Hero with a Thousand Faces and Harry Potter

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The Hero with a Thousand Faces: Harry Potter

The hugely successful Harry Potter series has been embraced by millions of readers worldwide. It’s sold more than four hundred million copies and has been translated into numerous languages. Both children and adults alike have rejoiced to the whimsical story, told by the author J.K. Rowling, about a hero and his perilous journey to an ultimate goal. What many probably do not realize is that they, more likely than not, have read stories like it before. For centuries, various cultures have told similar tales that contain the common themes that Rowling’s book exhibits. These themes are the blueprints for stories that have high appeal to everyone in the world and any author that makes use of them can find success. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, clearly states every step that is taken by the Hero from stories all around the world and history. Rowling makes heavy use of Campbell’s following themes: “The Call to Adventure”, “Refusal of the Call”, “Supernatural Aid”, “The Crossing of the First Threshold”, “The Belly of the Whale”, “Atonement”, “Apotheosis”, “Ultimate Boon”, and “Freedom to Live”.

Campbell begins “The Hero’s Journey” with “The Call to Adventure”. He describes this step as the beginning process of change that presents itself to the Hero as a challenge. This challenge is what gives characters a reason to leave their old life behind and begin their adventure; “destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of his society to a zone unknown” (Campbell 58). This step is also marked by the appearance of The Herald; a being that announces the beginning of his or her journey. This being is usually an unnatural entity that seems to be frightening at first, but reveals itself as the guide to adventure. “The herald or announcer of the adventure … is often dark, loathly, or terrifying, judged evil by the world; yet if one could follow, the way...
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