The pronouns an author uses can offer readers new insights into a text. I was curious whether the Wizarding World was, for instance, as patriarchal as the world I inhabit as a reader.
Well, it sure is (at least based on pronouns). Just look!
- he (20,465)
- it (12,724)
- you (12,503)
- they (5,941)
- she (4,820)
- we (2,833)
Let’s just be clear: the common masculine pronoun “he” is used over four times as frequently as the “she”. Four times.
Seeing these data, a whole wave of new questions hits me. For instance, when I read the series I actually thought it had some very powerful and compelling female characters: Hermione, Professor Mcgonagall, Mrs. Weasely, Luna, and even Bellatrix.
But when I see how overwhelmingly masculine the Wizarding World is, it makes me want to reread those characters more closely. Is it, for example, that while female characters are referred to more their roles are of greater significance than it first appears?
The numbers here don’t lie: masculine pronouns reign supreme in the book series. But I suspect they don’t tell the whole story either.
That’s our job. -TLL