‘Story Time:’ Chronos and Kairos in Harry Potter

With this post, I welcome M. Brett Kendall of Muggle Matters and Fordham University to the Faculty of HogwartsProfessor.com. Longtime readers of this site and serious readers of Harry Potter know Professor Kendall as ‘Merlin’ and as the man who both predicted the central place Harry’s ‘Expelliarmus’ spell would play in Deathly Hallows as well as the chiasmus structure of the seven book series. This last is the foundation of all discussions of Ring Composition in the books and Prof. Kendall’s insight here reflects his background in Hebrew Bible studies and traditional literature. His opening post is a challenging piece on the understanding of time within the narrative of the Hogwarts Saga. I hope you will join me in welcoming Professor Kendall to the forward dais and faculty table here in the Great Hall.

Thank you, Professor Granger.

I have a joke that when I am not doing much and a friend asks what I am up to, I reply that I am busy committing “chrono-cide” … just killing time. “Chronos” is one of two Greek words for time. It means “clock time,” the simple material succession of events. The other Greek term for “time” is “kairos.” This is the term for “special time,” unique moments. In this post I will discuss narrative in Harry Potter (and in general) as an intersection, and special relation, between these two concepts of time. In short I will say that Harry Potter as “story time” is part of what attracts us so much to the works.

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