So why should Harry Potter be studied instead of Silas Marner? In my view it’s a no-brainer. I’d swap in an instant, and not just because I’m a massive Harry Potter fan. No I actually have quite a few decent “Englishy” reasons as well, most of which I shall present to you in this hopefully convincing argument.
Firstly both books have the overriding theme of good defeating evil. In Harry Potter, Harry defeats Voldemort and in Silas Marner, Silas also defeats evil; it just isn’t in the form of a single character, instead in the form of a whole village, Lantern Yard, which starts off most of Silas’ problems and leads to him becoming the social outcast who is presented through most of the book.
Harry Potter has the main character suffering for quite a long period of time, similar to Silas’ suffering. In Harry Potter, he loses both his parents at one year old and then spends the next ten years of his life with his aunt and uncle who despise him. In Silas Marner, Silas loses everything he has including his would-be family when his best friend betrays him and he has to leave the only home he has known. The betrayal of a supposed best friend is also displayed in Harry Potter and is how his parents come to be killed, again starting off his years of suffering the same as in Silas Marner.
Although both characters suffer tragedy and become social outcasts (Harry bullied at school and hated buy family, Silas a weaver who isn’t part of community), they both also find hope and something much better than what they previously enjoyed or had. Silas loses his gold but then discovers Eppie and becomes part of community again and Harry discovers friends and a new community/family at Hogwarts.
Harry Potter also has the same theme of the corrupt upper class as Silas Marner. In Harry Potter the Malfoys are presented as rich but are also unlikeable and often cruel to the ‘lower’ class witches/wizards. Harry Potter also has the key feature of the less well-off being the true community leaders, in this case the Weasleys who take Harry in and are key members in the defeat of Voldemort. In Silas Marner it is the inn keeper and Dolly Winthrop who look after Silas and bring him back to the community.
And, finally, people have already read the book. Or seen the film. And enjoyed it (at least I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t…). I mean that saves at least one lesson as the plot doesn’t have to be explained or the characters introduced….Also after six months of studying Silas Marner it’s boring, but I have the feeling that if we spent six months studying Harry Potter… most people wouldn’t be bored.