Harry Potter and The Hero's Journey Essay

Harry Potter and The Hero's Journey Essay

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In movies, novels, and life, people are named as heroes. The heroes we establish and the heroes we recognize, however, may not meet the criteria for a mythic hero. A mythic hero ventures forth on his journey, and comes forth from the hero’s path to greatness. Joseph Campbell, a mythologist who studied many of the great human myths and religious tales, realized, in studying these myths and tales, that there were certain steps that every hero went through. Campbell called this “The Hero’s Journey”; it is based on Carl Jung's idea that all human beings have an archetype. After Campbell studied a lot of the great myths and realized this pattern, he published his findings in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Ever since then, authors have used “The Hero’s Journey” as an outline to tell their stories. “It is important to note that not all of these individual steps are present in every hero’s tale, nor is it important that they be in this exact order” (Vogler 20). The Hero with a Thousand Faces gives a sense of significance as it looks into the inner mind and soul. The author, Joseph Campbell, performs two extraordinary accomplishments: compelling his readers that myth and dream, those are the most effective and everlasting forces in life and a unification of mythology and psychoanalysis with a gripping narrative. One well-known example of “The Hero’s Journey” from popular culture is the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling. In the novel, Harry Potter, the main character, is the chosen one and “The Hero’s Journey” applies to his life from the moment he is attacked by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named as a baby.
Joseph Campbell calls the initial phase of a hero’s development the “Call to Adventure.” The call is the in...

... middle of paper ...

...him hesitate before he can act on anything. Another main threshold guardian is Draco Malfoy because Draco is trying to make Harry look bad and himself look good. Draco, coming from a wizarding family, is trying to prove that Harry should not be revered because he did not grow up as a wizard. Harry has many barriers to break to get to the next stage in his journey and he is successful as he gathers more and more self confidence.

Works Cited

Campbell, Joesph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. 2nd Ed. Bollingen Series XVII. Princeton:
Princeton UP, 1968.
Henderson, Mary. Star Wars: The Magic of Myth. 1st Ed. New York: Bantam Books, 1997.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 1st Ed. London: Bloomsbury Publishing,
Vogler, Christopher. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. 3rd Ed. Studio City:
Michael Wiese Productions, 2007.

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