Not just a "rather nasty experience": Loss and longing in modern young adult fantasy
Deriving many storylines and tropes from folk tales and fairytales, traditional children's fantasy literature often depicts orphaned protagonists. These adventure stories, however, minimize the emotional affects of the loss of a parent. The rapid pace of the adventure does not invite the exploration of subjects such as death and grief, but both J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and Joss Whedon's television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer reinvent the ways that orphaned adolescents are portrayed within fantasy narratives. Using what Peter Brooks and Roberta Seelinger Trites term narrative repetitions, both series illustrate both the cathartic and immobilizing aspects of returning to certain images and ideas as part of the grieving process. This thesis aims to show that through the use of narrative repetitions, Rowling and Whedon's texts create a new paradigm for young adult fantasy which synchronizes the direct and allegorical treatments of subjects such as death and grief.