Dragons and Serpents in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series: Are They Evil?(Critical Essay) ONE OF THE GREAT PLEASURES of reading the Harry Potter series stems from the numerous mythological and literary references that J.K. Rowling has included in her magical universe. Rowling's amazing ability to merge these cultural allusions with material that is unique to her works is best illustrated by her depiction of the most familiar antagonists in the Bible and other works of literature, the serpent and the dragon. It is important to note that even though the term "dragon" is designated by the Latin draco while "snake" is designated serpens, in many literary texts and sources the symbolism of "serpent," "snake," and "dragon" are either synonymous or closely related (Rose 327). For instance, the Bible consistently identifies both the snake and the dragon with evil, and the term "dragon" was often used during the Middle Ages to denote the concept of sin (Gravestock 126). In addition, T. H. White's The Book of Beasts defines the dragon as the "biggest of all serpents" (White 165), and J.R.R. Tolkien classifies the serpent as a type of dragon, or Great Worm (Day 197). Contrary to this portrayal of serpents and dragons as interchangeable entities, J.K. Rowling makes a clear distinction in her series between these creatures as they serve different functions within the moral framework that she has fashioned. The serpents in the Harry Potter books are mainly associated with the forces of darkness against which the hero and his allies are destined to fight, while the dragons in the series are not specifically allied to either side in this cosmic battle.