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Harry Potter And The Sorceror's Stone Follows Mythological Hero Model

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In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter is the hero of the story. I believe that this movie follows Joseph Campbell's model about the pattern of a hero's journey. Campbell wrote that there were three stages in every hero's mythological voyage. For the following five paragraphs, I compared the first stage, Departure, with the beginning of the movie.

The hero is called to adventure when Hagrid brings Harry to Dumbledore. This makes sense to me since when Dumbledore places Harry on the doorstep, he explains to Professor McGonagall about why he is leaving Harry with the Dursleys. He also says the words, "...until he is ready" and that, "it's not really good-bye after all". This means that Harry Potter will be seeing Dumbledore someday, and in a sense, that is how Harry is called to adventure. The movie then shows scenes of Harry Potter being maltreated by the Dursleys, which is everyday life to Harry. All the owls dropping in their letters into the house shows an example of how "destiny has summoned the hero".

Joseph Campbell says that the hero may refuse the call to adventure. In this movie, Harry did not refuse...but Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia both were keeping him from going. Uncle Vernon intercepts all the letters and burns them. He even gets so fanatical over the letters that he nails his mail-flap shut. One day, so many letters fly in through all kinds of openings in the house that Uncle Vernon has had enough and moves in to a shabby, musty and broken-down refuge barely fit enough to be called a 'home'.

Even so, Uncle Vernon cannot keep Hogwarts from reaching Harry. Harry's magical protector, Hagrid, breaks in to the Dursleys' lodging. Harry finally gets a chance to read his letter while Hagrid argues with the Dursleys. Finally, Harry escapes with Hagrid to Diagon Alley, where he finds out more about his past. I believe that Hagrid is Harry's protector, based on all Hagrid did for him.

I agree with Campbell that the hero must cross the threshold into the new world alone. When Hagrid leads Harry to the train station, he suddenly has to leave since he is running late. Harry is then alone to find Platform Nine and three-quarters by himself since all the 'Muggles' have no idea what he is talking about. Luckily, he meets the Weasleys, and they show him how to get through. Even so, Harry must cross the barrier by himself. When he runs through the wall, he closes his eyes. When he opens them again, he finds himself in a new world with the Hogwarts Express about to leave. The way Harry finds out how to get through the threshold is how he "outwits the guardian of the threshold who wants to prevent the crossing."

Potter enters the "Belly of the Whale" when he serves detention to Professor McGonagall. Hagrid leads Harry, Ron, Hermione and Draco Malfoy into the Forbidden Forest, which is usually off-limits to students. The half-giant then leaves Malfoy with Harry to find out what has been killing and drinking the blood of unicorns. This is apt for the "Belly of the Whale" since Harry Potter is wandering into the unknown.

The second stage Campbell describes is the Initiation. In this movie, Harry was not abducted, but he was taken in a journey at night. This is why I think the part when Harry enters the Forest covers various ideas of Joseph Campbell. When the hero fights a symbolic dragon, I think that is when he sees Voldemort drinking the unicorn's blood. Voldemort was about to get Harry, but a centaur comes and scares Voldemort off,

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