The Fictional-Real Interface in Harry Potter Series: A Possible-Worlds Theory Approach


  • Wesam Mohamed Abdel- Khalek Ibrahim Department of English Language Tanta University, Egypt


Possible-worlds theory, accessibility relations, crossover fiction, Harry Potter series


This paper investigates the ways in which Possible-Worlds Theory account for the text world phenomena of the Harry Potter series. The Harry Potter books are considered the prototype of the crossover genre and also the main force behind the rise of the crossover genre as a marketing trend Two books are selected from the series, namely, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for their special status regarding adult readership and awards. Possible-worlds theory is a well-established approach to fictional worlds from literary theory and narratology. The theory can account for a number of phenomena including, for example, the relationship of the fictional world with the world we call ‘actual’, the introduction of different kinds of impossibilities into the fictional world, the study of character’s private worlds, the tellability of a fictional world which can be the reason behind its appeal to a wider readership, and potentially its commercial success, the relationship or potential linkage between different fictional worlds which can be manifested through instances of intertextuality or allusion, and so on. In this paper, I particularly focus on the relationship between the fictional world and the actual world in the light of Ryan’s (1991) accessibility laws. The study reveals that, by analysing the selected texts, the possible-worlds theory can account for the relationship between fictional worlds and the actual world as well as the introduction of impossibilities into fantasy text worlds. It also provides a useful classification of these impossibilities.


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How to Cite

Khalek Ibrahim, W. M. A.-. (2014). The Fictional-Real Interface in Harry Potter Series: A Possible-Worlds Theory Approach. AJELP: Asian Journal of English Language and Pedagogy, 2, 133–145. Retrieved from