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The Heroic Cycle In Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone

2291 words - 9 pages

What does it mean to be a hero in an exciting fantasy adventure? The bigger question is who would not want to be the hero of their own story? In the fantasy genre, these heroes are given the typical heroic tropes that go beyond the gender norm of saving a damsel in distress and fairy tale archetypes. For students, this could be known as “The Heroic Cycles” that are often found in the fantasy genre (Thomas 60). The hero “is usually an orphan, disposing of inconvenient parental monitoring. He or she is sent on a great quest of great importance… He or she meets up with a wise person, reflecting the desire of students for guidance. The hero confronts and conquers the evil foe” (60). In J. K. Rowling’s famous series and Chris Columbus’ film adaptation of her novel, Harry Potter, the main protagonist is the epitome of the heroic protagonist. However in the first book of the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone (English version is Philosopher’s Stone) the first novel of the series not only introduces Harry to the wizard world, but also introduces him as the reluctant hero. From the day he was born and due to his parental lineage, Harry is thrusted into playing the hero role and is therefore elevated into a celebrity in the Wizard World. This status and fame is accompanied with the heroic acts that Harry takes on and the prophecy also calls on Harry to also take on the heroic role. In both Harry Potter adaptations, the hero is called to arms and it is what Harry is introduced to in this first part of the series.
To begin the series, Harry is introduced as an orphan child and is quickly thrusted into the wizard world into the hero’s role. In both adaptations, they present Harry living in the muggle (non-magical) world with his horrible relatives who swore to “put a stop to this rubbish” called magic (Rowling 43). Here, the hero is suppressed and occupies an uncertain position until he is called on the quest or adventure (Ionica). The novel depicts the alienation, the teasing and abuse he receives from the Dursley’s and from his muggle school in length but the film cuts it out and only represents Harry’s current life with his muggle family. Though film often acts like the viewer is watching an historical reenactment of a literary work, but Nel argues that “[t]he movie was not enough like the book and, at the same time, very much like the book” (172). True, the film does not explain the themes that were already discussed and introduces the film at the zoo but the film interestingly introduces the magic world to Harry [played by Daniel Radcliff] through the use of absurdities and fun. It presents the magic world in a more whimsical manner that modern ‘muggles’ would not realistically dream of. For instance, the scene of the owl infestation at the Dursley’s home when the Hogwarts letters were not being delivered is not mentioned in the novel and is an added creative twist to the film. It also presents one of Hogwarts symbols of the owl...

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