Harry Potter and the Holy Grail Essay

Harry Potter and the Holy Grail Essay

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Two of the best things in the world, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “Harry Potter,” have a good deal in common. Other than the vast amount of space reserved in my brain for storing quotes and random facts from these two stories, both tales share many similar objects, plot devices, character attributes, and themes. Even though Python's “Holy Grail” is an exact historical representation of the Arthurian Grail legend, some might argue that the “Harry Potter” story is more reflective of the actual ancient texts than the 1974 film.
Harry has many things in common with King Arthur. Both characters were orphans raised with their cousins, and mentored by wise men with large beards. Neither knew of his importance until it was revealed to him by mystical, somewhat divine means, and both men fell in love with a woman named Ginerva. Certainly not least of all, a major ordeal in the lives of both Harry and King Arthur was the quest for a mystical cup-- The Holy Grail for Arthur, and the Triwizard Cup for Harry.
The Holy Grail, according to legend and “Indiana Jones,” is the cup that Jesus and his disciples drank from during the last supper. Later writings also tell that the cup was used to catch Jesus's blood while he was being crucified. While sometimes depicted as a rather fancy, jeweled chalice, it is much more likely that Jesus, the poor son of a carpenter, would have drunk from a simple wooden cup (Ford).
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” features two chalices, both of great import. The Goblet of Fire is a wooden cup that determines who will participate in the Triwizard Tournament. When Filch brings out the Goblet, it is stored in “a great wooden chest encrusted with jewels” (Rowling, 254). Sir Thomas Malory, au...


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...did Rowling include all of these allusions to the ancient Arthurian myth? Succinctly, because it makes the story seem more impressive, and gives it a bit more depth. Most everyone has heard of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, and perhaps Rowling thought that associating her story with the great tales of old would trump up the value of her epic novels. Nearly all of the Weasleys are named/modeled after characters/objects relating to King Arthur, and so are a few places (Voldemort's lake), passwords (Caput Draconis), and magical artifacts. I, for one, immediately recognized many of the references, and found them to be rather endearing.
Of course, it's also possible that Rowling simply finds it entertaining to sneakily implant pieces of classical mythology into her novels and watch as her fans try to find some deep, overarching meaning to all of it.

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