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Hero's Journey in the Harry Potter Book Series

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The story of Harry Potter begins as Harry Potter is about to celebrate his eleventh birthday. All of his other birthdays have come and gone rather plainly and uneventful. The Durselys whom he lives with have never given Harry a birthday present and constantly abuse Harry both physically and mentally. Harry begins to receive mysterious letters that his aunt and uncle will not allow him to read, he receives so many that the family relocates to a shack on an island. While at the shack Harry is visited by Hagrid who tells Harry that he is a wizard and that he is to attend his first year of Wizarding School at Hogwarts this year. Harry is whisked away and taken to Diagon Alley to buy supplies for his first year of school, it is here that Harry learns that his family was murdered by a dark wizard named Voldemort. Harry arrives at Hogwarts and is sorted into the Gryfindor house where he befriends Hermoine Granger and Ronald Weasley. In his first year alone Harry overcomes obstacles that most advanced wizards will never face. He defeats a mountain troll, sneaks past a giant three headed dog, overcomes trials and finds the sorcerer’s stone which grants immortality to whoever wields it. Voldemort was also searching for the stone leading to a showdown between the dark wizard and Harry. When Voldemort tries to attack Harry he is turned to ash simply by touching him. When Harry awakens in the hospital after the encounter he believes that he has defeated Voldemort. He is soon greeted by the Headmaster Albus Dumbledore however, who tells him differently. As he will soon find out in his second year the battle with Voldemort has just begun.

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Harrys second year begins when he meets a house elf named Dobby who warns him not to go to school this year. Dobby steals Harry’s letters from his friends, seals the entrance to the train to Hogwarts and courses a bludger to attack Harry all in an attempt to make sure harry doesn’t attend his second year. We soon find out that Dobby’s warnings were warranted when Harry learns a secret chamber in the school containing a monster has been opened. The monster begins attacking those who are not of pure magical blood. Harry eventually finds the chamber and inside it he finds a mysterious man and lying at his feet is Ginny Weasly.The man reveals to harry that he is Tom Riddle, more commonly known as Voldemort. He tells Harry that he manipulated Ginny into opening the chamber of secrets through a diary that contained his memory and allowed him to physically manifest himself. Riddle calls forth the monster that is revealed to be a basilisk to kill Harry. Faux, Dumbledore’s pet phoenix, comes to aid Harry by clawing out the basilisks eyes and also gives him the sword of Gryffindor. Harry uses the sword to slay the basilisk and removes one of its fangs. Harry uses the fang to stab the diary which destroys it and the memory of Tom Riddle.

Harry returns for his third year of Hogwarts to learn that a killer named Sirius Black is on the loose and is coming for him. Harry also learns that Sirius black handed his parents over to Voldemort and also happens to be his godfather. Whilst on the train to Hogwarts creatures called dementors board and search the train for Sirius black. The dementors mistakenly attack Harry but he is saved by the new dark against the dark arts teacher Professor Lupin. Throughout the year Lupin trains harry to overcome his fear of the dementors and teaches him how to fight them off. One night whilst Harry, Ron, and Hermione are out on the grounds Ron is attacked by a large dog and dragged underneath the base of a large tree. Harry and Hermione follow him through a tunnel at the base of the tree and it leads them to the shrieking shack. When they enter the shrieking shack they find that the dog who attacked Ron was actually Sirius Black Harry attacks Black but is disarmed by Lupin who appears to be friends with Black. Lupin reveals that the reason Harry’s parents are dead is not because of Black but that Scabbers, Ron’s pet rat is to blame. Black reveals that scabbers is actually Peter Pettigrew, who used to be a trusted friend before betraying Harry’s parents. Harry agrees to take Pettigrew back to Hogwarts to hand him over to the dementors however, Lupin is forced to change into a werewolf because the moon is full. The change provides a distraction and Pettigrew escapes. Sirius attempts to hold off Lupin and is injured. Lupin runs off when called away by what appeared to be another werewolf’s howl. Dementors swarm the area in an attempt to catch Black and Harry fends them off with a patronous charm. The fight drains the energy out of Harry and he collapses. When he awakens he goes to visit Ron in the hospital wing. Whilst there harry learns from Headmaster Dumbledore that Sirius is going to be executed in the morning. Hermione reveals to harry that she has a method for turning time backwards. Hermione and Harry travel backwards in time and manage to save Sirius from execution.

Harry returns to Hogwarts the following year to learn that Hogwarts is playing host to the Twi-Wizard Tournament. The tournament is a very dangerous set of tasks with a history of casualties, therefore it is open only to students in their final year at Hogwarts. Somehow Harry’s name is pulled from the goblet of fire and he is forced to compete in the tournament. Harry must compete in a dangerous set of tasks that include stealing an egg from a dragon, rescuing Ron from an army of mer-people and navigating a dangerous maze. At the end of the maze Harry grabs the Twi-Wizard Cup which turns out to be a portal to a strange cemetery. While he is in the cemetery Harry is captured by Peter Pettigrew, who forcibly takes his blood and pours it into a cauldron. Pettigrew also dumps what seems to be an infant into the cauldron, the infant emerges as a fully restored Voldemort. Voldemort forces Harry to face off against him, during the battle Voldemort’s wand cracks and his past victims emerge from the wand. Harry’s mother and father emerge from the wand, Harry’s father tells him that they are able to buy him enough time to make it back to the cup and return to Hogwarts.

The summer following the Twi-Wizard Tournament Harry is attacked by dementors and is forced to conjure the patronus charm in front of his cousin Dudley. This is a clear violation of wizarding law and Harry is forced to stand trial. Harry is eventually cleared of all charges and returns to Hogwarts. His return however is not celebrated by everyone, as some people believe that Harry Potter made up the story of being attacked by Voldemort the previous year. The ministry of magic believes that Hogwarts is becoming a problem and places one of its own employees Dolores Umbridge as the new defense against the dark arts teacher. Dolores refuses to teach any practical magic and implements totalitarian policies in the school. This forces harry to create a secret club of students who want to learn defensive magic. Harry names the club Dumbledore’s Army and he draws in a large number of students. Throughout the year Harry begins to have visions and dreams that come true, Dumbledore reveals that these are the thoughts of Voldemort creeping into Harry’s mind. Harry has a vision of Sirius being tortured at the ministry of magic so he and Dumbledore’s Army go to rescue him. When they arrive they realize they have stumbled into a trap and a battle ensues. During the battle Sirius Black is killed by one of Voldemort’s followers, Harry chases her and is confronted by Voldemort. Dumbledore arrives just in time to save harry and engages in a ferocious duel with Voldemort. The duel ends in a stalemate as the Auroros and the minister of magic arrive just in time to see Voldemort flee, confirming that Harry’s story is true.

Harry returns home for a summer vacation, until Dumbledore whisks him away to a seemingly deserted house. Whilst there harry meets Professor Slughorn who had cleverly disguised himself as an armchair. With Harry’s help Dumbledore convinces Slughorn to return to Hogwarts to teach potions class. Dumbledore reveals to harry that slug horn is keeping a very important memory that he needs Harry to Acquire. Harry eventually retrieves the memory and plays it back in the pensive, a basin that is able to view memories. The memory reveals that Voldemort had come to Slughorn while he was a student and asked Slughorn about a piece of dark magic called a horcrux. Slughorn told Voldemort that the horcrux splits the soul into pieces allowing the wizard to theoretically live forever. Dumbledore reveals to Harry that all of the horcruxes must be destroyed in order to kill Voldemort. Dumbledore takes harry to find a horcrux and after undergoing a physically draining test return to Hogwarts empty handed. When they return to the castle they see find that the castle has been infiltrated by followers of Voldemort led by Severus Snape one of the teachers at Hogwarts. Snape kills Dumbledore, Harry chases after him but is unable to stop him. Following Dumbledore’s death the responsibility of destroying the horcruxes now rest on Harry’s shoulders. Harry sets out with Hermione and Ron to find and destroy the horcruxes. After destroying the first four horcruxes Harry has a vision of Hogwarts and realizes that the fifth horcrux is at Hogwarts. Hogwarts has become a prison camp run by Professor Snape. The students are ecstatic to see Harry and eager to help him find the horcrux. With the help of one of the professors Harry is able to push Snape out and reclaim the school. Voldemort learns that Harry is at the school and brings an army prepared to attack unless they give up Harry. The students and teachers fortify the castle in preparation for the inevitable battle whilst harry searches for the horcrux. Harry is able to find the horcrux and destroy it. When Voldemort learns of this he commences the attack on the school. Harry witnesses Voldemort kill Snape and Snape begs harry to collect his tears and view his memories in the pensive. After viewing the memories in the pensive Harry realizes that he had been loyal to Dumbledore all along. The memories revealed that Snape was in love with Harry’s mother and that Snape had watched over Harry throughout his years in school. Harry also learned that he himself was a horcrux and in order to defeat Voldemort he would also have to die. Voldemort challenges harry to a duel in the forbidden forest where Harry is killed. When Harry dies he awakens at the train station where Dumbledore is waiting for him. He sees the dying part of Voldemort that lived within him and expresses empathy for him. Dumbledore answers some of Harry’s questions before offering him the choice to stay or go and fulfil his destiny. Harry returns to the land of the living for a final showdown with Voldemort. After a lengthy battle with Voldemort Harry finally defeats him and destroys him forever. After defeating Voldemort, Harry moves on to lead a semi normal life. He marries Ginny Weasley and has two children with her and pursues a career as an Auror.

The steps of the hero’s journey in Harry Potter

The call occurs when Hagrid tells Harry he is a wizard and invites him to return to Hogwarts with him. The call could also be interpreted as Harry receiving the letters from Hogwarts. This is his first glimpse of things to come and the moment he realizes that something odd is happening.

The refusal of the call is simply when Harry says “I can’t be a wizard I’m just Harry” Hagrid challenges Harry’s statement and asks him if he has ever done anything that he cannot explain. After this brief exchange it is revealed by Harry’s Aunt that Harry’s mother was a witch. It is at this point that Harry accepts that he is a wizard and departs with Hagrid.

Supernatural Aid- Throughout the series Harry is aided by countless people and magical creatures. Hagrid is perhaps one of the most constant sources of help throughout the series. He is the first magic being that Harry Encounters and he helps harry in his first steps to becoming a wizard. Hagrid shows Harry where to get his wand and other essential items for his first school year. Throughout the series Hagrid watches over harry, offers advice and even carry’s Harry’s seemingly dead body back to Hogwarts after he is killed by Voldemort. Another continuous source of supernatural aid comes from the house elf Dobby. After harry frees Dobby in the second installment of the series Dobby returns several times to help Harry. He helps Harry figure out what his second task in the goblet of fire is and he helps Harry escape Voldemort’s clutches in the final chapter of the series. Like Hagrid, Dobby provides information on where to get a certain magical artifact that will help him on his quest to defeat Voldemort. While Dobby doesn’t supply the horocrux directly he helps to secure information on its whereabouts. Another notable supernatural aid for Harry is faux the phoenix. Faux comes to Harry in the chamber of secrets and blinds the basilisk so that it may not kill Harry with its gaze. Faux also provides him with yet another magical artifact; the sword of Gryffindor. Harry uses the sword to defeat the basilisk.

Crossing the threshold and threshold guardians- Harry first crosses the threshold when he enters Diagon Alley. When harry enters Diagon Alley he is abandoning the muggle world he knows for a world of magic totally unknown to him. Olivander may be seen as a threshold guardian in Diagon Alley as he sort of tests Harry to see which wand is suitable for him. Without meeting with Olivander it would be impossible for Harry to continue his journey. Harry crosses the threshold again when he enters platform 9 and ¾. At the platform Harry is again tested and must figure out how to get onto the platform to continue his journey. Harry crosses the threshold once more when he enters the dining hall at Hogwarts. The sorting hat acts as a threshold guardian as he tests Harry and measures which house he would be best suited for. Harry has to examine himself and makes the choice not to be sorted into Syltherin. It is essential that Harry crossed this threshold or it would not have been possible to continue his journey.

The true belly of the whale moment occurs in the first instalment of the series. After Harry sneaks past yet another threshold guardian fluffy the three headed dog to undergo a series of trials before facing off against Voldemort for the first time. When Harry enters the chamber where Voldemort is waiting for him, it is sort of like the hero entering the temple. He has become dead to time. Here is where Harry’s transformation truly begins, after defeating Voldemort for the first time. When Harry awakens after the struggle there is no turning back, his initiation is complete and he has truly left his ordinary life behind and started on the path to fulfilling his destiny.

Harry faces many trials on his road to defeating Voldemort. In his first year alone Harry must face a mountain troll, survive the forbidden forest, and overcome three tests to face off against Voldemort. In the chamber of secrets Harry has a duel with Malfoy, journeys into the forest to search for answers about the chamber of secrets and finally faces off with the basilisk and Tom Riddle in the chamber of secrets. In the third installment Harry overcomes his fear of the dementors and fends off a horde of them in an effort to protect Sirius Black. Harry must also go back in time to save Sirius and Buckbeak the hippogriff from execution. In his fourth year Harry faces the Twi-Wizard Tournament where he must face a dragon, save his friends and navigate a maze where he is transported to a cemetery to face off against Voldemort yet again. Harry’s greatest trials occur in his seventh year when he must track down six horocruxes and destroy them so that Voldemort will be forced to face him as a mortal man. These trials take a huge toll on Harry’s sanity and eventually culminate with his death in the forbidden forest.

Meeting with the goddess / mother goddess. I believe Harry’s meeting with the goddess moment is when his mother gives her life for him. This is the very definition of unconditional love and the act itself protects Harry and saves his life again during his first encounter with Voldemort. Hermione may also be seen as a mother goddess figure as she is constantly helping Harry along the way and it is clear that harry loves her in a plutonic manner.

I believe Harry experiences temptation when he realizes his feelings for Ginny. His concern for her is a distraction as the journey to defeat Voldemort is about to begin. Harry overcomes this temptation when he breaks up with Ginny to protect her from harm before he begins his journey to destroy Voldemort’s horcruxes.

There are several possible moments for atonement within the Harry Potter series. Harry has the chance to speak with his father briefly at in the goblet of fire when dueling Voldemort in the graveyard. He also speaks with his father just before dying in the last movie of the series his father reassures him that he is ready. However I believe that the main father figure for Harry Potter is Dumbledore and that perhaps the atonement is when harry believes that Dumbledore has forsaken him/ is ignoring him in the sixth instalment and is reconciled when Dumbledore reveals that he has been hunting horcuxes and asks for Harry to help him. I also believe that Dumbledore’s death is a sort of atonement and turning point for Harry that motivates him to find the remaining horcruxes and defat Voldemort. The next two are arguable but I think have a good case can be made. Snape- Snape is constantly looking after Harry throughout the series and helps him along in several instances. Harry does not realize until Snape’s final moments that Snape’s has been a silent father to him Harry realizes through watching Snape’s memories that Harry’s best interest had always been his concern and ends up naming his child partly after him. Voldemort- While Voldemort is certainly not a father figure to Harry, he is a huge part of his life and is literally a piece of Harry. When Harry sees Voldemort’s weekend shriveled form when he dies he even admits to feeling sorry for Voldemort. In the final battle Harry even says to Voldemort calling him by his first name “Let’s finish this Tom, the way we always have… Together” to me this shows a certain level of respect and realization that a 17 year journey and relationship (no matter how volatile) is finally coming to an end.

Apotheosis – The apotheosis of the story occurs when harry goes to face Voldemort in the forbidden forest. Harry dies so that the piece of Voldemort inside him also dies. Harry enters a purgatory state where he meets professor Dumbledore who reassures and answers questions that Harry has before sending him back for the final showdown against Voldemort.

The ultimate boon occurs when Harry defeats Voldemort. He has finally fulfilled the prophecy and achieved the goal of his journey. By defeating Voldemort he has a great responsibility lifted and is finally free to live out his life the way he chooses.

The Rescue from without. While it isn’t explicitly stated in the book or movie series, I think it is safe to assume that Ginny rescues harry and helps him return to a “normal life” Harry has suffered greatly along his journey and lost a lot as most heroes do. I would expect that he would have trouble settling into a normal life and I believe Ginny helps him do this which is apparent through their eventual marriage and raising of children.

Master of two worlds. Harry becomes a master of two worlds as he is connected to both the muggle world and the wizarding world. In the epilogue he is content with his normal life with Ginny and his children while also working as a successful auror hunting dark wizards.

The Freedom to live. Before the defeat of Voldemort Harry lived under a lot of pressure. He was referred to as the chosen one and was seen as a savior of sorts. Harry never seemed to want the attention and didn’t always believe in himself along the way. He seemed to crave a normal wizarding life and had aspirations to be an Auror. Having already died in his battle with Voldemort, he is free from the fear of death. After defeating Voldemort he has finally gained the freedom to live his life the way he chooses.

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