Harry Potter Hero Myth Analysis

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Heroic figures have long been the root of inspiration and fascination for humankind. A myriad of hero myths share themes and patterns that have recurred throughout time in countless narratives. In J. K. Rowling’s books about the young wizard Harry Potter, we find the same themes, motifs and structures that these hero myths are composed of.
To analyse the mythical structure in Harry Potter, two influential concepts about the construction of typical hero myths will be discussed in this chapter: psychoanalyst Otto Rank’s theory of the archetypical hero’s life and mythologist Joseph Campbell’s theory of the “monomyth”:

• The archetypical hero:
Psychoanalyst Otto Rank analyses in his work The Myth of the Birth of the Hero (Rank, 1909) hero myths …show more content…

• The hero’s journey:
Harry’s narrative follows an age-old pattern found in numerous myths and stories. American mythologist Joseph Campbell analyses this storyline of the journey of an archetypical hero in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” (Campbell, 1949), a work that has inspired many writers and artists. Classic examples of Campbell’s archetypical hero include ancient Greek myths such as that of the hero Odysseus, the story of Moses and Star Wars’ protagonist Luke Skywalker (cf. Colbert, 2008, 208).
Campbell writes about the concept that countless myths all share a basic structure, called the monomyth. In this, the hero of the story undergoes a number of steps in his journey, labelled Departure, Initiation and Return (cf. Ahmed, 2012, 4):

(1) In the Departure stage, the hero enters a strange world of often supernatural powers and events, after being called to it in the normal world he’s lived in (cf. Colbert, 2008, 208).
Harry Potter’s narrative follows Campbell’s pattern. In Harry’s case, he is living with his Muggle relatives, when letters from Hogwarts arrive to notify him that he has been accepted to the wizarding school (cf. Ahmed, 2012,

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