Themes and Motifs, Explained by Harry, Dumbledore and He Who Must Not Be Named

You don’t have to had read Harry Potter to understand this explanation of themes and motifs.

Novelty Revisions


Trudging back to our English major roots today to discuss themes and motifs, concepts that can be confusing even if you’ve been writing for a large fraction of your existence. To add a little magic to the mix, we’ll use Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to give you examples along the way.

First, let’s start with the difference between the two concepts. 

A theme is a story’s overarching main point.

The theme of your novel, for example, is the main message you’re trying to get across to your readers, or the lesson your main character learns as a result of the book’s events. Basically, the theme is the reason you’re telling the story. In the first Harry Potter book, desire is a theme J.K. Rowling uses to convey the importance of maintaining control of one’s own wants.

An overall theme can be displayed through multiple plot threads within…

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