Harry Potter: A Modern Day HeroByRonda Anita Phillips BaileyA thesis submitted to the School of Communications of Webster ...
I would like to thank Dan,Valerie, Ronnie, Sheila, Margaret, Terry, Holly and ClintFor their never ending encouragement, s...
AbstractHarry Potter: A Modern Day Media HeroByRonda Anita Phillips Bailey“Pottermania” grows stronger and stronger with e...
Table of ContentsAcknowledgements iiAbstract iiiTable of Contents ivIntroduction 1Premise Statement and Limitations 3State...
Introduction“Pottermania” and “Potterism” are two words created by journalist to describe thesensational reaction caused b...
critics who examine everything from the moral aspects of the book to the literary geniusof the author.What has made the Ha...
Premise StatementThe premise of this thesis is to examine the complexities of heroes and heroinesin the Harry Potter films...
Statement of ProblemHarry Potter has stirred the waters of controversy while provoking thoughts ofmorality and societal no...
Prior research on this topic has been studied and written about by the followingauthors: Edmund Kern, Joseph Campbell, Eli...
MethodologyThe premise of this study is to research the complexities of heroes and heroines inthe Harry Potter films, alon...
Filmmakers understand the lure of the narrative, “which includes two basiccomponents: the story (what happens to whom) and...
Literature ReviewWhether good or bad, the controversy surrounding Harry Potter continues to be ahot topic in all parts of ...
Joseph Campbell says, in response to Bill Moyers the imminent timeliness ofmythological stories, “The themes are timeless,...
Campbell’s twelve-step mythic story structure in helping him finish his epic series.“Lucas’ infamous indebtedness to Campb...
Witchcraft (noun) – Magic, sorcery; Wicca; a magical or irresistible influence, attraction,or charm.Magic (noun) - The pra...
Harry Potter: A Modern Day HeroThe Harry Potter series has become a publishing phenomenon and has also madethe movie indus...
The Wardrobe. The world of Harry Potter exists alongside the everyday world, witchesand wizards exist alongside muggles wh...
J.K. RowlingJ.K. RowlingHarry Potter has been called a publishing phenomenon.The book series has sold more than 300 millio...
favorite scene and was inspired by the loss of her own mother. The love of Harry’smother and the loss of his parents are t...
took five years after her London train trip to finish the first book, which she typed on amanual typewriter (Kirk 51). She...
characters. Every culture has hero figures, and although these figures may ostensiblydiffer from one another all are defin...
Harry Potter: Plot BackgroundHarry Potter is the name of a book series, of which six out of seven books havebeen published...
below the school and must combine their talents in order to save the stone and thewizarding community from Voldemort’s pos...
Each movie grows darker and finds Harry, Ron, and Hermione leaving childhoodbehind while continuing to develop life-long f...
Cultural Importance of Fantasy Themed StoriesFor centuries, cultures have created myths, stories, and folklore to teach so...
mythological stories provide an intellectual framework which can be integrated intoexisting and learned experiences. Prese...
seen immediately defending Hermione when Malfoy, their archenemy, begins to callHermione a mudblood. Viewers learn that ra...
The Mythological development from Oral Interpretation to the Hollywood ScreenAlbert Cook, author of Myth and Language, wri...
those rituals are mythological rites (Moyers 11). Harry Potter is set on a ritualistic pathand must follow his own journey...
Lévi-Strauss and MythLévi-Strauss is a structural anthropologist who is known for his studies inmythology. Structural anth...
cultural societies and is one that is synonymous with other mythological stories toldwithin and among civilized cultures.L...
confronting the same everyday challenges viewers often find themselves facing. TheHarry Potter series fits the Levi-Straus...
Carl Jung: ArchetypesCarl Jung developed the psychological framework for archetypes, which hedescribes as genetic blueprin...
Strauss and Jung both concentrated their efforts in discerning the role andmeanings of myths and stories within the human ...
Joseph Campbell: An authoritarian on mythological heroes“Joseph Campbell is my Yoda” (George Lucas).George Lucas is one of...
Campbell explains that man celebrates the tales of heroes and their deeds in orderto explain his or her own place in the u...
then descend into an abyss of uncertainty, become resurrected, and finally returnvictorious.To better understand Campbell’...
The Heroic AdventureCampbell Harry PotterI: DepartureThe call to adventure- the heroicfigure is made aware of a placebeyon...
Cat. The more dramatic threshold is whenHarry joins Hermione in defying time by useof the Time Turner, in order to save th...
The Prisoner of Azkaban: Harry becomesacquainted with his father, James, closestfriends and must accept the true identity ...
by Voldemort himself to join him.Atonement with the Father-aparental figure is responsible forguiding the hero through the...
The Prisoner of Azkaban:Harry returns from this journey unable to sharethe good he had done on this journey, becauseSirius...
The Goblet of Fire:Dumbledore rescues Harry after thetournament from Barty Crouch Jr. who isabout to kill Harry.Crossing t...
The Prophecy Harry must defeat Lord VoldemortWearingEnemys SkinIn The Chamber of Secret’s Ron and Harrydrink poly juice po...
Harry is a hero set apart at birth due to the horrific murder of his parents by LordVoldemort, who Harry will one day have...
magical or spiritual assistance comes into the mythology. Hagrid, a combination of witchand giant, has to go and get Harry...
student into their perspective house, which could be any one of four: Gryffindor,Slytherin, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw. Gryf...
into the schools vaults after the stone; he went into the chambers to save Genny, he facedhis father’s true enemy and resc...
Campbell Ronald Weasley Hermione GrangerI: DepartureThe call to adventure Leaving for Hogwarts Leaving for HogwartsRefusal...
Malfoy, Polyjuice potion,Aragog (the spider in thewoods), entering thechamberM3: The Dementors, TheBoggart, Attacked in th...
Rescue from without M1: Hermione brings Ronaround after the Chessgame and takes him backup into the castle.M2: Ron, Harry,...
Scabbers, Crookshanks,Victor Crum, Rita Skeeter,MoodyMoodyHero isnt sure if hecan trust thischaracter)Animal familiar Basi...
youll have to kill us too!" This is a strong statement showing viewers Rons steadfastloyalty to his friends and his heroic...
of passage: separation-initiation-return: … A hero venturesforth from the world of common day into a region ofsupernatural...
Myth, Imagination, History and FantasyHarry Potter is steeped in mythological allusions ranging from the archetype heroto ...
the archetypal person within our subconscious (Moyers 42). Harry Potter lives in afictitious mythical world, a place that ...
embroil the myth in mystery and intrigue for those who live in England, and those whoare familiar with the story.In the fi...
series which include: a three headed dog named Fluffy, a hippogriff, a basilisk, centaurs,sphinx’s, unicorns, mermaids, tr...
brave, courageous, and strong, all the qualities of a hero. The snake represents evil,danger, untrustworthy, and sneaky, a...
Medc 6000   bailey, ronda - harry potter thesis - sp2-06
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Medc 6000   bailey, ronda - harry potter thesis - sp2-06
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  1. 1. Harry Potter: A Modern Day HeroByRonda Anita Phillips BaileyA thesis submitted to the School of Communications of Webster University in partialfulfillment of the requirements for the Degree ofMedia Communications (M.A.)17 May, 2006St. Louis, Missouri© Copyright byRonda Anita Phillips BaileyALL RIGHTS RESERVED(2006)The author hereby grants to Webster University permission to reproduce and distributepublicly paper and electronic copies of this thesis document in whole or in part foreducational purposes.
  2. 2. I would like to thank Dan,Valerie, Ronnie, Sheila, Margaret, Terry, Holly and ClintFor their never ending encouragement, support, and love.Mythologies are in fact the public dreams that move and shape societies.Joseph CampbellThe Mythic ImageBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero ii
  3. 3. AbstractHarry Potter: A Modern Day Media HeroByRonda Anita Phillips Bailey“Pottermania” grows stronger and stronger with every new movie and every newbook, leaving many asking what makes the Harry Potter series so magical. Millions ofpeople have been bewitched by the young wizard named Harry Potter along with hisfriends, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. Viewers can escape into a realm wherethey learn that circumstances do not have to make them victims and they too can beat theodds. The fantastical world of Harry Potter meets the viewer’s basic need fortranscendence. Once viewers enter into the magical world they can rise above theircircumstances and stop focusing on their limitations.The Potter series is a fantasy created world where myth-made heroes have beenembraced by popular culture. The premise of this thesis is to examine the complexities ofheroes and heroines in the Harry Potter films, along with a survey, as the primary data.Harry Potter’s success is due in part to the main character’s ability to remain humblewhile overcoming challenges that seem completely unstoppable, and often unbeatable.The series has pushed Harry Potter into mainstream popular culture where “Potterism”has turned the characters into modern day heroes for both children and adults.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero iii
  4. 4. Table of ContentsAcknowledgements iiAbstract iiiTable of Contents ivIntroduction 1Premise Statement and Limitations 3Statement of Problem 4Methodology 6Literature Review 8Harry Potter: A Modern Day Hero 12• J.K. Rowling 14• Harry Potter: Plot Background 18• Cultural Importance of Fantasy Themed Stories 21• The Mythological Development of Oral 24Interpretation to the Hollywood Screen• Claude Levi-Strauss 26• Carl Jung 29• Joseph Campbell 31• Myth, Imagination, and Fantasy 51• A Modern Hero 56• The Morality of Harry Potter 59Data Analysis 62Recommendations 72Conclusions 74AppendicesI. Thesis Survey 79II. Survey Results 81III. E-Mail Interview with Reverend Ron Monteith 83IV. Personal Interview with Dr. Sean Day 87V. Thesis Outline 89VI. Film Information 90VII. Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth Pie Chart 91Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero iv
  5. 5. Introduction“Pottermania” and “Potterism” are two words created by journalist to describe thesensational reaction caused by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The charactersrepresent archetypal heroes reminiscent of those in Greek mythology. Harry Potter’ssuccess is due in part to the main character’s ability to remain humble while overcomingchallenges that seem completely unstoppable, and often unbeatable. The series haspushed Harry Potter into mainstream popular culture giving fantasy themed stories a newand birth turning the characters into modern day heroes for children and adults alike.After six books, four movies, video games, toys, and collectibles being sold at anexceedingly rapid rate, there is no doubt J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter has become apopular phenomenon. The first two movies are listed in the top 10 World Wide BoxOffice of all time, bringing in a combined total of $10.6 billion(http://www.imdb.com/boxoffice/alltimegross?region=world-wide). The appeal of theHarry Potter movies was not lost with the release of the fourth movie, which had thefourth largest weekend opening in movie history, topping $101.4 million in NorthAmerica alone.The intended audience for these books and movies was children, but adults andchildren of all ages have fallen in love with the characters portrayed within the text.Harry Potter has sparked an interest in reading among an entire generation of youth,where reading was thought to no longer exist in a highly electronic world. The bookshave been translated into 55 languages, and the movies continue to be a world-widesuccess. The movies have encouraged people who normally do not read to pick up thebooks as well. As with anything in popular culture, Harry Potter does not come withoutBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 1
  6. 6. critics who examine everything from the moral aspects of the book to the literary geniusof the author.What has made the Harry Potter books and movies such a phenomenon withglobal appeal? The answer can be found in the main characters of the Harry Pottercontext; Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, who are the underdogs thatcontinue to prove themselves by overcoming everyday obstacles, making them the heroesin the end of each fable. From the Iliad to Lord of the Rings, cultural producers describethe adventures of heroes that become metaphors for contemporary life. In the 21stcentury where books are brought to life through film, heroes and heroines can beintroduced to a global population can turn the subject matter into an internationalphenomenon. Such is the case with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The myth madehero found in Harry Potter has come alive on the big screen and in turn has beenembraced by children and adults who have found a way to connect to these modern dayheroes.Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliff, and EmmaWatson portray Ron Weasley, Harry Potterand Hermione Granger in Harry Potter.http://movies.warnerbros.com/harrypotter/cmp/newsflash-fr.htmlBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 2
  7. 7. Premise StatementThe premise of this thesis is to examine the complexities of heroes and heroinesin the Harry Potter films, along with a survey as the primary data. With the continuingcontroversy of the novels and movies, this thesis intends to prove "Harry Potter" providessociety with moral choices and provides genuine heroes for children of all ages, which isimportant in society.LimitationsI chose this topic because I immensely enjoy watching all the movies, and haveread all six Harry Potter books; therefore my limitation is my preexisting bias to prove toothers that these characters are modern day heroes. In spite of the criticisms surroundingHarry Potter these movies and characters are portrayed through a modern form ofstorytelling the big screen. I have a preexisting fondness for the characters and themovies, because I find them to be more than simple entertainment but valuable charactersin teaching society about moral choices, friendships, loyalty, and truths in both good andevil.Other limitations in this research include secondary research for side-kicks, andtrying to stick solely to discussing the movies without intertwining the books. There arefew resources to be found in support of side-kick characters, such as Ron and Hermione,who are essential characters and very relevant in helping Harry succeed. There parts arelarger than the part of a minor character, and are essentially Harry’s side-kicks, someonewho is in support of the hero.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 3
  8. 8. Statement of ProblemHarry Potter has stirred the waters of controversy while provoking thoughts ofmorality and societal norms. The fantasy themed books and movies have caused a greatmoral debate among critics, parents, and the fans that have come to embrace thecharacters created in J.K. Rowling’s mythically magical storyline. The Harry Potterseries, which includes movies and books, combines fantasy, mystery, suspense, andhorror mixed with the realities people face on a day to day basis. However, becausewitchcraft is part of the storyline, people have threatened book burnings, pulled childrenfrom schools where Harry is on the reading list, and have protested the moral degradationof society because the series is said to be influencing children to become a part of theoccult. Popular culture has not embraced this occultist idea, and Harry Potter continuesto thrive in print and on film.Men, women, and children are drawn to Harry Potter because, despite the magic,the characters are ordinary people and today’s children are overcoming many of the samechallenges faced by the main characters in the movie. Children see the main charactersas their friends, and adults admire the characters for their strength to overcome adversity(Schafer 13). The Potter series is a fantasy created world where myth made heroes havebeen embraced by popular culture. The premise of this study is to research thecomplexities of heroes and heroines in the Harry Potter films, along with a survey, as theprimary data. With the continuing controversy of the novels and movies, I intend toprove Harry Potter provides society with moral choices and provides genuine heroes forchildren of all ages, which is important in society.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 4
  9. 9. Prior research on this topic has been studied and written about by the followingauthors: Edmund Kern, Joseph Campbell, Elizabeth Schafer, Richard Abanes, JuliaEccleshare, Francis Bridger, and Richard Campbell. Harry Potter has become a productof our popular culture. The Harry Potter stories encourage society by developing amodern day classical narrative where good triumphs over evil and the characters are leftto make morally challenging and even heroic decisions. A New York Times reporterwrote the following in reference to the life lessons learned through Harry Potter:“If Harry Potter is a reminder that not even magiccan solve everything, it is also a promise of hope, sustainingthe fundamental childhood belief that in the end, good reallydoes triumph over evil, and justice is meted out to those whodeserve it. Harry is an endearingly normal hero, enduring thesame romantic insecurities, friendship pressures and tempertantrums that I encounter all the time, and it is oddly comfortingto think that such a seemingly ordinary boy could achieve theextraordinary.” (New York Times July, 2005).“Pottermania” in full force as fans attend thePremier of the fourth Harry Potter movie.Wild About HarryFans crowd the sidewalk at the Warner Bros. Pictures premier of Harry Potter & theGoblet of Fire on Nov. 12, 2005, in New York. (Photo: GETTY IMAGES/Andrew H.Walker) (CBSNews.com)http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/06/20/earlyshow/leisure/books/main559574.shtmlBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 5
  10. 10. MethodologyThe premise of this study is to research the complexities of heroes and heroines inthe Harry Potter films, along with a survey, as the primary data. With the continuingcontroversy of the novels and movies, this thesis intends to prove that Harry Potterprovides society with moral choices and provides genuine heroes for children of all ages,which is vital to our society.In search for topics related to this proposal, the following topics were investigatedusing the following key words: fantasy heroes, media created heroes, Harry Potter, J.K.Rowling, narrative theory, witchcraft, children’s literature, controversy and Harry Potter,mythology, heroes, heroines, and popular culture. Research studies for this paper lead toreviews from authors such as; Edmund M. Kern, Michael O’Shaughnessy, JosephCampbell, Julia Eccleshare, Bill Moyers, Claude Levi-Strauss, and J.K. Rowling. All ofthese authors have put in a considerable amount of time and research into studying theHarry Potter phenomenon and criticism surrounding the text and film, their work will bea valuable citation in this research paper.In order to examine the heroes and heroines in Harry Potter, this thesis willbenefit from researching the works of Joseph Campbell, an American professor knownfor his research in comparative mythology. Another important figure in this researchwould include Lévi-Strauss; he argued that myths served an important function insociety. Carl Jung, an analytical psychologist who influenced Campbell, is known inmedia studies to have analyzed the common characteristics of fairy tales. These two mencan contribute important background research related to mythology studies(O’Shaughnessy 137).Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 6
  11. 11. Filmmakers understand the lure of the narrative, “which includes two basiccomponents: the story (what happens to whom) and the discourse (how the story is told)”(Campbell, Martin 235). Harry Potter provides moviegoers with the familiar narrativeprinciples of problems, heroes, villains, conflicts, and resolutions.Studios adapting literature narratives into a film narrative is certainly nothingnew. The style of storytelling depends on the narrative, the genre (i.e. fantasy themed),and a good director who can translate the literary narrative into a successful film narrativewithout losing the original translation (Campbell, Martin 235). Hollywood has beenusing pre-sold story ideas with an already built in audience to create blockbuster hits,such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings for decades (Dominick 233).While Harry Potter became popular in textbook form, the first movie was anunexpected phenomenal hit generating enthusiasm from critics and fans alike. HarryPotter has been deemed morally corruptible for society, and hailed as hero forencouraging children of the digital age to actually pick up a book and read. The moralcorruption stems from the witchcraft surrounding the text, be it in literature or movieform; however, the stories are written in a fantastical themed world no different thanmany of the stories produced by Walt Disney, where good conquers evil and magic isoften used to help the heroes in these stories defeat their nemeses. Harry Potter providesmythical modern day heroes to a community of individuals who want to believe in theextraordinary, and who want to believe they too can conquer the evils in their daily lives.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 7
  12. 12. Literature ReviewWhether good or bad, the controversy surrounding Harry Potter continues to be ahot topic in all parts of the world. Many call the main character(s) a hero, while otherscondemn the books and movies for encouraging occultism, and witchcraft. Thisrepresents two different ends of the moral spectrum where popular culture has embracedJ.K. Rowling’s series for being a fantasy film with heroes and heroines, who conquer notonly the bad guys, but the same everyday challenges muggles (non-magical folk), have toovercome themselves. However, a hero in fantasy films surrounded by magic is not newto our society, and the story-telling technique used by J.K. Rowling has been used byauthors and film makers long before Harry Potter. C.S. Lewis, the author of Narnia andJ.R.R. Tolkien, the author of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, all of which were born ina literary genre, have made their way into film thereby exposing society to the fantasyfilm hero.Fantasy films usually involve some form of magic. They may also includemythical creatures and will allow the main story line to take place in a fantasy themedworld; i.e. middle earth, Hogsmead, a community made up entirely of witches andcompletely unknown to non-magical folk. Fantasy themed movies span several decadeswhich include the following movies: Bell, Book and Candle (1920), The Wizard of Oz(1939), The Dark Crystal (1982), Labyrinth (1986), The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003),The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005), and the HarryPotter movies (2001-2005) (Dirks). Every society has hero figures, and though thesefigures may appear different depending on the culture, all are defined by certain aspectsof their life’s journeys and their places in society. In an interview with Bill Moyers,Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 8
  13. 13. Joseph Campbell says, in response to Bill Moyers the imminent timeliness ofmythological stories, “The themes are timeless, and the inflection is to the culture. Thestory lines remain the same throughout time and space; it is the way the story is perceivedby the existing generation” (Moyers 42). J.K. Rowling’s storyline is not new to thecultures who have embraced the text, but the way it is perceived is dependent upon thecultural landscape it is introduced into.In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell analyzes and explains thecommonalties shared by heroes, focusing on the classical Greek hero figure (Campbell,Joseph 319). J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series brings to life the classical hero figure inthe young wizard known as Harry Potter. Rowling’s child hero is appealing because heundergoes the same life cycle that every person undergoes: friendships, adolescences, andthe moral choice to choose right from wrong. Examining the narrative structure of themovies will lead to a better understanding of the meaning of fantasy heroes in society.The origin of storytelling is ancient, one of the most well known stories is the epictale of Gilgamesh, which relates the story of a Sumerian king, and is frequently cited inhistory texts as our oldest surviving epic tale. While the nature of stories has changedover the centuries, from oral interpretations to the big screen, the narrative of myths,legends, fairy tales, and heroes still exist. These stories often play an important role inteaching those in society right from wrong, the importance of moral values, andencouraging religious beliefs. Myths often reflect the feelings, needs, and conflicts thatpeople acquire as a result of their culture (Ember 464-465).Joseph Campbell is well known for his work in mythology and Hollywood hascome to rely on Campbell’s formula. George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, creditsBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 9
  14. 14. Campbell’s twelve-step mythic story structure in helping him finish his epic series.“Lucas’ infamous indebtedness to Campbell has introduced film-makers, screenwriters,and movie buffs the world over of Campbell’s mythological tome, The Hero with aThousand Faces, which distills all stories down to a single mythic story structure”(Bancks). According to Bancks, The Hero with a Thousand Faces has become the typicalstructure for Hollywood movies.Harry Potter has become a part of culture through film and print, and continues toreflect society’s need for a hero, even a myth media inspired hero. This research willcontinue to examine the mythical modern day hero, and the moral choices providedthrough the films narrative.It is important to define certain terms which will be used throughout this research,and we will first define the following:Fantasy (noun) - a capricious or fantastic idea; fiction characterized by highly fanciful orsupernatural elementsMyth (noun) - a traditional story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroesthat serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspectsof the natural world or delineating the customs, or ideals of society; a fictitious story,person, or thing.Hero (noun) - a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially onewho has risked or sacrificed his or her life; <Further definition and example will beprovided throughout the research>Heroine (noun) – a woman noted for courage and daring action; the principal femalecharacter in a novel.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 10
  15. 15. Witchcraft (noun) – Magic, sorcery; Wicca; a magical or irresistible influence, attraction,or charm.Magic (noun) - The practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to producesupernatural effects or control events in nature. (verb) - To produce or make by or as if bymagic (American Heritage Dictionary).Muggle(s) – nonmagic folk (1 Rowling 80).The aforementioned definitions are relevant for a more comprehensive knowledgeof the research presented in this paper. Some definitions will be expounded upondepending on the depth of the research and the necessary need for further comprehension.Character Reference:The Dursley’s - Harry’s relatives with whom he lives, his mother’s sister, her husbandand their son, Dudley.Harry Potter - the boy wizard, also known as, “the boy who lived”Ronald Weasley – Harry Potter’s best friend. He also comes from a pure wizardingfamily, his entire family is wizards.Hermione Granger – Harry’s other best friend. She is the first in her family to become awitch, her parents are dentists.Albus Dumbledore – Headmaster at Hogwarts and many say the greatest wizard of histime.Hagrid – Gamekeeper at Hogwarts and Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s friend.The aforementioned characters are most widely used and the need for knowingwho they are will be critical throughout the context of this thesis.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 11
  16. 16. Harry Potter: A Modern Day HeroThe Harry Potter series has become a publishing phenomenon and has also madethe movie industry billions. Many have called Harry Potter the hero of media publishing,because the series has breathed new life into the print industry. Others have called HarryPotter a hero for encouraging an entire generation of technology fed children to pick up abook and read. The movies have even inspired those who did not initially read the seriesto go back and read the books. Perhaps Harry Potter has magically transformed thepublishing industry, but the boy hero has truly given the world a modern day hero in afast paced world of high-tech gadgets and never ending schedules. Harry Potter hasgiven readers and viewers the opportunity to slow down, sit back, and escape into anotherrealm; a realm where the hero continues to learn, teach, and inspire Potter fanseverywhere to use their imaginations.Harry Potter is a fantasy-themed story exploring the typical journey of any hero.The text is full of magical creatures from centaurs to sphinx; as well as, unicorns, flyingcars, dragons, and ghosts who live amongst mortals and are all brought to life on the bigscreen as viewers discover the truths about loyalty, bravery, death, choice, and the powerof love. Harry is a hero with the same qualities and traits all humans possess, this makeshim accessible to viewers and readers alike. Good versus evil is essential in anymythical, fantasy-themed storyline, and Harry Potter certainly provides character conflictallowing the hero the opportunity to prove him self while overcoming great odds.The classical fantasy formula is used in Rowling’s text as well, moving from thereal world to the fantasy world, and then returning to the real world. Other story linesthat followed this pattern include: Peter Pan, The Hobbit, and The Lion, The Witch andBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 12
  17. 17. The Wardrobe. The world of Harry Potter exists alongside the everyday world, witchesand wizards exist alongside muggles who remain unaware of this magical world. InHarry Potter the two worlds exist simultaneously and the characters from the wizardingworld mingle in and out of both worlds with relative ease.Harry Potter is a text steeped in mythology with a desire for the young heroes tosucceed and conquer all obstacles placed in their way. Harry Potter has become a wellknown modern day hero whose story has been brought to life on the big screen where heand his friends are seen and loved by millions of adoring fans. Harry Potter is popularbecause it is a story in which everyone can identify. The storyline produces empathy inmillions of people around the world as it recounts the tale everyone enjoys, the tale of ahero.Heroes embody a spiritual manifestation with God, which is the design ofhumanity’s desire. Human beings desire a relationship with a higher power, arelationship with God (Rev. Monteith). Gilgamesh, King Arthur, Luke Skywalker, thefour children in Narnia are representations of people’s fascination with the heroic andendorses the belief of an individual standing out, able to save their world from evil. Theheroic myth develops a message which is brought forth through the characters maturity.Harry Potter represents the hero of today because, although timeless, his story isdeveloped to take place in the cultural society of the twenty-first century where today’speople can relate and do understand his journey, for they too are on one themselves.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 13
  18. 18. J.K. RowlingJ.K. RowlingHarry Potter has been called a publishing phenomenon.The book series has sold more than 300 million copiesworldwide, translated into over 55 languages, and has madeRowling the first person to ever become a billionaire by wbooks. “Her welfare-to-billionaire status is a true Cinderelstory, all happening within a ten year time period” (Watson).Background knowledge on Rowling is important in understanding the Pottermaniawell as the characters in Harry Potter, especially since many of the characters and scshare some of the same traits as the author herself.ritingla, asenesRowling was born on July 31, 1966; Harry Potter shares the same birthday butmystery and speculation surround the year in which he was born. Rowling was born inEngland, and so it is natural for the stories to take place in the surrounding area. Rowlingdescribes herself as being petite, with busy red hair, freckles, and glasses; much like hercharacter Hermione Granger. Rowling’s love for animals can be seen in her gamekeepercharacter, Hagrid (Kirk 12-13). Rowling’s childhood friend’s surname was Potter, andwhen she began to write her novels she chose this name for her main character simplybecause she “liked it and had fond memories of playing with the Potters as a young child”(Kirk 14). Friendship plays a crucial role in the text, as Harry, Ron, and Hermionecontinue to prove the importance of true friendship continually throughout the six novelsand four films. Although Rowling was an adult when her mother died, the love of hermother is very important to her, and the scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stonewhen Harry discovers the Mirror of Erised—desire spelled backwards - is the author’sBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 14
  19. 19. favorite scene and was inspired by the loss of her own mother. The love of Harry’smother and the loss of his parents are the crux of the plot, the emotional center. Thedeath of Rowling’s own mother was an artistic outlet which drove her to continue writing(Kirk 53).J.K. Rowling, the wizard behind Harry Potter admits to being influenced by textsteeped in mythology such as Lord of the Rings authored by J.R.R. Tolkien; Narniaauthored by C.S. Lewis; The Little White Horse authored by Elizabeth Goudge; and byauthor and journalist Jessica Mitford. Since childhood Rowling has always beeninterested in writing and exploring fantasy themed worlds, writing her first story aroundthe age of six titled “Rabbit.” The story was about a rabbit that had developed measlesand was visited by friends, which included a pig, a fox, and Miss Bee. As Rowling grewand developed during her school years she focused her studies in French and Englishlanguages, and received her degree from Exeter University (Kirk 16).Upon receiving her degree she worked a number of jobs, quitting or getting firedfrom many, because all she really wanted to do was write. In 1990 while traveling viatrain to London, the idea of a boy wizard attending a boarding school to perfect his craftdeveloped and she began to write Harry Potter. Rowling’s mother died the same year.October 16, 1992, while still working on Harry Potter, Rowling was married. She hasconfessed that it was not a happy event for her, and married in black. In her third bookshe includes the date as a warning for one of Harry’s classmates, Lavender Brown,predicting the thing she most dreads will occur. Once again Rowling mirror’s her ownlife in the text (Kirk 56). By 1993, Rowling gave birth to her first daughter, divorced herhusband, and had to accept government aide (the equivalent to welfare in America). ItBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 15
  20. 20. took five years after her London train trip to finish the first book, which she typed on amanual typewriter (Kirk 51). She worked as a French instructor while waiting to hearback from publishers.In June of 1997, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone waspublished. The novel was renamed for American audiences to HarryPotter and the Sorcerer’s Stone due to the fact that the sorcerer’s stoneis more common in American mythology. Three months after the firstbook went to press, Scholastic books purchased the rights to the first text for $105,000making publishing history for a children’s book (Kirk 77). The first book was a hugesuccess, and Rowling won literary awards in England, but she continued to work and hadalready started on book two.By the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Rowling and Potterwere a global success. Pottermania had begun and a scramble to produce a movie wasunderway. In 2001, the first book was turned into a movie, and the Harry Potter hypecontinued to grow, soon placing Rowling on Forbes 2004 World’s Richest People list(Forbes 2004). No one could have predicted the success Harry Potter would bringRowling, not even she could have predicted the success, and has said simply, “I justwrote the sort of thing I liked reading. I didn’t expect lots of people to like them, in fact,I never really thought much past getting them published” (Gaines 27). The movies haveproven to be a success and part of this can be attributed to Rowling, who has maintainedcreative control so as to ensure the film remains as close to the print version as possible.Rowling’s own mythical journey is not much different than that of her fictionalcharacters: loss, rejection, success; and the journey continues for both her and herBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 16
  21. 21. characters. Every culture has hero figures, and although these figures may ostensiblydiffer from one another all are defined by certain aspects of their life’s journeys and theirplaces within society. While society has recently dubbed Harry Potter a hero, only timecan determine if he will remain a hero for future generations.Warner Brother Movie Posters:The Sorcerer’s Stone The Chamber of SecretsThe Prisoner of Azkaban The Goblet of Firehttp://en.wikipedia.orgFor movie release information see Appendix VI.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 17
  22. 22. Harry Potter: Plot BackgroundHarry Potter is the name of a book series, of which six out of seven books havebeen published. The first book proved popular enough that Warner Brothers bought therights and has began making the books into movies. The movies and books represent aworld of witches and wizards, the main character being a young wizard named HarryPotter. Each movie chronicles a year of Harry’s life at Hogwarts, the Wizarding Schoolwhere he learns about magic and life, his life.Harry Potter is not an ordinary boy. He was born to two great wizards, JamesPotter and Lily (Evans) Potter. His parents were killed when an evil wizard, LordVoldemort, was empowered by the fear he instilled in witches and wizards in thewizarding community. Lord Voldemort reigned with a group of followers called DeathEaters. Harry’s father and mother died while trying to protect their infant son. Harry wassent to live with his maternal mother’s sister, Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and their sonDursley. When Harry turns 11, he is invited to attend Hogwarts. His relatives arecompletely against anything that is not considered normal and forbids him to attend.Hagrid, the Hogwarts’ gamekeeper, intercedes and Harry leaves for school. Harry makesfriends and enemies instantly upon arrival. Draco Malfoy quickly becomes Harry’sarchenemy when Malfoy introduces himself by sneering at Ronald Weasley, who isstanding near to Harry, and tells him he can help him figure out, “who the right wizardingfamilies are Harry replies, “I think I can tell the wrong sort for myself.” This bonds hisfriendship with Ron. The two boys form a close friendship with Hermione after theysave her from a troll. The three soon learn about the sorcerer’s stone hidden in the vaultsBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 18
  23. 23. below the school and must combine their talents in order to save the stone and thewizarding community from Voldemort’s possible return to power.In Harrys 2nd year at Hogwarts he is confronted with a magical and mysteriouself. He learns that his gift to speak to snakes is a dark wizard’s trait which turns hisfriends away from him. But when he learns about the Chamber of Secrets, a supposedmyth of tunnels under Hogwarts where an evil monster is thought to live and has awokenputting students in danger, Harry must find a way to help save his friends and his school.In order to save Hogwarts Harry will have to have the help of his best friends, Ron andHermione.In Harrys 3rd year Harry is haunted by the grim, a large black dog that representsdeath. A convicted killer is on the loose and is said to be coming for Harry, his nameSirius Black. Black is an animagus and can turn himself into a large black dog-the grim.For the first time Harry is not safe, not even within the walls of Hogwarts. His newDefense against the Dark Arts professor, Remus Lupin is a werewolf, he learns about hisfather and what he was like when he was a student at Hogwarts, and meets his father’sinner circle of friends, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew. Harry, Ron, andHermione soon find themselves trying to save Sirius and capture Peter Pettigrew, the realkiller, and one of Voldemort’s Death Eaters, whom escapes.In Harrys 4th year, he is entered in to the Tri-Wizard Tournament unbeknownstto him. The tournament is reserved only for wizards and witches 17 years of age andolder, and Harry finds he has no choice but to participate when his name emerges fromthe Goblet of Fire. During the tournament challenges Harry is forced to confrontdragons, maintain friendships, fight water demons, and battle Lord Voldemort.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 19
  24. 24. Each movie grows darker and finds Harry, Ron, and Hermione leaving childhoodbehind while continuing to develop life-long friendships in their heroic journeys together.Warner Brothers DVD Jackets:The Sorcerer’s Stone The Chamber of SecretsThe Prisoner of Azkaban The Goblet of FireBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 20
  25. 25. Cultural Importance of Fantasy Themed StoriesFor centuries, cultures have created myths, stories, and folklore to teach societalrules. These stories were told to children to teach them about conformity, and the rulesexpected within their culture. Cultures still use myths and stories to teach societallessons, only the method has changed; instead of oral interpretation people in the twenty-first century turn to narrative movies. The process of story-telling manifests the mythicexplanations of the world while providing cultures with a model of what is acceptedwithin the boundaries of society (Day Interview).“All cultures, both past and present, love myths” (Hirschman 3). Although mythshave a new outlet through movies and television, they continue to teach society about theorigin of the universe, the role of science and technology, how men and women shouldbehave towards one another, how to fight and overcome obstacles, and always good fromevil (Hirschman 4). Mythological movies, like Harry Potter, give society a mythicalexplanation of the world while providing a cultural template for those in society. HarryPotter confronts real life issues such as death, heartache, hope, friendships, internationalcooperation, and moral integrity. Although Rowling does not always give an explanationas to why these things are relevant, she opens a door allowing her characters and viewersto contemplate life’s consequences. Viewers don’t always want a why; because theyknow there isn’t always an explanation to answer the why. Viewers like knowing that theheroes don’t always know why either (Day Interview).Mythological stories have deep roots in all cultures, continuing to pass on vitalknowledge and wisdom to those within society, as well as succeeding generations. TheseBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 21
  26. 26. mythological stories provide an intellectual framework which can be integrated intoexisting and learned experiences. Preserving, embracing, and defining thesemythological stories is important to the storytellers, and those who gain or continue togain knowledge learn to assimilate and make sense of internal and external experiences(Abanes 66). Cultures use mythological stories to set boundaries, to create and establishrules, and to develop and grow as a society.What is society learning from Harry Potter? What is this mythological storyteaching cultures today? Harry Potter provides a moral code which upholds familyvalues, genuine warmth towards all people, and social values with rules and hierarchiesbased on order and control. Schafer writes, “Harry confronts adversity in an honest andhonorable manner, he strives to help those in need, and he seeks to live by a code ofconduct that is just as good” (234). Hermione, Ron, Hagrid, Dumbledore, and othercharacters within the text of the movies also portray many of these attributes, which inturn allows the viewer to learn from the mythological story.Harry Potter is a mythological story teaching society how to develop friendships,and how to justly and fairly live with those whom you will not always agree. J.K.Rowling does not shy away from controversial social topics which are relevant to today.For example in movie two, The Chamber of Secrets, racism is an issue that has to bedealt with by the three main characters. An informal hierarchy is revealed to exist amongthe wizarding community separating pure-bloods from muggle born. Pure bloods areborn to pure wizarding families and are considered the best within this hierarchy.Muggle blood witches may have one or more muggle born parent. Derogatory labels areintroduced, for example mudblood is used to describe those of a mixed heritage. Ron isBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 22
  27. 27. seen immediately defending Hermione when Malfoy, their archenemy, begins to callHermione a mudblood. Viewers learn that racism is unacceptable and should not betolerated within society, and that the heroes will not tolerate this degradation on anylevel.In the fourth movie, The Goblet of Fire, viewers are introduced to an internationalwizarding community where the students of Hogwarts have to learn to communicate andtolerate those with backgrounds, dialects, and belief systems different from their own.International Cooperation becomes an apparent theme throughout the movie. Withstudents from different countries where all characters within the text must learn to acceptthe cultural differences of others. Issues of tolerance, diversity, wealth, and race areapparent in the fourth movie as it attempts to teach social equality.Harry, Ron, and Hermione do not intentionally set out to teach but because oftheir innate goodness and desire to improve their own lives and the lives of those aroundthem, they become good role models and good teachers from which today’s society canlearn valuable lessons. Joseph Campbell believes that man typically celebrates tales ofheroes and their deeds in order to understand his own place in the universe (11). TheGreeks, Romans, and the middle ages all created mythological heroes and today’scultural societies are no different creating heroes for society on the big screen. Heroesstill must take arduous journeys, confront dragons, and change the world with theircourageous acts. They become symbolic figures in whom the rest of society can look toas an example of how to live life.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 23
  28. 28. The Mythological development from Oral Interpretation to the Hollywood ScreenAlbert Cook, author of Myth and Language, writes, “The oral-aural, as MarshallMcLuhan has taught us, tribalizes a society. The individual in such a society lacks whatwe think of as a special personal identity; he is defined wholly and comprehensively byhis membership in a group” (6). We become a part of that group when we share acommonality which often comes in the form of an anecdote.Narratives help individuals to make sense of their experiences, their surroundings,and even their lives. People within cultures put their experiences into story form whensharing the ordeal with others, “this seems to be a cultural process shared by all societies;humans tend to relate experience through stories” (O’Shaughnessy 106). The evolutionof technology has extended from oral interpretation to Hollywood’s big screen. Storiesare still told, but now they are translated onto the big screen, which has proven to be anefficient means of distributing cultural values. Mythical stories are often categorized asescapism, and entertainment, but this belittles the integrity of those who find greatstrength, courage, and hope when they engage in watching mythical movies like HarryPotter.These stories are well developed and structured using a basic structural pattern.Harry Potter follows the same narrative structure seen in other mythological themedmovies where the hero has to make a life journey, face challenges, and make conquest.Viewers relate this to their own lives and understand this is mythology but see a utopianof hope. Campbell says, “Mythology teaches you about your own life. It’s a great,exciting, life-nourishing subject. Mythology has a great deal to do with the stages of life,the initiation ceremonies as you move from childhood to adult responsibilities. All ofBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 24
  29. 29. those rituals are mythological rites (Moyers 11). Harry Potter is set on a ritualistic pathand must follow his own journey in finding himself while facing the obstacles placedbefore him Viewers can relate to such a journey, and this is what makes Harry sopopular.If a small boy can overcome Lord Voldemort, the most powerful and evil wizardof all time, then viewers can also overcome his or her problems as well. O’Shaughnessywrites, “Many cultural products have a utopian element to them: they point to thepossibilities of a better world” (138). Viewers want to relate and they want to see a lightat the end of the tunnel. Millions have found this in Harry Potter.In the first movie Harry defeats Lord Voldemort twice; once in the beginning as ababy and then again proving to himself and to others that, even though he doesn’t knowhow or why he was able to defeat Lord Voldemort the first time, he has an inner strengthto overcome obstacles that seem greater and bigger than him, “just Harry” (Radcliffe TheSorcerer’s Stone). Viewers identify with this defeat because they too often face theunconquerable, and if someone who sees himself as an individual with no special talent,and no special gifts, which is how Harry sees himself in the first movie, can do it, thenthe viewer thinks he or she can also defeat the unconquerable myths in his or her ownlife.Viewers have learned from the characters to be brave and to believe inthemselves. Even if the viewer cannot face their own challenge immediately, they canfind comfort in knowing there is an archetype, a hero battling evil and good will conquerin the end. As human beings we want to believe good will ultimately conquer evil in theend.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 25
  30. 30. Lévi-Strauss and MythLévi-Strauss is a structural anthropologist who is known for his studies inmythology. Structural anthropology is based on Levi-Strauss’s ideas that people thinkabout the world twofold—ins and outs, highs and lows, life and death; every culture canrelate to these concepts. Levi-Strauss studied and wrote a four volume work onmythology titled Mythologique. He believes that myths are strongly structured stories(Strenski 130). According to Strauss, “Some claim that human societies merely express,through their mythology, fundamental feelings common to the whole of mankind, or theyuse it to explain phenomenon which they can not understand” (206). Strauss believesthat myths give solutions to cultural problems, providing a framework of how to live.In "The Structural Study of Myth," Levi-Strauss is interested in explaining whymyths from different cultures from all over the world seem so similar. Given that mythscould contain anything--they arent bound by rules of accuracy, or probability--why isthere an astounding similarity among so many myths from so many widely separatedcultures? (Strauss 208). One of the discussions surrounding Harry Potter is thetranscending of all cultural borders, and why and how this has happened. Levi-Straussgives the answer in his study of mythology by placing it in his structuralized ideals.Levi-Strauss says that structural analysis should only approach “that which can be soexplained” and only the following fields are open to structural study—mathematics,music, natural languages, and myths (Strauss 626). Myths are important stories within astructural framework that often repeat. The story line in Harry Potter is not new inBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 26
  31. 31. cultural societies and is one that is synonymous with other mythological stories toldwithin and among civilized cultures.Levi-Strauss insists that myth is a language because myth has to be told in orderto exist. “Myths deal with the central problems and contradictions felt by a culture; instory-form (they were often about gods and heroes) they played these conflicts out to aresolution giving societies a framework for how to live their lives” (O’Shaughnessy 137).In Harry Potter, the author presents many social complexities that the viewer faces eitheron a daily basis or at some point in his or her life. Some of the issues brought forth in thetext include: racism, class hierarchy, abandonment, wealth and poverty, loyalty,friendship, and bravery. Myths can and do serve a utilitarian function for many societies.Levi-Strauss looks at the structure of the myth and not the content. While thecontent can change from culture to culture the structure of the myth generally remains thesame. For example, the hero is defined, the hero undergoes trials and tribulations, usuallywith success, and completes a journey. Regardless of the storyline, the cultural need isthe same; societies need and develop myths in order to learn, teach, and grow in everydaylife. The structural method of the myth is to bring order to chaos (Klages). Levi-Strausswould argue the popularity of Harry Potter lies in the structure of a well developedmythological story in which all audiences can continue to grow and learn from thecharacters within the storyline, because the structure has not changed.The mythological narrative is a structural narrative following a basic pattern oftenseen in fantasy themed stories. Harry Potter’s narrative structure is nothing new, butwhat makes this story so interesting for viewers is that the characters don’t exist in aparallel worlds, they interact between two worlds, magical and non-magical, whileBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 27
  32. 32. confronting the same everyday challenges viewers often find themselves facing. TheHarry Potter series fits the Levi-Strauss paradigm in that the plot line is a rebirth ofclassical mythological stories. Although the story line changes the structure of the mythremains the same. The story is told in repetitive layers allowing the myth to grow whilemaintaining the structure, which can be seen in the Harry Potter movies. Levi-Straussstructuralist approach in examining mythological stories is proven helpful in determiningHarry Potter’s heroic relevance in society, which according to the structuralist theory ofLevi-Strauss, Harry Potter is relevant in cultural societies because the narratives providea framework for how to live (O’Shaughnessy 137).While Levi-Strauss makes a valid contribution, there are other theorists who havea strong input in defining the societal need for mythological story telling including CarlJung and Joseph Campbell. Jung will briefly be examined here because of his influenceon Joseph Campbell, who is held in high regards throughout Hollywood for hismonomyth formula.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 28
  33. 33. Carl Jung: ArchetypesCarl Jung developed the psychological framework for archetypes, which hedescribes as genetic blueprints for ideal types of behavior. “Jung argues that archetypesor archetypal figures and behaviors are inscribed in mythological figures, these figuresare to guide and teach us how to act in certain ways” (O’Shaughnessy 148). Carl Jungbelieved that myths were collective dreams which the human subconscious used to helpdirect an individual in his or her day to day life. Jung considered myths to be collectivedreams, personal myths stored in the collective unconscious part of the human mindwhere memories are stored. Dr. William Indick writes,“They are the individual expression of personal unconsciousissues, amplified into visions and projected onto a screen in the‘theater of the mind,’ in the form of a personal movie.Experiencing a modern myth in the form of a film is, in a Jungiansense, a transcendent experience, because when we identify withthe hero and vicariously experience his journey, we transcend ourown private conscious existence and integrate a collective culturalarchetype. Furthermore, as a function of the film-goingexperience, we transcend our own individual neuroses, allowingourselves to commune with the rest of the audience through ashared understanding, integrating the collective encounter on apersonal level” (Journal of Medical Psychology Volume 9).The audience conforms to a collective culture that shares and believes in the sameideals, which gives them a sense of validation and belongingness into a cultural entity,while raising up the archetype. O’Shaughnessy writes, “The hero who journeyssuccessfully through his or her tests and trials is the most obvious archetype” (148). Thecollective audiences of Harry Potter see Harry, Ron, and Hermione as the heroes andcollectively have elevated them to hero status.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 29
  34. 34. Strauss and Jung both concentrated their efforts in discerning the role andmeanings of myths and stories within the human society. Joseph Campbell, however,suggests that universal human patterns and truths exist in myths. Campbell’s model isstructured around Jung’s model of the archetype hero. In The Hero with a ThousandFaces, written by Joseph Campbell, he explains and analyzes the commonalities sharedby almost every hero, and though these archetypes may differ all are defined by theirlife’s journey and their place within society.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 30
  35. 35. Joseph Campbell: An authoritarian on mythological heroes“Joseph Campbell is my Yoda” (George Lucas).George Lucas is one of the most well known storytellers in movie making history.He credits Joseph Campbell’s knowledge in mythology for helping him to finish his epicmasterpiece Star Wars. Whether or not J.K. Rowling has read any of Joseph Campbell’swork or not is not known; nevertheless, her hero, Harry Potter, follows the samemythological heroic path as described by Joseph Campbell in his book, The Hero With AThousand Faces. Critics have said that Rowling’s books seem to be written for the bigscreen, because the books fit into Campbell’s structure of the hero’s journey so well.Campbell’s guidelines for mythological storytelling have become synonymous infilmmaking.In his own study of the archetype hero Campbell discovered that all storiesbasically tell the same tale, retold in infinite variations. This is how Campbell developedthe monomyth, a chart or map that shows the common stages through a story, mostcommonly known as the hero’s journey. Dr. Indick writes, “The monomyth refers to thebasic elements of myth, the archetypal qualities of all legends and heroes, whichtranscend individual cultures and specific periods of time; the monomyth is universal andtimeless” (6). Hollywood writers have become strong believers, and many stories arewritten around Campbell’s monomyth pattern. Appendix VII has a copy of Campbell’smonomyth wheel. It is believed that if the writer or viewer understands how to decipherthis chart then he or she can write or depict the hero’s journey.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 31
  36. 36. Campbell explains that man celebrates the tales of heroes and their deeds in orderto explain his or her own place in the universe (11). In other words, Campbell sees theprimary hero as a symbol of the individual and his adventure as the symbol of his life.Heroes innately represent modern man and the different phases of life in which everyonemust pass: childhood to adolescence, adolescence to adulthood, and adulthood to old age.The hero symbolizes growth, wisdom, and maturity through all stages of life, which iswhat men do as well. Harry Potter fans have watched him cyclically grow in every phaseof the movie, as each movie represents one year of Harry’s life. Viewers have seen Harrygrow from an innocent child into a young mature teenager, and the movies havecyclically shown the growth of the hero. Producers have not been afraid to show portraythe darker images in the hero’s journey. Each movie has progressively become darker,unafraid to show or touch on more sinister themes, which are common in mythologicalstory lines.In Campbell’s research he has encountered the same storyline frameworkthroughout the world; basically all stories tell the same tale. The stories commence witha hero’s birth, Campbell states “hero hood is predestined, rather than simply achieved”(319). Many heroes arise from humble origins to command the respect of others. Thehero comes into the world as an innocent only to quickly find himself orphaned due to theevil or the force that he must one day confront. He then must wander alone for days,months, and even years in order to learn about survival and self-sufficiency, childhoodexile. The story begins when the hero living among ordinary men receives the call toadventure. He reluctantly accepts, and often needs a magical aide to encourage him ontothe path. Once the hero crosses the threshold, the tests and trials begin. The hero willBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 32
  37. 37. then descend into an abyss of uncertainty, become resurrected, and finally returnvictorious.To better understand Campbell’s monomyth process the following pages includeCampbell’s monomyth structure next to the Harry Potter storyline in order to compare thestructural framework of Rowling’s text in order to prove that Harry Potter is a modernhero. Since Harry is the most prominent character his mythic chart stands along, Ron andHermione’s chart will come after Harry’s analysis.The Birth of the HeroCampbell Harry PotterRank:Class of high-ranking parents Harry’s parents were wealthy, well-known,and both considered to be very talentedwitchesBirth preceded by difficulties Before Harry stopped Voldemort, “these werethe hardest times in the wizardingcommunity.” Good battling Evil where evilseems unstoppable.During pregnancy there is aprophecy threatening danger to thefatherAlmost one year after Harry’s birth, his parentsare killed by Lord Voldemort.He is cast into the water Harry is removed from the wizardingcommunity and left to be cared for by his Auntand Uncle until he becomes of age, elevenwhen he can return and attend school.Saved by poor people Harry’s relatives are English middle class, butHarry is poor. They share nothing with him,give him old clothes that are too big for him,he receives no birthday or Christmas gifts andis often treated like a servant.Grows up and finds his high-ranking parents or world to whichhe belongs.On his eleventh birthday Harry finds out he isa wizard and belongs to the family of thewizarding community.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 33
  38. 38. The Heroic AdventureCampbell Harry PotterI: DepartureThe call to adventure- the heroicfigure is made aware of a placebeyond the world he has known hiswhole life.Harry’s Letter to attend HogwartsRefusal of the call-The call isignored or denied.The Dursley’s intercept Harry’s letter andrefuse to let him attendSupernatural aid-magicalintervention is needed to encouragethe hero, or assist the hero in startingthe journey.Hagrid delivers the letter personally and takesHarry to the train stationCrossing the first threshold-A portalor threshold represents the transitioninto the world of adventure.Trial 1- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneHarry’s first trial is crossing Platform 9¾which sets him on the path of his heroicjourney. Harry must prevent an evil forcefrom obtaining the Sorcerer’s Stone. Thegateway to proceed with the adventurepresents itself when encountering Cerberus-thegate guardian, a three-headed dog owned byHagrid named Fluffy.Trial 2 – The Chamber of SecretsIn the second movie Harry must enter into thebowels of the school in order to save GennyWeasley and the school from LordVoldermort’s younger self, Tom Riddle whohas opened the chamber. The trial is locatingthe doorway – which is located in MoaningMyrtle’s Bathroom. Myrtle herself was the‘key’ to opening the gate.Trial 3 –Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanHarry begins to learn more about his past – thestory of his parent’s death, and he beginsmeeting his father’s circle of friends. A keythreshold is the ‘opening’ of the WhompingWillow entrance by Crookshanks, Hermione’sBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 34
  39. 39. Cat. The more dramatic threshold is whenHarry joins Hermione in defying time by useof the Time Turner, in order to save the life ofhis godfather, Sirius Black and Buckbeak (amythical creature).Trial 4 – Tri-wizard ChampionshipHarry Potter and the Goblet of FireHarry never crossed the threshold around theGoblet of Fire to enter the contest, he was anunwilling participant. His new adventure islaunched by entering the room off the GreatHall, where the participants gathered and hisname is called. Due to the rules of the Tri-Wizard cup Harry is forced to participate inthe tournament.The belly of the whale-The herofinds themselves in some sort of trialwhere they must use their abilities(and develop their unrealizedabilities) in order to progress.Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Harryhas to jump through the trap door into theschools vault in order to find the stone.Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: inthe bowels of Hogwarts when searching forGinny Weasley.Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:when Harry goes into the whomping willow tosave Ron.Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: whenHarry travels through a time portal and endsup in a graveyard with Lord Voldemort.II: InitiationThe road of trials-Each task preparesthe hero to pursue the ultimatemythological goal. These trials showthe hero as moving from childishbehaviors to self-reliance. This is hispersonal evolution from personallimitations to unrealized potentialThe Sorcerer’s Stone: Learning to fit into anew world while learning about a past that hadbeen hidden from Harry for eleven years. Thetroll in the bathroom, the three headed dog, thenight in the forbidden forest, entering thevaults.The Chamber Of Secret’s: Harry learns aboutLord Voldemort and the inherentcharacteristics shared by the two; i.e. they bothspeak parcel tongue-a language used only bydark wizards to talk to snakes.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 35
  40. 40. The Prisoner of Azkaban: Harry becomesacquainted with his father, James, closestfriends and must accept the true identity of hisfather. He must also decide the fate of a friendwho betrayed his father thus leading to hisfather and mother’s death.The Goblet of Fire: Harry is forced toparticipate in the Tri-Wizarding games. Hebattles dragons, water demons, and anenchanted maze in order to save his life. WhenHarry is transported to a graveyard via aportkey at the end of the maze he must duelLord Voldemort and return his friend, Cedricwho died upon entering the graveyard, back toHogwarts before the portkey closes.The meeting with the goddess-Thegoddess figure is representative of theEarth Mother or source of life. Shemay be approachable, as the hero’smother, sister, and beloved.Harry has only participated in casualacquaintances with the opposite sex and a soulgoddess has not fully emerged. Although thereare several women in the series, many eithertake on the motherly role, or a friendly role.Professor McGonagall and Hermione arecurrently the two constant figures in Harry’slife.Temptation away from the truepath-The hero is tempted to by eviland asked to join the dark side.Harry is constantly being invited to join forceswith Lord Voldemort.The Sorcerer’s StoneDraco Malfoy tells Harry he can help himmake friends with the ‘right’ wizardingfamilies.The Chamber of Secret’sTom Riddle, Lord Voldemort in his youththrough an enchanted diary, invites Harry tojoin him and his legions in darkness.The Prisoner of Azkaban:Harry must decide the fate of the man whobetrayed his family ultimately leading to theirdeaths.The Goblet of Fire:When Harry is fighting Lord Voldemort in thegraveyard he is once again given the chanceBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 36
  41. 41. by Voldemort himself to join him.Atonement with the Father-aparental figure is responsible forguiding the hero through the journeyThere are many father like figures in Harry’slife, some better than others. We first meetHarry’s Uncle, Vernon Dursley who is crueland unkind to him in all regards. We are thenintroduced to Professor Dumbledore whoprotects Harry from afar and develops a greatfondness for Harry. There is also hisgodfather Sirius Black who is introduced toviewers in movie three, The Prisoner ofAzkaban. His father James Potter whom helearns about more and more with each passingyear at Hogwarts. And the evil LordVoldemort who kills Harry’s parents andcurses the young boy creating his destiny.When Harry faces Lord Voldemort in moviethree while learning about his past, his father,and their commonalities.Apotheosis (becoming god-like)-arealization of the essence of life. Thismay be achieved through conqueringan enemy.When Harry truly defeats Lord Voldemort.This has yet to take place either, but I believethat this will take place when Harry leavesHogwarts and becomes of age-a mature wizardwhich is at the age of 17 in the wizardingworld (this is leading up to the finalmovie/book 7.)The ultimate boon-a blessingbestowed upon the hero.This will come when Lord Voldemort isdefeated, if he is defeated. Redemption of themagical worldIII: ReturnRefusal of the return-The hero isreluctant to return to his other worldbecause he is afraid others will not beable to comprehend, or understandwhat he has been through.This has not yet happened in the movies, butdoes happen in book six; so it is yet to come.The magic flight-Once the hero hasreceived his blessing, or obtained thenecessary treasure (information)needed to inform or heal others he isto return and share this with thecommunity.The Sorcerer’s Stone:Harry comes back from the vaults to sharewith admirers that the Sorcerer’s Stone is safe,and Voldemort was unable to return to power.The Chamber of Secret’s:Harry returns from the school vaults withGinny after having rescued Ginny Weasley.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 37
  42. 42. The Prisoner of Azkaban:Harry returns from this journey unable to sharethe good he had done on this journey, becauseSirius Black is thought to be a murderer,wrongly accused but the proof escaped whenPeter Pettigrew ran into the forest. ThereforeHarry is unable to share the good deeds fromthis adventure with anyone except for Ron,Hermione, and Dumbledore who guided hispath from the beginning. Harry can only relatethat Voldemort’s rise to power may happensoon.The Goblet of Fire:Harry returns from the end of the Tri-Wizarding challenge with Cedric Diggory’sbody. Cedric and Harry are both competitor’sin the tournament, but when the trophy turnedinto a portkey and transported them to agraveyard Cedric was instantly killed. Harryreturns the body to his family, so that theymay grieve and heal. This time Harry canconfirm that Voldemort has risen to power.Rescue from without- The herorequires the outside world to pull himback from the adventure.The Sorcerer’s Stone:Dumbledore rescues Harry from the vault justin time. Harry was fighting Professor Quirrel,the body inhabited by Voldemort.The Chamber of Secrets:Dumbledore sends his Phoenix, amythological bird with healing powers, to helpHarry in the Chambers defeat a Basilisk,extremely large snake hatched from a chickenegg. The Phoenix, Fawkes, has healingpowers and is able to heal Harry after he hasbeen bitten by the snake.The Prisoner of Azkaban:Dumbledore advises Hermione and Harry onwhat they need to do in order to save hisgodfather and the winged creature Buckbeakform death.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 38
  43. 43. The Goblet of Fire:Dumbledore rescues Harry after thetournament from Barty Crouch Jr. who isabout to kill Harry.Crossing the return threshold-Thehero must return to the real worldafter his adventure.At the end of every term Harry must return tothe Dursley’s for the summer, via train, theHogwarts Express.Master of the two worlds-The heromust come to an understanding thatthe two worlds exist simultaneously,they are one. The hero must examineand explore and learn how to bringthe two worlds together.The magical world and the muggle world.Harry is coming to understand the two worldsin which he currently goes between, but hasnot quite mastered them together.The train away from Hogwarts gives Harry,Ron & Hermione a time to reflect on the yearsevents.Freedom to live-The hero must learnto live between the two worlds andbring them together. This is the finalthreshold of the hero’s journey. Hecan pass freely through the tworealms.The Sorcerer’s Stone:Is an initial adjustment. Learning thewizarding community and their rules versusthe non-wizarding community. But becauseHarry is humble and grateful to be away fromthe Dursley’s he does his best to adjust to hisnew world.Chamber of Secrets:Harry has a little difficulty returning to theDursley’s because they continue to stifle himand treat him poorly. He is rescued from hisroom by the Ron Weasley and his brothersusing a flying car.The Prisoner of Azkaban:Harry loses his temper and blows VernonDursley’s sister into a blimp; she begins togrow larger and larger until she floats away.The Goblet of Fire:By the fourth movie Harry seems to betranscending between the two worlds withease.White magic is victorious over dark.Common Mythic ElementsTwo Worlds (mundane and special) Non-magical Community vs. The MagicalCommunityThe Mentor Sirius BlackThe Oracle Professor Dumbledore, Ministry of MagicBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 39
  44. 44. The Prophecy Harry must defeat Lord VoldemortWearingEnemys SkinIn The Chamber of Secret’s Ron and Harrydrink poly juice potion and turn into Crab andGoyle, in order to ask Draco Malfoy who theheir of Slytherin might be and how to open thechamber. And Harry bears a lightening boltscar left by Voldemort’s first attack; it hurtsHarry when he is near. Under the invisibilitycloak.Shape-shifter (the Hero isnt sure ifhe can trust this character)Doby the house elf, and Professor Snape, RitaSkeeter, Mad-Eye MoodyAnimal familiar Doby, a house elfHedgewick, Harry’s OwlCrookshanks- Hermione’s Cat,Scabbers, Ron’s rat, which turns out to bePeter Pettigrew the friend who betrayedHarry’s family.Chasing a lone animal into theenchanted wood (and the animalgets away)Brennan, Kristen.http://www.jitterbug.com/origins/myth.htmlThe Sorcerer’s Stone:Lord Voldemort’s spirit escapes from thechamber while Harry and Professor Quirrel areleft fighting. The Unicorn’s adventure in theforbidden forest.Chamber of Secret’s:Harry is chasing after the heir of Slytherin, andthe basilisk which continues to escape into thechambers of the schools.The Prisoner of Azkaban:Sirius Black, who morphs into a dog, watchesHarry from the forbidden forest and escapesinto the woods every time Harry tries to findhim or confront him. Pettigrew, Ron’s ratturned back into a man, escapes into the woodsto Lord Voldemort.The Goblet of Fire:During the Quidditch World Cup Harry sees aman project the dark mark, Lord Voldemort’smark with a wand, calling the Death Eaters,Voldemort’s follower’s to gather. BeforeHarry can see who the man is he escapes intothe woods.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 40
  45. 45. Harry is a hero set apart at birth due to the horrific murder of his parents by LordVoldemort, who Harry will one day have to confront. Harry demonstrates his chosenstatus when he, as only an infant, defeats one of the most powerful wizards of the day,Lord Voldemort. Not even the most accomplished wizards have been able to stopVoldemort. A prophecy is not directly stated, but hinted by the centaurs in the forbiddenforest when they are seen reading the stars. The hint of a prophecy in Harry Potter linkshis story to the same framework of the heroes of yesteryear.The death of Harry’s parent lead to a magical protection over the child as hismother sacrifices herself for the life of her infant son. Her loving sacrifice places apowerful and eternal protection over the infant whom Voldemort cannot defeat because itis “old magic,” a mother’s eternal love for her child. Voldemort became nothing but ashadow and Harry is considered a savior in the wizarding community. This solidifiesHarry’s character as a force above evil, a mythical hero descended from gods. The eventlinks Harry to Voldemort forever, who eventually regains power. Harry is then cast outof the magical world for his own protection and sent to live with relatives. Once it ismade known that Harry is destined for greatness, he must undergo a difficult childhood,during which time his status as a hero has faded from the minds of those who hail him asa hero (Campbell 321-334).Harry’s childhood is dismal and described by Campbell as the “long period ofobscurity,” the first stage of the heroes journey (326). Once it is time for the hero tobegin his journey, he may need assistance crossing the threshold. In Harry’s case, hisUncle Vernon was prohibiting him from opening his letter and being allowed to leave forHogwarts, a boarding school within the wizarding community. This is where Harry’sBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 41
  46. 46. magical or spiritual assistance comes into the mythology. Hagrid, a combination of witchand giant, has to go and get Harry from the Dursley’s, “the hero is covertly aided by theadvice, amulets, and secret agents of the supernatural helper whom he met before hisentrance” (Campbell 97). Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley, a portal that connects thewizarding world with muggle world. Once Harry arrives at Hogwarts Hagrid meets himonce again to take him and all the other first years to the school,“The fleet of little boats moved off all at once, gliding across thelake, which was as smooth as glass. They were carried along adark tunnel, which seemed to be taking them right underneath thecastle, until they reached a kind of underground harbor” (Rowling112).Campbell writes, “Beyond the first threshold are darkness, the unknown, and danger”(77). Harry Potter has now crossed the first threshold of his adventure where dragons,elves, three headed dogs, spiders who can talk, trolls, and other dark and mysteriouscreatures, along with Lord Voldemort, await their confrontations with the boy who lived.Harry Potter does differ from many past heroes in that he becomes the guardian inhis new world. Campbell describes the hero’s adventure when he leaves his home the“parental watch or protection of his society” (77). Yet at the end of the first movie, TheSorcerer’s Stone, Harry tells his friends “I’m not going home, not really” implying thathis home is at Hogwarts and within the wizarding community. His return to his aunt anduncle’s home is merely a short vacation for him; Hogwarts is his home.After Harry crosses the first threshold, crossing into the wizarding community, hemust meet and assimilate his opposite, unsuspecting self (Campbell 108). Upon arrivingat Hogwarts each student must be sorted into one of four houses. This is done by placingthe sorting hat, a magical hat on the head of each student. The hat then places eachBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 42
  47. 47. student into their perspective house, which could be any one of four: Gryffindor,Slytherin, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw. Gryffindor, known for its honorable and braveoccupants and Slytherin known for cunning, ambitious, power-hungry, and meanoccupants are the two most popular houses in the school. When Harry puts the hat on hishead he asks not to be put in Slytherin, “the hero discovers and assimilates his opposite”(108). Harry’s innate goodness places him in Gryffindor, whose alumni includeProfessor Dumbledore, Hagrid, Professor McGonagall, and Harry’s dad, James.Once Harry has crossed into these initial thresholds, he is on the path of a hero’sjourney. Perhaps unaware of it himself; others in the wizarding community certainlyrecognize and see him as the hero. Harry is humbled every time he leaves the wizardingcommunity to return to his aunt and uncle’s home. No one there thinks of him as a hero,and they don’t care what happens to him while at school. Perhaps this is to build hiscourage and self reliance so that when he does face evil he can sustain himself by callingon the power from within. Harry’s trials center around defeating Lord Voldemort, savinghis friends, and saving himself; the battle between good and evil is timeless and one inwhich audiences can identify.Harry chooses good over evil and his selfless and courageous nature enables himto win the ultimate boon, “the ease with which the adventure is here accomplishedsignifies that the hero is a superior man” (Campbell 173). Bridger writes, “Potter’s storyis an old one and the most basic: good versus evil, the stories are, at heart, moral tales”(43). Campbell writes, “The usual person is more than content, he is even proud, toremain within the indicated bounds,” but the hero is heroic, he does what everyone elseeither will not or cannot do (78). Harry Potter defeated Voldemort as an infant; he wentBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 43
  48. 48. into the schools vaults after the stone; he went into the chambers to save Genny, he facedhis father’s true enemy and rescued a magical creature and his godfather, foughtVoldemort in the cemetery and brought his friends body back, all characteristics of a truehero. Harry’s path is that of the typical hero, but a hero usually has friends along withway who intercede and help along the way, Harry is no different. Ronald Weasley andHermione Granger assist Harry in his epic journey as equals. They are on the same levelas Harry: the same age, the same amount of wizardry training, and their strengths fill inHarry’s weaknesses; they complete him.Ron is from a pure wizarding family, no muggle relations whatsoever. He lives inthe wizarding community and his father works for the ministry of magic. He is the sixthof seven children, and the youngest boy. Ron feels as though he must prove himselfbecause he is the sixth to attend Hogwarts and all five of his brothers have beenextraordinary in their own way, and he feels as though he cannot do anything they havenot done before him. Ron values his friendship with Harry and Hermione above all else,this encourages his strengths and makes him a valuable hero throughout the series.Hermione is muggle born, very studious, curious, and loyal to Harry and Ron.She is the top witch in her year, which proves to be helpful as her logic and wit are oftenwhat helps in working out the clues during each epic. Hermione is often encouragingRon and Harry both to do the right things, to study hard, and to use a little logic beforejumping into the fire. Her loyalty, bravery, and friendship prove to be valuable assets inher own heroic journey.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 44
  49. 49. Campbell Ronald Weasley Hermione GrangerI: DepartureThe call to adventure Leaving for Hogwarts Leaving for HogwartsRefusal of the call Ready to go Ready to goSupernatural aid Hagrid, Dumbledore Hagrid, DumbledoreThe Magical World The Magical WorldCrossing the firstthresholdM1: Conquerors a Troll tosave Hermione; going intothe vaultM2: Defending Harrywhen no one else Fallinginto the ChambersM3: Being sucked into theWhomping WillowM4: Defending Harrywhen no one else willM1: Upon receiving the “DailyProphet” and putting together theclues to what is in hiding beneaththe schools vaults; and going intothe vaultM2: Falling into the ChambersM3: Jumping into the hole of theWhomping WillowM4: Helping Harry learn Charmsand Spells in order to successfullycompete in each matchThe belly of thewhaleM1:School Vaults, thegame of chessM2: Entering the ChamberM3: Ron’s rat, Scabbers isan animagi and turns intoPeter PettigrewM4: His own selfishnessin learning to accept thatHarry does not want to bethe chosen hero and thefame that he has attainedis a burden for him.M1: School Vaults, escaping fromthe Dragons Snare & calculatingwhich potion to takeM2: Being called a mudblood, andhaving to accept that it is okay tobe a muggleborn witch. Also,going to the library, learningabout the basilisk and going backto tell Ron and Harry when she ispetrifiedM3: Using the time-turner, so thather and Harry can save Buckbeak& Sirius.M4: Working through the cluesand helping Harry learn charms inorder to help him succeedII: InitiationThe road of trials M1: The troll in thebathroom, the threeheaded dog, entering thevaults, Dragons Snare thegame of Chess.M2: The WhompingWillow, Standing up toM1: The troll in the bathroom, thethree headed dog, the night in theforbidden forest, entering thevaults, Dragons Snare, and thepotion room.M2: Being called a Mudblood,Polyjuice potion, being petrifiedBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 45
  50. 50. Malfoy, Polyjuice potion,Aragog (the spider in thewoods), entering thechamberM3: The Dementors, TheBoggart, Attacked in themiddle night, whileasleep, by Sirius Black,Being swallowed by theWhomping Willow,Watching his rat Scabbersturn into Peter PettigrewM4: The Quidditch WorldCup, helping Harry in thetournamentby the basilisk.M3: The Dementors, The Time-turner, attempting to legally saveBuckbeak, entering the whompingwillow, facing Sirius Black,Facing a werewolf, using thetime-turner to save Buckbeak, andSiriusM4: The Quidditch World Cup,helping Harry learn charms andspells in order to properlycompete (Plays a bigger role inthe book here rather than themovie)The meeting with thegoddess/godFleur Delacour Victor KrumTemptation awayfrom the true pathRon is tempted only is hisoccasional jealousy ofHarry and the fame he has.Hermione is a non-conformist,although she is constantly tryingto prove that she does follow therules. She has not been trulytempted up to this point.Atonement with theFatherHagrid, Sirius andDumbledoreHagrid, Sirius, and DumbledoreApotheosis(becoming god-like)Defeating Lord Voldemort Defeating Lord VoldemortRedemption of themagical worldRedemption of the magical world.The ultimate boonIII: ReturnRefusal of the return Is yet to come Is yet to comeThe magic flight M1: Ron is embarrassedbut sheepishly accepts thepraise for his game ofchess played in the vaultsM2: Returns with Harryfrom out of the chambersto bear witness of theevents in Dumbledore’sofficeM3: Ron, Harry, andHermione quietly discusstheir triumphant.M1: Hermione is praised for her“cool use of intellect” while in thevaults in the potion room of thevaultsM2: In hospital wingM3: Ron, Harry, and Hermionequietly discuss their triumphant.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 46
  51. 51. Rescue from without M1: Hermione brings Ronaround after the Chessgame and takes him backup into the castle.M2: Ron, Harry, & Gennyreturn out of the Chamberswith FawkesM3: Ron is taken to thehospital wing by SnapeM1: Hermione returns to thecastle with RonM2: Awakes from her petrifiedstateM4: Ron realizes theimportance of friendship,when Harry’s third task isto save Ron from themerpeople at the bottomof the lake.M3: Hermione and Harry returnvia the time-turnerM4: Hermione has a trueunderstanding of InternationalCooperation and a betterunderstanding of those closer tohome.Crossing the returnthresholdThe train away fromHogwartsThe train away from HogwartsMaster of the twoworldsRon remains in themagical world, but haslittle understanding for themuggle worldHermione crosses between thetwo worlds, and seems to have agood understanding of how tofunction between bothCommon Mythic ElementsTwo Worlds(mundane andspecial)Real world vs. magic,good vs. evilReal world vs. magic, good vs.evilThe Mentor Dumbledore Dumbledore, ProfessorMcGonagallThe Oracle Ministry of Magic Ministry of MagicHarry is the chose one todefeat VoldemortHarry is the chosen one to defeatVoldemortThe ProphecyDrinking Polyjuice potionto become Goyle.Peter Pettigrew, ananimagus disguised as arat. Under the invisibilitycloak.WearingEnemys SkinUnder the invisibility CloakShape-shifter (the Professor Snape, Professor Snape, Rita Skeeter,Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 47
  52. 52. Scabbers, Crookshanks,Victor Crum, Rita Skeeter,MoodyMoodyHero isnt sure if hecan trust thischaracter)Animal familiar Basilisk, Animagus: SiriusBlack, Professor Lupin- awerewolf, and PeterPettigrew, CrookshanksCrookshanks, Professor Lupin-werewolf, basiliskAragon in the ForbiddenForestUnicorn in the Forbidden ForestChasing a loneanimal into theenchanted wood(and the animal getsaway)M1: The Sorcerer’s Stone, M2: The Chamber of Secret’s, M3: The Prisoner of Azkaban, M4: The Goblet of FireWhile Ron and Hermione may not be one hundred percent on the typical heroes’journey, both have proven themselves to be heroes on the same journey as Harry.Argument and speculation could be made that these two would probably never have beenput on the path if they had not befriended Harry, but they did and they have proventhemselves heroically admirable time and again. Ron and Hermione bring their ownstrengths and weaknesses to Harry Potter, and are both eager to prove their loyalty,honor, and courage to themselves as well as the wizarding community.While Ron plays the secondary hero in Harry Potter, he is still a crucial character.His ability to play, “The best game of chess Hogwarts has ever seen,” proves crucial inorder for Harry to move forward in the vaults to save the stone (Dumbledore, Sorcerer’sStone). Ron is protective of Harry and Hermione and heroically defends them both, ascan be seen in the second movie when he stands up to Malfoy for calling Hermione amudblood, which is a derogatory term in the wizarding world. In the third movie, Ronproves his loyalty during Harrys confrontation with then-supposed-murderer SiriusBlack, Ron declares while trying to stand on his broken leg, "If you want to kill Harry,Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 48
  53. 53. youll have to kill us too!" This is a strong statement showing viewers Rons steadfastloyalty to his friends and his heroic bravery to not back down in a tough situation.Hermione is known as the “brightest wizard of her year,” and uses her knowledgeand wit to help Harry. Ron, Harry, and Hermione become friends after Ron and Harrysave her from a troll, and she in turns takes the blame and punishment so that the boys donot get in trouble. This permanently seals their friendship and makes Hermione also asecondary hero. Hermione helps Harry in saving the sorcerer’s stone, not through magicbut through logic. When they are in the vaults, they enter into a potion room where herwit and logic help her to decipher which bottles are poisonous and which are not. In thesecond movie, it is Hermione who brews the Polyjuice potion allowing the boys tochange into Grab and Goyle, Malfoy’s best friends, so that they can interview Malfoyabout the chamber of secrets. She is also the one who identifies the monster in thechamber as a basilisk. In the third movie, Hermione uses her time-turner to help Harrygo back in time to save Sirius Black and the hippogriff, Buckbeak. In the fourth movie,Hermione punches Malfoy in the face for his threats, proving her strength and courage tonot back down from a tough situation. Hermione also spends time teaching Harry charmsand spells that will help him in the tournament tasks. Hermione proves herself throughher knowledge, loyalty, bravery, and courage to face difficult and unsuspectingchallenges.Although Ron and Hermione did not start out directly on Campbell’s path, theyare nevertheless on the path and proving themselves to be strong, reliable heroes throughtheir own bravery and heroic deeds. According to Campbell:The standard path of the mythological adventure of thehero is magnification of the formula represented in the ritesBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 49
  54. 54. of passage: separation-initiation-return: … A hero venturesforth from the world of common day into a region ofsupernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encounteredand a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back fromthis mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boonson his fellow man (30).Harry, Ron, and Hermione have all experienced the separation, the initiation, and thereturn of the hero’s journey. All three entered the Hogwarts Express leaving behind theirfamilies and venturing forth alone into the magical, unexpected world of Hogwarts. Allthree have faced the trials and separations that no ordinary person would venture to face,and all three have returned to share the boon. These modern day heroes are proving thatthe hero’s journey is still strong and still must be taken, regardless of the path.Although Rowling says she did not write the Harry Potter series for the bigscreen, her writing style transfers easily into Campbell’s paradigm of a classic hero,which is a writing style on which Hollywood has become dependant on, it is a suremethod with block buster hits that include: Star Wars, Spider-Man, The Lord of theRings, and of course Harry Potter. Harry Potter is on the standard path of themythological hero, and his journey is well represented in Campbell’s monomythparadigm: separation/departure, initiation, and return, and this translate into a modern dayhero whose story is being told on movie screens the world over. O’Shaughnessy impliesthat the media uses Campbell’s ideals in essentialist view—approaching human nature asuniversally the same throughout culture and throughout history—and reflecting thisessential nature (154). The popular success of Harry Potter resonates with the alreadyexisting beliefs and ideals of the audience, which in the case of Harry Potter would bebillions of fans, this is one of the reasons it is popular, people can relate to the heroeswithin.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 50
  55. 55. Myth, Imagination, History and FantasyHarry Potter is steeped in mythological allusions ranging from the archetype heroto the mythological creatures like the Centaurs, the unicorns, mermaids, trolls, and giants.Harry Potter is a modern day hero, so how can these things exist in a modern world?This is also part of the Harry Potter charm; once again it is not explained away, it simplyexist. Of course, in the series, it is justified by Hermione who tells Ron and Harry overand over again that the magical world has enchantments and spells working to protect andkeep the mythical world hidden from muggles.The allure of Potterworld stems from the magnificent imagination, rich detail, andvisual imagery provided by Rowling and exceptionally translated onto the big screen.Campbell says, “There is something magical about films” (Moyers 17). In The Power ofMyth, Moyers asks Campbell about myths and how they will translate in a modernmedium, and he replied, “I see the possibility of new metaphors, automobiles have gotteninto mythology, into dreams” (18). What would Campbell have to say about the flyingcar in The Chamber of Secrets? Perhaps he would confirm that myths are the realities inan individual’s dreams, and this makes for good story telling and for great movies.Dreams are a part of one’s imagination and can only be interpreted by an analogythrough a myth. “Jung speaks of two orders of dream, the personal dream and thearchetypal dream, or the dream of mythic dimensions” (Moyers 42). Some dreams havea clear interpretation; whereas other dreams have a deeper meaning and often come fromBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 51
  56. 56. the archetypal person within our subconscious (Moyers 42). Harry Potter lives in afictitious mythical world, a place that exists in dreams for many of its viewers.Most myths stem from Greek and Roman mythology, and heroes are born fromthe gods and goddesses who were connected to their civilizations. In creating the childhero, Rowling uses many of the ancient hero archetypes found in mythology. Thesearchetypes make the story universally appealing because they are idealized versions ofthe cycles that every person must experience in life—childhood, adolescence, thedeparture from one’s parents and the reintegration into adulthood.Because myths and stories are the subconscious of an individual’s mind, there areoften realities and bits of history entwined, thus making it easy to use the myth in order toinfluence cultural norms. The fantasy world is combined with what the audience knowsis real. Kern writes, “The writers draw upon human history to comment upon the humancondition. In doing so, they elaborate upon age-old themes and illustrate how they stillinform today’s world” (191). There are many real elements in the Harry Potter text thatdraw on historical and past mythology.For example, Platform 9 ¾ is not an actual platform, but it does have a significantmeaning. When workers of the train station go beneath the surface the columns beloware marked as they are above, used as markers so the workers will know where they are,9 ¾ is marked. Beneath the station, between platforms 9 and 10, so the story goes: therewas once a good queen who fought off the Romans trying to protect the women of hertribe from being beaten and raped, she died in battle and is buried at 9 ¾ below the trainstation. Workers have said they have seen or felt her presence (Trevisick). Whether ornot this is true, it is a legend told in and around England, a familiar story combined toBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 52
  57. 57. embroil the myth in mystery and intrigue for those who live in England, and those whoare familiar with the story.In the first movie, The Sorcerer’s Stone, Rowling uses the story of NicholasFlammel and the philosopher’s stone as the background for Harry’s first adventure.Whether or not the viewer knew about the stone it did not matter. A brief background orhistory was provided within the text. Nicolas Flammel was a 14thcentury alchemist,which is another strong topic throughout the Potter series-alchemy, who was born inParis. He was always searching ancient knowledge and studying the art of alchemy. It isbelieved he discovered the sorcerer’s stone, which is believed to provide eternal life.Question and mystery surround Flammel’s research and death to this day. Two hundredyears after his death his tomb was exhumed to reveal only an empty tomb. The real questof alchemy is to find one’s true self (Trevisick). Did Flammel create a stone that allowsone to cheat death? Another intriguing mystery surrounded in legends and mythologicaltales.Kern implies that Rowling uses the past to make her stories more appealing. Therealistic feel of the narrative comes from the suburban qualities of Little Whinging, whereHarry’s relatives live and where he lived on a regular basis until he turned eleven. Kernwrites, “The characters are so clearly the products of past events and display an acuteawareness of them should suggest to readers/viewers how important a historicalsensibility is to the narrative” (194-195). Rowling combines history, legend, and myth inan epic fantasy which conveys moral lessons.The creatures of mythology cannot be left out because they often play animportant role in the narrative. There are many mythical creatures in the Harry PotterBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 53
  58. 58. series which include: a three headed dog named Fluffy, a hippogriff, a basilisk, centaurs,sphinx’s, unicorns, mermaids, trolls, giants, fairies, elves, and werewolves. In moviethree, The Prisoner of Azkaban, audiences are introduced to an animagi, a person whocan transform themselves into an animal while retaining a human’s intellect; however,they do loose a sense of right from wrong, hence the werewolves who try to remain good.While this is something students and viewers witness in the first movie, The Sorcerer’sStone, the most defined characters who practice the skill most often is stronglyrepresented in the third movie. These characters are used to convey moral lessons fromwhich the hero and the audience can learn.In the third movie, the hero learns how to conqueror fear when he is put in thepath of dementors, creatures who symbolize the debilitating effects of depression andmadness. Fear is a very human emotion which all humans face. Harry teaches societythat in order to conqueror ones fear one must face that fear (Kern 201). Some of themythical pests, such as the grindylow, hinkypunk, kappa, pixie, and poltergeist, “aresymbolic of the unexpected difficulties and uncertainties that life so indifferently placesin an individual’s way,” as in real life the hero and the viewer often have to faceunexpected difficulties and how to pick and choose one’s battle (Kern 200). Using theselegendary creatures to communicate moral lessons in a clever hidden way makes thelesson apparent to the viewer without making the audience feel as though morality isbeing thrust at them.Two important mythological symbols which should not be ignored, because theytoo often represent the hero and his nemesis, are the lion and the snake; these two animalsoften represent good and evil and do in Harry Potter as well. The lion is interpreted asBailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 54
  59. 59. brave, courageous, and strong, all the qualities of a hero. The snake represents evil,danger, untrustworthy, and sneaky, all the characteristics of evil. Each house atHogwarts is represented by an animal, the lion is the house of Gryffindor, Harry, Ron,and Hermione’s house, and the snake is the house of Slytherin, Voldemort’s and DracoMalfoy’s house. Kern writes, “By placing the two related pairs in conflict, she structuresthe epic struggle at the core of Harry’s adventures” (203). Using these mythologicalsymbols in which audiences can and will relate to as good and evil for they haveappeared in mythological stories throughout time. In Genesis, of the Bible, it is theserpent that tempts Eve and forever changes the relationship between God, whorepresents all things good, and man. In C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, Aslan is a lion whorepresent all things good. The lion and the serpent have a long history in mythology andare symbols in which people can easily relate, naming the lion a hero and the serpent adarkness of evil.In examining the past, Rowling is able to place the heroes in a world thatpromotes morality and conveys virtues. The images, animals, and history allows thenarratives to take the heroes on a mythological journey where good struggles against evil.“Rowling’s makes him the product of a past and gives him theintellect to recognize it’s shaping influence upon the future. Andshe place shim in a near-contemporary world, resembling our own,which combines numerous elements, both familiar and fantastic,drawn from history, legend, and myth” (Kern 207).By placing the series in a “near-contemporary” world it becomes appealing to the viewerand makes the hero more realistic to the audience, thus the success of Harry Potter.Bailey, Ronda Harry Potter: A Modern Hero 55

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