Harry Potter and the Enchantments of Literature From

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Harry Potter and the Enchantments of Literature From Deanna Garza, The Alan Review, Summer

Harry Potter and the Enchantments of Literature From Deanna Garza, The Alan Review, Summer 2011, Volume 38, #3

The Harry Potter series contains allusions to Greek/Roman, medieval and Biblical literature Mythological creatures

The Harry Potter series contains allusions to Greek/Roman, medieval and Biblical literature Mythological creatures represented: Unicorns – still reign as majestic beings Goblins- still scheme with cunning treachery Dragons – still represent adventure and great danger Giants – usually appear as cruel and stupid; often defeated by the hero using his wits rather than strength

HP Connections to Greek/Roman Mythology Cerberus – Three-headed dog who guards the entrance to

HP Connections to Greek/Roman Mythology Cerberus – Three-headed dog who guards the entrance to the Underworld; lulled to sleep by Orpheus’ music HP- Fluffy – Three-headed dog who guards the entrance to an underground maze that leads to the Sorcerer’s Stone; lulled to sleep by flute music Sirius – The dog of Orion; faithful friend HP – Sirius – An Animagus (wizard who can transform into a certain animal at will) – Sirius Black’s animal form is a dog and faithful friend to Harry [side note trivia: Sirius satellite radio’s logo is a dog with a star-shaped eye…Sirius is the Dog Star]

HP Connections to Greek/Roman Mythology Minerva – Roman counterpart for the Greek goddess Athena,

HP Connections to Greek/Roman Mythology Minerva – Roman counterpart for the Greek goddess Athena, goddess of wisdom and war; symbol is an owl HP – Professor Minerva Mc. Gonagall – A rational character; talented witch; amazing in battle; shown great respect; has a pet owl Narcissus – the handsome hunter; saw his own reflection and fell in love with it [modern day word: narcissistic] HP – Narcissa Malfoy – Draco’s mother; very arrogant; looks down on others; self-centered Hagrid Rubes – a kind giant; Giant of the Jewels; framed for murder by Zeus; banished from Olympus to take care of animals HP – Rubeus Hagrid – half-giant gamekeeper of Hogwarts; framed for the death of a former student; expelled from Hogwarts to take care of animals

HP Connections to Greek/Roman Mythology Argus Panoptes – the Great Watchman with 100 eyes;

HP Connections to Greek/Roman Mythology Argus Panoptes – the Great Watchman with 100 eyes; Hera’s servant; watched and guarded IO to keep her from Zeus HP – Argus Filch – caretaker at Hogwarts; all-seeing man; always catching students breaking rules and/or curfew; extra set of eyes – Mrs. Norris, his cat Sybil – high priestess of Apollo, the god of prophecy HP – Professor Sybil Trelawney – Professor of the mystical art of divination Nymphs – Haunt the woods and waters of Greek mythology; may change forms in their appearance HP – Nymphadora Tonks - spritely and cheerful; an Auror (dark wizard catcher); Metamorphmagus (can change her appearance at will); her name means gift of the nymphs (dora is the Latin word for gift)

HP Connections to Greek/Roman Mythology Hermione – Princess of Sparta; daughter of Helen and

HP Connections to Greek/Roman Mythology Hermione – Princess of Sparta; daughter of Helen and Menalaus (remember The Iliad…Troy? ); smart and hardworking; parents left her and sailed away; pursued by Orestes and Neoptolemus HP – Hermione – Muggle-born; sent to Hogwarts; smart and hardworking; loyal friend to Harry; pursued by Ron Weasley and Victor Krum Achilles – the warrior; hero; famous in his world; prophecies made about him; mother made him invincible; sent to live with someone else for protection; Achilles’ heel HP – Harry – hero; famous in his world; prophecies made about him; mother made him invincible; sent to live with someone else; Achilles’ heel (what is Harry’s Achilles’ heel? )

HP Connections to Arthurian Legend Merlin – heroic archetype; wizard; wise, powerful, caregiver, mentor

HP Connections to Arthurian Legend Merlin – heroic archetype; wizard; wise, powerful, caregiver, mentor to Arthur HP – Dumbledore – heroic archetype; wizard; wise, powerful, caregiver, mentor to Harry King Arthur – hero; orphaned as a result of prophecy; returned to original “world” with no idea of special status – Arthur as heir to the throne; protected by wise, old wizard Merlin; pulls the sword out of the stone (and is given Excalibur by the Lady of the Lake); marries Guinevere HP – Harry – hero; orphaned as a result of prophecy; returned to original “world” with no idea of special status – Harry as Vanquisher; protected by wise, old wizard Dumbledore; pulls Sword of Gryffindor from Sorting Hat (a true Gryffindor); marries Ginny (Ginevra is an alternative spelling of Guinevere) Both stories employ the symbolism of a griffin, as well as a white stag

HP Connections to Arthurian Legend Hogwarts castle fits into a medieval setting. The halls

HP Connections to Arthurian Legend Hogwarts castle fits into a medieval setting. The halls are lined with suits of armor; picture of a knight-errant, Sir Cadogan; the Great hall mirrors those of old with a high table set at the front. Wizard trading cards found in the Chocolate Frogs wrappers feature medieval figures. Merlin is a popular card. Wizard children collect these cards Deathly Hallows as an Arthurian quest structure – Medieval knights would take a year to seek adventures in the forests; Harry, Ron and Hermione leave before their last year of school to seek V’s Horcruxes visiting and hiding in various forests around the country.

HP Connections to Christian References St. Hedwig – patron saint of orphans HP –

HP Connections to Christian References St. Hedwig – patron saint of orphans HP – Hedwig – white snowy owl of Harry’s; loyal and constant; always knows where Harry is; provides a source of comfort and hope; brings good tidings; gives her life for Harry; Harry is no longer the little lost orphan boy from book one; he will now be fine without his patron saint The Phoenix – mythological bird said to burst into flames at death and be reborn from its own ashes; “Jewish legend describes the phoenix as the one creature that did not leave paradise with Adam, and that its legendary longevity is due to abstaining from the forbidden fruit that tempted the first man. ” Symbol of rebirth and resurrection; victory over death – Christ rising from the tomb

HP Connections to Christian References The Serpent – Satan; Garden of Eden; Tempter; Trickster

HP Connections to Christian References The Serpent – Satan; Garden of Eden; Tempter; Trickster Nagini – Voldemort’s serpent and horcrux the Basilisk, King of Serpents; Harry is overcome in the Chamber and only the tears of the Christ-like Phoenix restore Harry to life, just as man is saved from death by Christ’s suffering Descent/resurrection scenes – Christ-like – descent through the trapdoor in SS awakening THREE days later in the hospital wing; descent into the Chamber of Secrets; descent into the Minstry in Order; descent into V’s cave in HB In DH, Harry willingly walks into V’s lair symbolizing Christ’s willingness to walk to His death. Just like it had to be Christ who died on the cross, it had to be Harry who died at V’s hands to fulfill the prophecy.