• Daemons and Pets as signifiers of social class

    Alison Baker (see profile)
    Sociology, Speculative and Science Fiction
    Twentieth century, Children's literature, Social classes, Young adult literature
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Nine Worlds
    Conf. Loc.:
    Conf. Date:
    16th August 2016
    children's literature, Fantasy fiction, J. K. Rowling, Phiip Pullman, 20th century, Class
    Permanent URL:
    This paper seeks to examine whether daemons (which take the shape of animals) and familiar animals indicate the social class of characters in Harry Potter and His Dark Materials. Both series of books for young people were started at a time when neo-liberal politics were at the forefront of government, both in the late years of John Major’s Conservative government and Tony Blair’s New Labour government, which did little to challenge the assumption that Britain was meritocratic and that poverty was not an “excuse for failure” . I will use a Bourdieuian approach to class to discuss daemons and familiar animals as markers of social class. We are told in Northern Lights (1995) that children’s daemons (physical manifestations of the inner self, or soul) are mutable. Lyra’s daemon changes to suit her mood, circumstances or will. However, the more powerful the adult character in the His Dark Materials trilogy, the higher the status of the daemon is. The servants of Lyra’s home, Jordan College, all have dogs as daemons. In the wizarding world of Harry Potter, children are permitted to bring an animal with them to Hogwarts. Since Harry has discovered that he is rich, he can afford to buy the best familiar available- a white owl, but we learn a lot about his friends’ social status through their animals.
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
    All Rights Reserved
    Share this:


    Item Name: docx daemons_and_pets_as_signifiers_of_social.docx
    Activity: Downloads: 145