Nature vs. Nurture in the Wizarding World

One of the most common forms of psychology, developmental psychology, highlights the notion of “Nature versus nurture” in an individual’s personality. If one’s personality is dominated by his or her nature, that means their personality is the way it is due to factors that were assigned at birth. On the other hand, if one’s personality is dominated by the ways he or she was nurtured, upbringing and environment would be the main principles in his or her personality. In the Harry Potter series, many characters are controlled by their senses of nature and nurture, but which seems to be the more popular of the two in the wizarding world?

1. Tom Riddle’s inability to love stems from the fact that he was conceived by means of a love potion. Nature.

2. Although Draco Malfoy was born pure-blood (Nature), his parents raised him to believe that those with a pure status are better than Muggle-borns or half-bloods. Nurture.

3. Harry is known as the Boy Who Lived after the death of his parents and his survival from Lord Voldemort. Nature.

4. Hermione is the “brightest witch of her age.” This most likely comes from the fact that her parents influenced her to place an importance on education. Nurture.

5. Most of the Death Eaters come from pure-blood families who dislike Muggles and partake in the Dark Arts. Bearing in mind the notion that people are not born evil, this means that their families had an influence in their moralities as they grew up. Nurture.

6. Harry Potter is sorted into Gryffindor, while Draco Malfoy is sorted into Slytherin. Harry learned to become brave in his situation with the Dursleys, whereas Draco comes from a Slytherin family and therefore most likely shares many of the same views as his family. Nurture.

7. Students receive their Hogwarts letters at the age of eleven. Due to the fact that Squibs and Muggle-borns exist in the wizarding world, it is clear that this factor is not controlled by one’s environment. Nature.

Both nature and nurture have an extremely influential role in the Harry Potter series since they both control one’s life decisions, paths, and opportunities. While nature is predetermined and out of one’s control, nurture is much more flexible and multi-dimensional, and many characters are able to resist their environments (such as Sirius Black, who maintains a completely different path from his cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange).