One of the biggest ways that J. K. Rowling sets the mood for the Harry Potter world is through the lighting in the wizarding world. However, it seems to me that practicality has been overlooked in the wizarding world, when it comes to lighting. Hogwarts castle is an ominous building with dark passageways that are lit only by an occasional dim, flickering candle.
Candles float above the tables in the Great Hall, which, granted, by their sheer numbers, could light the room. Filch carries a candle through the dark passages and Harry uses a lantern to go to the restricted section of the library.
However, a question arises out of this use of candles. Wizards (and witches) have the power to make advanced developments to have better lighting available. While electricity will not work at Hogwarts, surely a substitute could have been devised. Wizards do have their own radios, after all. So why do wizards still use candles as their main source of light?
The first reason that I can think of is to keep tradition. Wizards, especially those from wizarding families like Draco's, are very outspoken about keeping wizarding traditions alive.
Another possibility that I can think of is that the wizards' candles are different from the muggle candles that we all know. Maybe they are enchanted to glow brighter and longer than muggle candles. This, of course, would solve the problem and the candles are at least enchanted to float above the Great Hall tables.
I think the biggest reason that J. K. Rowling used candles in the books is to preserve the setting of an ancient, haunted castle full of magical people and objects. Whatever the reason, the candles of Hogwarts add a touch of magic to the book and are just one of the many wonderful elements that J. K. Rowling uses to create the world of Harry Potter.
By Amanda Smith
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