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Discuss the Hero's Journey as it applies to a film of your choice. 

The general recurrent traits of classical heroism

Due to the vast array of different genres in literature, cultures, norms and epochs aiming to feature the primary characteristics of classical heroism seems to be an enormous task that is challenging. Thus, shifting focus on the traits that seem to be general and recurrent, it would be possible to develop a general classification capturing the most vital characteristics that conventionally have been linked to narratives of classical heroes. It is for this reason that it becomes imperative to analyze the existing patterns and stages of the mysterious journey covered by a classical hero.

Based on Joseph’s Campbell book, classical heroes seem to experience an adventure that can be narrowed down into three distinct stages that is departure, initiation and return. The essay will follow a psychoanalytic approach that will enable looking at the narrative structure of the literature and mythology simultaneously. This will also entail establishing nexus with the Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone. Though numerous studies have analyzed extensively Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone that are open and readily available for reading, there are chances that none of these has concentrated on the analysis of characteristics of hero’s journey in this particular movie. Joseph Campbell is one of the most important scholars that 20th century has had whose work delve into comparative mythology explicitly touching on the characterization of a hero and his archetypal journey.

In this movie, the departure begins with the sudden arrival of a magical letter that triggers the call to adventure. Though Uncle Vernon refuses to let Harry read the letter, Harry persistently wants to read the letter as depicted in other scenes. The letters from no one indicate its intentions of delivering the information of the call of adventure to Harry. However, this information fails to be revealed explicitly until Hagrid’s appearance where he enters the little shack and reads the content of the letter to Harry. Thus, Hagrid becomes the herald that awakens Harry from himself by arousing his awareness that he is a supernatural wizard. Harry on the other doubts on his abilities as a wizard as revealed by his conversation with Hagrid. Hagrid tries to question him on whether when he gets angry or scared things do happen.

Though refusal of the call is not demonstrated clearly, there is a scenario where Harry shows any sign of wanting to reject the call to adventure. Hagrid fails to assume that Harry would accept the call to adventure and the Herald would avoid behaving in a pushy manner. Thus, the refusal of the hero does not come to suffice though doubt is cast as to whether Harry would honour the call or not.

Analyzing the narrative structure of literature and mythology

Once the surmounting doubts were eliminated, Hagrid leads Harry to the Leaky Cauldron that based on Campbell’s categorization of the phases undergone by the classical hero aligns with the crossing of the first threshold. The tavern has many witches and wizards, and one of the doors leads to a wall that when the bricks tapped correctly, it opens and leads to the Diagon Alley. Thus, this aligns to the phase of the crossing of the first threshold.

It is after entering the magical world that Harry receives the extraordinary help from Hagrid. Hagrid does not only accord Harry a lot of information about his past and the ongoing threats in the magical world but also leads Harry to Ollivanders where they bought Harry a magic wand. The magic wand would become instrumental in enabling Harry to succeed in the magical world, and this could be classified as the phase of supernatural aid.

The last phase is referred to as the belly of the whale and entails Harry immersing himself into a wall at King’s Cross station which rather than leading to a painful crash would lead Harry to the Hogwarts Express. It is the crossing of the second threshold that demonstrates the commitment of Harry to enter the magical world that has been discovered.

For Harry, initiation starts with the road of trials where Harry encounters a series of difficulties and challenges to prove that he can cope with the emerging problems in the magical world. The first and most identical initiation test involved the sorting ceremony where all students that were the first year had to be categorized by the sorting hat. However, this seemed not a significant hurdle, it is the outcome of the event that would define the whole life of all the students, and Harry’s worries can be said to be twofold. First, Harry is paranoid that he has to perform some magical for the entire school yet he has no magical knowledge to enable him to perform such magic. Second, Harry is worried that he may be sorted to be a Slytherin (Sari 4), which happens to be a house characterized by corruption and talented witches and wizards who never have a future. The second worry is significant in developing the image of the hero as Harry demonstrates a firm choice not to belong to Slytherin, despite the sorting hat gravely considering the likelihood of making Harry a member of Slytherin.

The three stages of departure, initiation, and return

There are a series of successful trials that Harry has to overcome, and these trials can be grouped into obstacles, hardships and situations entailing injustices that Harry has to triumph. In some instances, it is professor Snape’s unfairness, the continuous harassments by Malfoy and cursing of the broom by Professor Quirrell. However, the primary quest in the call of adventure is for Harry to discover the mysteries surrounding the sorcerer’s stone to avoid it falling in the hands of the wrong people which will be viewed in the stage of the ultimate boon.

In conjunction with the stage of a woman of the temptress, there is a switch of play in the sequence of events between Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone and categorization by Campbell. The temptation here comes before initiation trials start (Campbell 45). This is from the fact when students arrive at Hogwarts, Malfoy tried to stop Harry from becoming friends with Ron. Malfoy asserted that some wizard families were far much better than others and wanted to help Harry to make friends that he approved. It is fascinating that the stage of the woman as the temptress in this movie does not reflect any relation linked to any female character; however, the importance of temptation is vital for the movie’s plot.

It is after the rejection of temptation that the stage of meeting with the goddess sets in. Based on Campbell’s definition, this stage differs as the Goddess was to be Harry’s mother who is not the same person ruling the magical world (Aulestia Renobales 10). The goddess is responsible for bestowing blessings to Harry which saves his life since his childhood and shields him against life-threatening scenarios in the entire movie. Though Lily Potter is dead from the start of the film, she cannot be considered as a goddess though her character is robust following the fairy tale of love where she was able to conquer Lord Voldemort.

Thus, the stage of meeting with the Goddess is identifiable and begins with Harry accidentally sneaking into a room where he comes across a mirror of Erised. It is while in this room that he loses track of time as he is deeply immersed in a melancholic state where he reflects on his dead parents who resurface waving and smiling at Harry. It is important to note that in this movie the stage of woman as the temptress comes before the meeting with the goddess.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and the Hero's Journey

The phase of atonement with the father also sets in at this moment as James Potter stands next to Lily in the mirror of Erised. It is through such experiences that Harry feels love and is engulfed by a melancholic feeling for not having the chance to meet his family.

The next stage brings us to the Apotheosis. The vital components of this phase entail Harry being aware that the sorcerer’s stone would be stolen. This awareness comes shortly after Harry had experienced rejection by his counterpart Gryffindor students after having problems with obeying the school laws losing many points for the house he represented. However, Harry gets relief from social rejection and prejudices that had stressed him. He dedicates himself to protect the stone from getting stolen no matter the cost. It is through such a strong desire to succeed in his mission that leads Harry to the stage of the ultimate boon (Robbins 767). It is this stage that portrays the final quest that has to be achieved by Harry that of barring Voldemort from possessing the sorcerer’s stone. It is for this sole reason that Harry receives accolades of Dumbledore who gifts Harry together with others with the exact points making Gryffindor come to position one.

The other stage that does not follow order is the stage of rescue from without where Harry gets help from Dumbledore to defeat Quirrell and also to regain his lost consciousness. Harry, needs some additional support to receive treatment for the three days he spent in the hospital wing.

The return in this movie begins with a stage referred to as the magic flight where the scene materializes to a magical train, the Hogwarts Express that takes all students from the world of magic back to the King’s Cross London (Sari 8). This time Harry arrives with the identical threshold he originally crossed, platform nine and three-quarters, the only variation is that the threshold crossed the opposite direction. The unfolding of this event leads to the attainment of the stage of the crossing of the return threshold. Master of the two worlds is manifested when Harry incorporates the knowledge gained from the magical world leading him to experience metamorphosis that transforms him from fame to being unknown.

References

Aulestia Renobales, Iker. "The Classical Hero’s Journey in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone." (2017).

Campbell, Joseph. The hero's journey: Joseph Campbell on his life and work. Vol. 7. New World Library, 2003.

Robbins, Ruth Anne. "Harry Potter, Ruby Slippers and Merlin: Telling the Client's Story Using the Characters and Paradigm of the Archetypal Hero's Journey." Seattle UL Rev. 29 (2005): 767.

Sari, Riska Ulia. HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE MOVIE. Diss. STATE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY, 2017.

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