rule.”
From Latin occludo (to close, shut up, close off ) and
mens (the mind).
Reducio: counteracts an enlargement charm
“Reduce” means “to bring down in extent, amount or
degree; diminish,” and comes from Latin
“reducere,” which means “to bring back; return.”
Reductor curse: blasts solid objects out of
one’s path
“Reducere” is Latin for “to bring back.”
Impervius: spell used by Hermione to repel water from
Harry’s glasses in Prisoner of Azkaban
Reparo: repairs broken or damaged objects
“Reparo” is Latin for “to restore, renew, make good.”
“Impervius” means “incapable of being penetrated or
affected.”
Sonorus: spell used to magnify one’s voice
Incarcerous: spell used by Umbridge to bind the centaur Magorian
“Sono” is Latin for “to make a sound.”
Stupefy: stunning spell
“Incarcerate” means “to put in prison” or “subject to confinement.”
“Stupere” is Latin for “to be stunned.” “Stupefy” in English
means “to dull the senses of; daze.”
Incendio: spell to start a fire
Veritaserum: truth potion
“Incendo” is Latin for “to set fire to.”
“Veritas” is Latin for “truth.” A serum is a potion.
Lumos: spell to send a beam of light from the end of a
wand, like a torch (flashlight)—the counterspell is “Nox”
Web Lexicon Sources
“Lumen” is Latin for “light,” and “luminous” can mean
“giving off light.”
Mobiliarbus: spell used by Hermione to move a tree in
Three Broomsticks
mobile—capable of movement
arbor—tree (Latin)
Mobilicorpus: spell used by Black to move Snape when
he was unconsious
The Harry Potter Lexicon: Encyclopedia of Spells
www.hp-lexicon.org/magic/spells/spells.html
A fabulous treasure trove of Harry Potter
information!
Harry Potter Glossary
parentingteens.about.com/library/sp/harry/
glossary/blglossaryah.htm
Informative glossary.
mobile—capable of movement
corpus—body
October 2006 Web Resources • LibrarySparks • 
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