Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: the Book I Can Relate to
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling is a very magical novel with a wonderful plot. The novel takes place in Britain from 1991 to 1992. We follow a preteen boy named Harry though this book. He is tall and skinny and has green eyes. He also has long shaggy hair that usually covers a lighting bolt-shaped scar on his forehead, but at the start, we open with his uncles Mr. Dursley. The day after Harry Potter’s parent’s death. All the wizards were coming into the muggle world which is were the non-magical people live.
To celebrate Harry Potter outliving Voldemorts murder attempt. On Mr. Dursleys’ work brack, he overheard some weird people that were wearing clocks discussing the Potter. He assumed they could not possibly mean their relatives. But later that evening to the Dursleys surprise they found Harry Potter left on their porch. Professor Dumbledore the headmaster of Hogwarts is a tall man with silver hair and a long beard. He left Harry on the porch because the boy had nowhere else to live for his parents are deceased. Twelve treacherous years later, living with heartless relatives, the best thing that would happen to Harry occurred. He received his accepted leader to a school for witchcraft and wizardry called Hogwarts. But as soon as Mr. Dursly found out he disposed of the letter, however, similar events followed for the next few days. On Sunday Mr. Dursly had enough of the nonsense he imagined if they traveled far away they could not locate him. He drove them to a small island that seemed to look like an enormous boulder way out in the middle of the sea. Sat on top of the rock was a tiny odd-looking shack. The next day was Harry’s eleventh birthday, and he could not possibly fall asleep that night. He watched as the clock turn twelve and right that second a giant burst through the door. He was twice as tall as an ordinary man and was nearly five times as wide. He introduced himself as Hagrid, and that’s when Harry found out that he’s a wizard! They left the shack the next day to go to Diagon Alley which is a wizarding shopping center hidden in London. On their way into the alley, Harry meets Professor Quarrel one of the teachers at Hogwarts. He was pale and tall and did not appear that sain. He wore a large turban that reeked like death. They had a rather dull conversation then Harry and Hagrid went on their merry way. He got rather unusual school supplies, such as a wand, a telescope, and an owl. Which seemed rather normal considering the events that had happened in the past day.
The next month was not pleasant for Harry Potter. Come September Mr. Dursley dropped Harry off at the train station where he meets his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Ron is tall and slim, with frecks and has large feet and hands. Hermione is extremely caring for her friends and is very smart. She has untamable frizzy hair and has big buck teeth. But Harry and Ron were not friends with Hermione at first they despised her. They thought of her as a know it all but that would change. The train arrives at Hogwarts and they were sorted into there school houses with an enchanting hat. These houses were Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Gryffindor was proud to except Harry, Ron, and Hermione to there house. A couple of months past have passed at Hogwarts and everything was going rather pleasant until Halloween. Hermine was in the bathroom crying after hearing a nasty comment of her from Ron and the rest of the school was in the Great Hall. Which is a large room with four long tables where the students eat together? Professor Quarrel rampages through the entrance to tell the school the frightening news about a twelve-foot troll in the school, everyone was evacuated.
As Harry was on his way out and he realizes Hermione doesn’t know about the troll. He tells Ron, and they sneak off to go warn her. But when they get there to tell her the troll has already found her, they fight the nasty troll and knock him out. Professor McGonagall finds them in the bathroom and begins to punish the boys. However, Hermione steps up and takes the blame, she said that she when off on her own to fight the troll and Ron and Harry were trying to save her. After that day they were all best friends. The rest of the year was filled with many ups and downs. Harry finishes his final exams with the fear of Voldemort coming to kill him. He could not imagine if Voldemort found the Philosopher’s Stone that was hidden in the school. The stone can transform any cheap metal into gold and produce an elixir that causes humans to become younger, therefore, delaying death. He was also very suspicious of a teacher at Hogwarts named Snap trying to steal the stone. Harry thought Snape was manipulating poor Quarrel to find out how to get through the Chambers protecting the stone. He knew that Snape was going to try and steal the stone that knight. Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off after dark to the forbidden corridor where the stone was hidden. When they entered there was a giant three-headed dog, they managed to get passed it to a trapped door that opens to a very big drop. At the bottom of the drop, there is a plant that provides a soft landing. Though, the plant will strangle you if you touch it. Harry and Ron barely got out of the plant, although Hermione gets out knowing how the plant would behave. The following chamber was filled with flying keys Harry manages to catch the key that would unlock the door. A knocked out ogre laid on the floor in the next room, indicating Snap has already been there. They walk into the following camber and a giant chess board filled the room.
There was a piece missing on the boar courageously, Ron volunteers to take its place. He wins the match, however, he gets crushed to do so. A door opens and Harry and Hermione enter. Fire lights up behind them and in front of them, seven different bottles laid before them. Two were wine three were vital positions and one would let you through the fire before you and one would let you thought the fire behind you. They were not labeled but Hermione figures out which is which. The decide that Harry would go to the next chamber and Hermione would go back. Harry enters the next chamber and to his surprise Quarrel was there ropes appear out of nowhere and fastened around Harry trapping him. The quarrel began to explain he was planning to steal the stone. The Mirror of Erised stood behind Quarrel. It possessed the ability to show you your deepest desire. Quarrel peers in the mirror desperate to find out how to use it to obtain the stone. He begins to beg for help from what seems to be no one. Then a voice speaks loudly telling him to use the boy. At that moment the ropes disappeared as Harry walks to the mirror. he was wishing that he could find the stone before Quarrel so he could save everyone. Then Harry notices his reflection in the mirror wink and felt the stone drop in his pocket. He lies saying that he is shaking hands with the headmaster after winning the house cup. The mysterious voice knows Harry has the stone and begins to harass Quarrel to kill him. The voice told Quarrell he wanted to see Harry. Quarrell replied saying he’s to week, but the voice commanded again to see Harry. The quarrel began to gently unwrap his turban. Voldemort’s nasty face was pressed flat against the back of Quirrell’s head. Voldemort was whiter than snow and skeleton thin. ‘See what I’ve become,’ he said, ‘mere shadow and vapor. I have only what bodies decide to share. There are always those willing to let me into their hearts and minds. Once I have the elixir of life I will be able to create a body of my own’. Quarrel flew through the air to Harry and then began to strangle him. Quarrel’s hands began to blister and pop. They realize Quarrel can not touch Harry without being to burn. Harry grabs hold of him as tight as possible, and he fell into darkness. He wakes up in the hospital with Professor Dumbledore hovering over him. He told Harry he got the message in time to save him from his death. Because of Harry’s bravery, he saved the school from Voldemort. Harry Potter is a very wise boy and knows a lot about his age. This novel was very magical and is a staple in many people’s lives.
J.K Rowling did a very well job-creating unique characters in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. They all were very believable and were different. Ron is one of the most believable aspects of the group, he is very loyal and kind, but like most humans, he has some flaws. He is very self-conscious about not being as good as his overachieving brother, and he uses his jokes to hide how he feels. Harry Potter, through the year, faced many problems such as the three-headed dog and the troll. A more significant issue was when someone was trying to kill him at the Quidditch game. He was flying on a broomstick, and someone was performing a spell to make him fall off. They suspected it was Snape because they saw him muttering words under his breath. Hermione took action setting his cloak on fire. However, later they found out Quarrel was the one attempting to kill him, and Snap was performing a counter curse. Harry Potter is my favorite character in this novel. His kind heart and bravery make his personality likable. I could also relate personally to Harry; we both are very creative, caring people. Altogether, the characters in this novel were fantastic!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was a book that I could relate to. Professor Dumbledore is like my teacher Mr. Wroble, they are both fun and goofy. On sad days they will both will make a joke to cheer you up. My favorite part of this novel would be when Hagrid gets a dragon. He wins a blake shiny egg in a game of cards. When the egg hatches, the dragon is small and cuddly, but problems would soon arise. They decided to name him Norbert in the next week he grew rapidly. Hagrid was scared someone was going to take Norbert away since dragons aren’t legal in Britten. Very quick, he became a hand full, so Hagrid decided to get rid of him. Ron suggested they send Norbert to his brother Charlie, who worked with dragons in Romania. Thus they Wrote a letter to Charlie, telling him about the dragon and he replied informing them he would send some friends to get Norbet. So when night fell, Harry and Hermione left to bring him to the tallest tower. Ron could not possibly go, given he was bitten by Norbert. So they went without him, but cared a big stinky dragon up many off stairs was not easy by themselves. They got to the peak of the tallest tower and Charlie’s friends were there. Harry and Hermione were so happy they finally got rid of Norbert. They were one there way down the stairs, but a teacher was there, sadly they received detention for being out of bed. I would not personally change anything in this novel the beginning, middle, and end were astounding. Everything about this book was remarkable, I was able to escape reality and go to a whole new world. That is also why I recommend this book to everyone, old or young. By all counts, this novel was a very captivating and enjoyable book.
Joanne Rowling, better known as J.K Rowling, was born on July 31, 1964. She is most known for her famous Harry Potter book series, but some also know her from her other work such as Very Good Lives and Lethal White. She didn’t want to be a writer at first, but she got the idea to write a book about wizards in a train station in manchester. J.K Rowling is breathtaking writing, and her work could not be any better.
When reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, I used reading strategies such as prior knowledge and making connections to help me have a better understanding of what I’m reading. By connecting what I am reading to other texts, myself, and the world, it helps me comprehend the situation in the story. Connecting what I have read to what I know helps me understand and remember the story. Reading strategies are very effective and help you comprehend the text you are reading.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Film Review
Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone
While each movie introduced into society brings a new sense of reality, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone written by J. K. Rowling and directed by Chris Columbus brought a whole new world into the lives of millions. Not only did the book seem to take the world by storm, the movies seemed to do an even better job at capturing the hearts of both old and young. Harry Potter and friends showed the world a new side of magic that exposed witches and wizards alike. Although this was only the first movie, reviewers raved over the advanced special effects used to entrance the audience. Each country that I researched had almost the same take on Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone as the next one. From the United States to Japan, the young wizard took flight and soared to new heights.
Along with the actors in Harry Potter that are from Great Britain, the setting of this movie was filmed all around England. The citizens of the United States welcomed the movie with open minds and open hearts. According to Roger Ebert, an acclaimed movie reviewer, the biggest challenge Chris Columbus faced was keeping the movie as close to the book as possible. The reviewer states that “A lot of things could have gone wrong, and none of them have: Chris Columbus’ movie is an enchanting classic that does full justice to a story that was a daunting challenge. The novel by J.K. Rowling was muscular and vivid, and the danger was that the movie would make things too cute and cuddly” (Ebert). The worries that the audience faced were put to ease when they saw the director’s take on the novel they all so dearly loved.
The nervousness that most people felt while anticipating this first Harry Potter movie was felt through almost all the reviews that I read through. The reviewers from the United States figured that the only reason to omit anything from the book was to keep the story in sync. If the director was to digress into something other than what was going on in that moment, the audience would be lost to the main points presented in the movie. The reason that many movies do not resemble their novels is because the producer does not take the time to read the book. I realized that everyone who read the book just anticipated the release of a new type of culture. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone was the launching pad of an empire. Getting the first movie to correctly match the first book was crucial. This seemed to be the most important aspect that many of the American reviewers focused on. Having the ability to compare and contrast specific details of the book and the movie made reviewing the movie a bit more difficult. I believe that Columbus and Rowling faced many challenges when it came to pleasing the fans and the critics. I can only imagine the pressure they felt to have a performance that was spot on. Like many other reviews written by the United States authors, authenticity was viewed as vital to the movies success. Likewise, British movie reviewers focused on similar characteristics implanted in the movie.
The setting of the movie is just as important to the movie as a whole as it is in the book. The movie, filmed in England, took special effects to a new level. The British reviewers collectively agreed that the special effects did more for the movie than they ever could’ve imagined. I read a review that stated “A very pointy hat’s off to the special effects crew on this film — every detail was executed with care — the haunted oil portraits, the moving staircases, the floating candles, the resident ghosts — especially John Cleese as Nearly Headless Nick — were spot on” (Clisby). The landscape was transformed when the magical world of Hogwarts was brought to life. The castle, that everyone secretly wished was their school, was a visionary miracle that stunned everyone. I recently watched this movie over and paid special attention to the magical aspect of the wizard world. Although everyone knows that it is not reality we are looking at, the floating candles and quidditch matches seemed unbelievably believable.
The culture that reflects the Harry Potter series first formed when J.K. Rowling brought the characters to life in her books. However, people like myself who have never read the book took on this culture through the movies. I’m always told that I am not a true Harry Potter fan because I have never read the nine books. In Japan, there are many subcultures that have taken over the youth. The Harry Potter fan club in Japan embraced the movies wildly with wizard costumes and magic wands. The cosplay that reviewers noticed while attending the openings to the movie gave them a new appreciation of the audience. Daniel Radcliffe even stated that “Japanese fans are the best” (Kambayashi). As the magical world of wizards and witches took hold of the lives of Japanese youth, many reviewers worried about whether or not the movie will live up to the hype in other countries such as the United States.
In the article written in the Japan Times, the author compares the box-office records of Japan’s most popular movie “Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi” to the success of “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” in America. By comparing the box-office records of the most successful movies in Japan and America, the reviewer gains insight into what people are looking for in theaters. Movies cost a lot of movie to make, like all products, they must make money in return to keep fueling the industry. “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” was a perfect film to prove this point. The immense popularity that this movie acquired showed that money does matter. Ireland and Great Britain happened to be just two more countries that “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” broke box office records. The Irish movie reviewer mentioned that The movie also broke records in Britain where it is known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, taking in £16 million sterling (€25.7 million) over the opening weekend” (O’Clery). People watching the first installment of a long popular series participated in the making of film history. For many years to come, this first movie would be known as the original Harry Potter. The record breaking movie gained the attention of reviewers everywhere.
The movie reviewers each shared a common point. Although from different countries, all the reviews I read the, main goal was to reconstruct the movie in a way for everyone to understand. It’s a lot easier for me to make a smart decision on whether or not to spend the money on seeing the new movie out. The movie reviewers from around the world recognize that the Harry Potters series impacted the film industry. The first of the series set the tone for the next seven to come; each one doing better than the last. The film industry is such a large business that by extending the audience to different countries, we become a more globalized society. The way Harry Potter was viewed in our own backyard contrary to the citizens of Japan. There seem to be more ways that we are alike in the way we accept a movie. Throughout my research each country touched on a different aspect of the movie.
Japan, London, Ireland, and the United States all revealed a new way to interpret the success of “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.” I learned that transforming a book into a Blockbuster movie is filled with pressure. The pressure to please audience does not only come from the United States, but from fans all around the world. To truly become involved in a money I must feel that I can truly believe the story being told. The special effects team of this movie was praised by all of the critics I read from. They know that seeing is believing for many. By recognizing that the team created an alternate reality for many, they made the movie that much better. In result, “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” was established differently according to society. Movie reviews from around the world show a new form of globalization. We all see the same movie.
Hermione’s Achievements in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.k.rowling
Within Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone novel, Hermione Granger stands out as an intelligent character; Granger is able to uncover certain important truths. For example, Granger discovers that the concepts of courage and friendship are more important than studying books and obtaining skills. Further, Granger is the first student within her class to perform the magic feats of transfiguration and causing feathers to soar. Moreover, while inside the room of fire, Granger assists Potter to identify the right magic potion to ingest. This essay analyses Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to highlight Granger’s intelligence based on the following behaviors: Granger discovers that the concepts of courage and friendship are more important than studying books and obtaining skills; Granger is the first student within her class to perform the magic feats of transfiguration and causing feathers to soar; and, while inside the room of fire, Granger assists Potter to identify the right magic potion to ingest.
Considering that she discovers that the concepts of courage and friendship are more important than studying books and obtaining skills, Granger demonstrates her intelligent personality. To this end, when Harry Potter is proceeding to retrieve a certain magical Stone, Granger explains that studying books and acquiring skill does not constitute the most important activity in the world. Granger adds that the concepts of courage and friendship are more important than studying books and acquiring skill (Rowling, n.d.). Through these utterances, Granger underscores her intelligence. This intelligence enables Granger to discover that studying books and acquiring skill does not constitute the most crucial thing in the world. If she were not intelligent, Granger would not arrive at this discovery.
Granger is the first student within her class to perform the magic feats of transfiguration and causing feathers to soar, thereby demonstrating her intelligence. While appraising this situation, a reader would take note that Granger’s class comprises a substantial number of students. Consequently, by completing the magic acts of transfiguration and causing feathers to soar ahead of all other students, Granger illustrates that she is more intelligent than her classmates. Such elevated intelligence enables Granger to be aware of certain magical tricks that her classmates are not aware of. Given that Granger has gone through magic tutoring in the company of her classmates (Ibid.), the entire class should have similar magical abilities. This is not however the case; Granger has superior magical abilities that highlight her intelligence.
Granger further highlights her intelligence in that, while inside the room of fire, Granger assists Potter to identify the right magic potion to ingest. On this note, it is crucial to bear in mind that both Granger and Potter are of the same age; both are eleven years old. Given these similar ages, it is striking that Granger guides Potter to discover the correct potion to drink while inside the room of fire (Ibid.). By assuming the role of a leader to a fellow same-age student, Granger highlights her intelligence. This intelligence enables Granger to understand matters that would evade Potter. Granger thereby assists Potter to identify the right potion to ingest.
In conclusion, within Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Granger demonstrates her intelligence in several ways. For example, Granger discovers that the concepts of courage and friendship are more important than studying books and obtaining skills. Moreover, while inside the room of fire, Granger assists Potter to identify the right magic potion to ingest. It would be insightful to investigate why Rowlings depicts Granger, a female character, as intelligent.
A Review of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, a Novel by J. K. Rowling
The novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, written by J. K. Rowling is the first book in a seven-part series. Harry Potter’s heroic journey through the Muggle World into the Wizarding World shows a growth in himself and his mind. Potter follows the stages introduced by Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth, learning new wizarding skills and challenging himself. Harry demonstrates the three stages; separation, initiation, and return, which are then divided into seventeen steps. Harry Potter’s heroic journey can be traced by readers throughout the novel.
The first stage of Joseph Cambell’s seventeen stage monomyth is separation, with five steps: call to adventure, refusal of call, supernatural aid, crossing the threshold, and belly of the whale. The call to adventure is the original alarm given to the hero, taking him from normality into an unknown trip. Harry Potter lives with his uncle, aunt, and cousin who hide from Harry that he is a wizard. His uncle, Mr. Dursley, shows characteristics of the ruler archetype by trying to have the most successful family. He displays his force through constantly nagging Potter. Dursley takes drastic measures to keep the letters that Harry has been admitted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry unopened, like moving the family of four out to a secret shack. The first two steps in Joseph Cambell’s monomyth are actually switched because oddly enough, the refusal of call is not done by Potter himself, but by his own uncle before the call to adventure. The refusal of the call is when the hero objects to the undertaking. Fortunately Mr. Durley could not keep the mail a secret and Potter ends up receiving a letter that he is admitted to Hogwarts School. Harry seems excited and ready to explore the magical world. A supernatural aid is often a figure who guides the hero through his new journey. Harry’s supernatural aid is a “giant of a man” who delivers the letter on Potter’s eleventh birthday, Rubeus Hagrid (Rowling 46). Hagrid can be classified as an explorer in the twelve common archetypes. The motto that the explorer exhibits is “don’t fence me in” (Golden 3). Throughout the book, he likes to live alone and barbarically as keeper of the grounds. Hagrid first introduces Harry to the wizardry world and helps him and his friends decipher the Sorcerer’s Stone. In the next step Harry crosses the threshold by leaving the behind his world of normality for a foreign experience. This is done by Potter at the “famous” Leaky Cauldron with Hagrid (Rowling 68). Potter is greeted with “scraping chairs” of excitement and instantly “…shaking hands with everyone in the Leaky Cauldron” (69). He will then cross another threshold in Diagon Alley where he encounters “dragon liver” and the “Gringotts” (72). The last threshold crossed is at Platform 9 ¾ with a fellow wizard family named the Weasleys into the wizarding world. This is when Harry meets a young boy named Ronald, a pureblood. Harry and Ronald descend from magic from both of parents which causes them to bond on the eleven o’clock train to Hogwarts. The fifth and final step of the first stage is the belly of the whale. The belly of the whale is the hero’s final step before entering the real calling; it is represented in the novel when Harry is faced with the sorting hat. He is nervous because he could be sorted into the house of Slytherin, the house of evil. Inside his head he chants, “not Slytherin, not Slytherin” in which the hat responds by giving into his choice (121). By ultimately choosing Griffindor , the room gave “the loudest cheer yet” (121). This shows his test in character and at this point Harry leaves the muggle world and enters the unknown.
The second stage of Joseph Cambell’s seventeen-stage monomyth is initiation with seven steps: road of trials, meeting the goddess, temptation, atonement with the father, apostasis, the ultimate boon, and the refusal of return. This is usually the longest, most eventful, and entertaining stage of Cambell’s monomyth. The road of trials are tests given the hero to complete in order to transform. Harry is faced with many minor problems within his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but one of his major road of trials is an evil, “foul smelling” troll (174). Inexperienced in magic, he uses it anyway in order to rescue his friend he accidentally traps, Hermione. This is when he becomes closer to Ron and Hermione and a long friendship blooms. Another is thinking that Professor Snape is the thief behind the sorcerer’s stone. By focusing on Professor Snape, Harry overlooks the real traitor of Hogwarts. Meeting the goddess affects the hero by having them feel eternal love. This step is sometimes represented by a mother figure. Lily, Harry’s mother, sacrificed her life for her son against Lord Voldemort. Even after her death she continues to protect her son with the scar given to him as a baby. Each time Voldemort is near, the scar burns as a warning. During the battle against Quirrel and Lord Voldemort, Quirrell could not touch Harry, his hands “looked burned, raw, red, and shiny,” due to the love of Harry’s mother (295). Lily died to save him. Temptations are defined as an object given to the hero to stray from his goal. An invisible cloak, from his father allows Harry to travel the school without being seen. One night over winter break he locates the Mirror of Erised, an ancient mirror that shows onlookers “‘the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts’” (213). While looking into the mirror, Harry sees people who are not located in the room. A woman who has “dark red hair” and eyes just like himself peers through the mirror along with other familiar faces (208). Potter realizes that these people are his dead family. This image that he desires keeps him coming back to the mirror each night for about a week. The Mirror of Erised is known as Harry’s temptation because the visits stray him from his goal of finding out who stole the sorcerer’s stone. The atonement of the father occurs when the hero confronts the object that holds the most power over his life. Although Voldemort is not a father figure, Harry needs to defeat him in order to turn a new stone in his life. Voldemort can be classified as a ruler within the twelve common archetypes because he believes power is the only aspect of life. With Voldemort having been vanquished, Harry discovers the corrupt world. The apostate is when the hero dies a death, physically or in spirit, and moves him beyond basic knowledge. This is represented when a hero enters a godlike stage. During the last chapter, Potter wakes up in a hospital bed, unknowing where the stone is. Dumbledore assures him that the stone “has been destroyed” (297). He now knows what it is like to be a good wizard because he experienced and handled danger. A weight has been lifted from his shoulders as he enters the end-of-term feast. The ultimate boon within the novel actually happens before the apostate. The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal. Lord Voldemort, Quirrell, and Harry battle over the sorcerer’s stone. Potter wants to preserve the stone while Voldemort wants to use it for his own advantage to acquire a body and be separate from Quirrell. All of Harry’s training has led up to this battle. The refusal of return is when the hero finds enlightenment and does not want to go back to their everyday life. Surprisingly, this occurs on the last page of the novel. Harry does not want to return back to the Dursleys at Privet Drive because he feels at home at Hogwarts. Moreover, he knows the Dursleys are going to outcast him once again. During the second stage of Cambell’s monomyth, the hero learns the most about himself and his new world. The hero is grasping his new self through many steps and trials.
Furthermore, the third stage and final of Joseph Cambell’s seventeen-stage monomyth is the return. This stage has five steps, magic flight, rescue from without, crossing the return threshold, master of two worlds, and the freedom to live. The novel changes the numerical order of the last stage quite a lot. The magic flight is known as the hero’s escape with the boon. Potter exhibits this step by returning back to the Muggle World. Harry knows his life will be dreary once again at Privet Drive. Ron invites him to “come and stay” the summer (308). He shows gratitude towards Ron’s offer, although with a somber attitude. The rescue from without is often a guide that brings the hero back to ordinary life. Within Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Albus Dumbledore acts as a guide to Harry. Almost instantly before Quirrell can kill Harry, Dumbledore saves him. Although Dumbledore does not bring Potter back to the Muggle World, he brings him back to safety. Crossing the return threshold is known as returning to their life before their adventure, while the master of two worlds is balancing the hero’s inner and outer world. Within the first Harry Potter novel, one might say that these two monomyth steps are actually conjoined. During the last chapter, Harry travels along the train from Hogwarts to “the gateway back to the Muggle World” (308). This is known as crossing the threshold, but the book ultimately stops there. Readers can infer that in the last chapter, the master of two worlds comes into play as Potter acknowledges he is going to “have a lot of fun with Dudley” over the summer because he will use magic within the Muggle World (309). The hero’s freedom to live is the final step of the monomyth. The hero now has no fear of death because their journey has made them courageous. Although Potter’s home is the Dursleys, he looks forward to returning back to Hogwarts. This gives him a sense of happiness which he has never felt at home before.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is only the first novel in a seven-part series, but Harry Potter’s heroic journey is the most important in this text alone. Joseph Cambell’s seventeen step monomyth is clearly shown throughout Harry’s adventure. This book shows Potter’s adventure through a new world that he must disregard everything he previously knows. He learns new skills through supernatural aids and roads of trials that ultimately lead up to his battle with Voldemort. The monomyth in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone paves the way for the future novels. Readers can see Harry’s life before magic and gain inside information on his character. The novel is the primal step to his new life.
Identity Formed by Choices in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, a Novel Series by J.K. Rowling
While the entire Harry Potter series works to establish the identity of the main character, the first installment in J.K. Rowling’s bestselling books, entitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, clearly presents a pattern which begins early on in the life of the protagonist, Harry Potter. Contrary to works which might emphasize the influence of coincidence or destiny, it is evident that Harry chooses what his identity will be, rather than letting fate and circumstance determine it for him. As Rowling is introducing readers to the young protagonist, she follows a pattern, especially throughout the first book of the series, in order to illustrate how Harry takes that act of shaping his identity into his own hands.
Upon beginning the novel, readers immediately discover that little eleven-year-old Harry Potter lives with his unsavory Aunt and Uncle Dursley. It is also made apparent that he is rather unloved by his caretakers and is forced to live in a cupboard under the stairs. He is abused and neglected, while his cousin is spoiled and fattened. Come his eleventh birthday, Harry learns he is a wizard and is taken to a whole new magical world with a friendly half-giant named Hagrid. Now he is faced with a choice. Will he choose to trust this new world and these new people, or will he approach this with apprehension and distrust because of the way he has been treated for his entire childhood?
In a psychological study on the behavior effects associated with child abuse by Carrie A. Moylan et al, it was found that “children exposed to domestic violence and/or child abuse are more likely to experience a wide range of adverse psychosocial and behavioral outcomes” (Moylan et al 53). Child abuse is an action that comes with many adverse consequences. It is generally known that many child abuse situations do not end well and cause long term issues for the victim such as trust issues, low self-esteem, and anger as well as much more severe issues like suicidal depression and anxiety. Abuse changes the behavior of the victim both internally and externally. After many trials of observing a wide variety of children, the study found that “youths…who had been direct victims of child abuse were more consistently at risk for the entire range or internalizing and externalizing behavior problems” (59).
With the previous information taken into consideration, it is easy to assume that Harry would face his new world with as much animosity as he was given in his old world. Readers would not blame Harry for approaching everything with caution and distrust since he has been shown nothing but cruelty for the majority of his childhood. However, Harry reacts in the opposite manner. He immediately receives everyone in the magical world with eagerness and gratitude. He willingly plunges into the quirky magical village and presents many questions about the new world he is apart of. The morning he leaves for Hogwarts, he is overcome with excitement: “Harry woke at five o’clock the next morning and was too excited and nervous to go back to sleep” (Rowling 90). When arriving at school, he never shows fear, but instead exudes excitement. He partakes of the welcoming feast without any hesitation or questioning of the motive behind the presentation of the extravagant meal. When Harry is faced with the choice of letting his past despair write his future or break out of that cycle to make a new life, he chooses happiness, refusing to let his circumstances define him.
After being introduced to the new magical world, Harry is presented with a piece of information that would seem to alter his view of himself. He learns that he alone survived an attack from the most dangerous and dark wizard of their time, Lord Voldemort. Not only did Harry survive the attack that killed his parents with only a scar to show at one year of age, but also he manages to make Voldemort disappear without a trace. Harry carries the nickname “The Boy Who Lived” from his infancy. He also is credited with being a hero for getting the evil wizard out of society. If one were to be told that they were responsible for all of these good acts after being brought into a society where everyone only knows them because of that, it would be easy to take advantage of these titles and develop a hero complex.
Hubris, according to Dictionary.com, is defined as “excessive pride or self-confidence” (hubris). This type of self-image can lead to thoughts that one is better then others or worthy of being called a hero. In an article in a psychiatry journal about the dangers of hubris, Dianne Trumball brings to the attention of the reader the idea that people with hubris as a defining personality trait “see themselves as embodying the standards of archetypal, action-oriented heroes who can change destiny” (Trumball 343). It would be rather easy for Harry to assume this personality trait if he just accepted what the other wizards and witches were telling him about who he was. It would be much simpler for him to accept that fact that he is a prominent, superior hero and proceed in this manner in his new life than it would be for him to start from the bottom and establish his identity.
However, Harry does not do this. Harry’s personality is the opposite of hubris. He does not initially believe that he was responsible for the heroic act of defeating Lord Voldemort because he sees himself as not capable of these actions. He seems himself in a much humbler light than the people of the magical society view him. This is best displayed when he and Hagrid are eating dinner after a long trip to Diagon Alley:
“Everyone thinks I’m special,” he said at last. “All those people in the Leaky Cauldron, Professor Quirrell, Mr. Ollivander…but I don’t know anything about magic at all. How can they expect great things? I’m famous and I can’t even remember what I’m famous for. I don’t know what happened when Vol-, sorry – I mean, the night my parents died.” (Rowling 86)
This bit of dialogue in the novel shows that Harry does not see confidence in himself, and he does not understand how the people of the magical world could see him as so important to society. This self-perception carries over to when Harry is finally brought to Hogwarts and surrounded by his peers. When he finally finds out what house he is to join within Hogwarts, he is simply happy to be a part of a “family,” and he does not notice any special treatment: “He was so relieved to have been chosen and not put into Slytherin, he hardly noticed that he was getting the loudest cheer yet. Percy the prefect got up and shook his hand vigorously, while the Weasley twins yelled, ‘We’ve got Potter! We’ve got Potter’” (121-122). On the contrary, Harry chooses to define himself as a hero through his actions in his new surroundings without just accepting the title. He actively seeks out to live up to the title of a hero by proving himself worthy.
Throughout his entire first year at Hogwarts, Harry partakes in actions that allow him to earn the title of a hero. He does this through being kind to others, becoming an active participant in school activities, and even breaking rules when it means a better outcome for others. His first chance to show his true heart is when a rich and highborn student named Draco Malfoy offends the first friend Harry has made, the half-giant caretaker Hagrid that came to take him away from his aunt and uncle: “‘I heard he’s a sort of savage – lives in a hut on the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic, and ends up setting fire to his bed.’ ‘I think he’s brilliant,’ said Harry coldly” (78). This show of defense for the first kind person Harry had met is only the beginning of the start of actions that lead him to earn his title. Harry mostly partakes in actions that are technically breaking school rules, but he knows they must be broken in order to help or protect someone else.
Very early on in the school year, Harry is presented with his first decision and opportunity to break the rules. In the middle of a broom-flying lesson, the bully Draco has stolen a possession from a much quieter boy, Neville Longbottom, and Harry tries to get it back for him. The students were told to stay grounded and not fly the brooms without the instructor but when Draco takes the other boy’s possession up into the air, Harry decides it is better to stand up for Neville and chase after Draco instead of standing back idly. He breaks the rule of staying grounded and is caught by a professor, but the other students rejoice his actions and revere him. In another instance, he and Ron venture into a bathroom to face a deadly troll in order to save their other friend, Hermione, when all students were told to go to their house common rooms and stay there for safety. Though points were taken away for not being where they were supposed to be, points were also given to Gryffindor house because Harry and Ron were able to defeat the troll and save another student from her death. Though it was essentially very dangerous and broke school rules, Harry became respected by his other students, especially Hermione and his head of house, Professor McGonagall. Arguably most importantly, Harry disobeys school rules by entering a restricted area in order to stop the sorcerer’s stone, a stone that provides immortality, from falling into the wrong hands. Though he did not expect to, Harry also defeated Voldemort for a second time by destroying the body his spirit had been using as a host. With the consequences of his actions taken into consideration, all punishment for breaking the rules is dissolved and Harry is rewarded with house points for potentially saving the wizarding world for a second time.
These are all examples of something called civil disobedience. In an article by R.P. Churchill in the Value Inquiry Book Series, civil disobedience is defined as “an attempt to bring about a change in the law or in the government policy through the violation of a law that is believed to be immoral, unconstitutional, or irreligious” (Churchill 66). While the school rules by themselves may not be considered immoral or unconstitutional, when placed into each specific situation, the rules become less than savory. Harry understands this and knows that he must choose to break the rules in order to do what is right. Even though he is technically doing something that is wrong, the good that comes from his actions overshadows the bad, and he gains respect and love from others. While the magical world already gave him these things, Harry earns them for himself by choosing to be a good person and stand up for what is right instead of just sitting in the glory of the given title of a hero.
Rowling demonstrates through this first novel in her magical series that a person’s identity is formed by the choices that they make. She does this by putting her own protagonist through a series of trials and giving him decisions to make. This pattern that she establishes in her writing is easy to find and can help the reader understand the point she is trying to make. Through her storytelling, Rowling conveys that a person’s identity is not determined by our circumstances or by fate, but by the choices that a person makes throughout their life. It is the reader’s choice what they do with the premise that Rowling has presented.
The Description Of The Movie “Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone”
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone.
This movie starts out in England in a little suburb. You see a little cat and it turns into a witch named Professor McGonagall she meets with a wizard named Professor Dumbledore at the door steps of a man named Dursley. The party is greeted by a massager called Hagrid holding a little baby named Harry Potter.
Ten years later the Dursley home is run by their spoiled son, Dudley. Harry does not have a room he lives underneath the stairs. The party ends up going to the zoo to celebrate Dudley’s birthday when Harry uncontrollably makes the glass disappear and Dudley falls into the boa constrictor pit. Harry is blamed for the incident.Soon these mysterious letters start showing up addressed to Harry. Mr Dursley tries to keep them from Harry, but his attempts fail the letters show up through every crack. Mr. Dursley ends up taking his whole family to a secluded island on the eve of Harry’s 11th birthday.
During the middle of the night they hear a large bang as Hagrid enters And hands Harry a letter from Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. Harry then learns that the Dursley’s have been lying about his magical powers.The next day Hagrid takes Harry to the London to get supplies. 1st they go to the wizard bank and Harry finds out his parents left him a lot of money. They shop in a place called Diagon Alley, where Harry gets a school uniform, books, ingredients for potions, and a magic wand; a twin to the evil Voldemort’s.
A little while latter Harry is eating with Hagrid and he asks how he got this scar on his forehead. Hagrid doesn’t want to tell him but tells him about the tragedy of Voldemort. He says that some wizards go bad and he was one. The one that did not join him he killed. One night he tried recruiting Harry’s parents and they refused so he killed them. He went to kill Harry but saw something then gave him the scar on his forehead. Hagrid tells Harry that there has not been any signs of Voldemort since.
A couple days latter Hagrid takes Harry to the train station. He has to go through a wall to get to platform 9 ¾. While on the train he befriends a boy named Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. When they get to Hogwarts they have to put on this hat that will assign them to there house; Harry hops he does not have to go to the Slytherin house. So the friend get into the Gryffindor house. As the year goes he finds that his potions teacher Snape doesn’t like him. Hagrid tells Harry there is no reason for Snape not to like him but he still isn’tsure.
During their flying lesson they are told to stay grounded then Draco Malfoy takes a toy from a boy and flys up in the air. Harry demands that he gives it back. Malfoy throws the toy in the air and Harry goes and gets it. When he comes back down Professor McGonagall takes him to to the Gryffindor Quidditch team captain and recommends him to be their seeker.During Halloween a troll is spotted in Hogwarts so all the kids are escorted to their dorm. Harry and Ron escape to find Hermione who did not know about the troll to get her to her room. While their there the troll comes in to attack. Harry gets on the trolls back and his wand goes up the trolls nose. Ron use a spell and makes the trolls club crash down on the trolls head and killing the troll. All the teachers are shocked and award them points toward their house.
On Christmas Harry gets his Dads invisibility cloak and decides to explore the school at night. He discovers the Mirror of Erised which shows the deepest desires of who looks into it. When Harry looks he sees him and his parents. Over Christmas Break the Trio decide to try and unravel a mystery. The connection between a break in at the bank, and this Sorcerer’s Stone guarded by a 3 headed dog. The Sorcerer’s Stone is a Stone which provides unlimited wealth and long life held by a friend of Dumbledore’s named Nicolas Flamel.
A couple of weeks latter Hagrid wins a Dragon in a Poker game. It is illegal to own dragons so they get ahold of Ron’s brother in Romania who studies dragons. While getting that taken care of they get caught by Malfoy and they lose 150 points to there house. The Trio and Malfoy end up being grounded and they have to go with Hagrid to see who’s been eating the Unicorns. They get separated and Harry sees a man with a hood drinking the blood.
When his mark starts to hurt the man starts to go to him then Harry is saved by a friendly centaur who tells him that is Voldormort and that he is plotting to steal the Soercerers Stone.Harry decides to steal the Stone before Voldemort. At midnight Harry, Ron, and Hermione sneack to the corrordor where the 3 headed dog is. After they get past that they go though this sticky stuff. They get to this giant chess game in which Ron sacrifices himself for his friends. Hermione stays with Ron as Harry goes into the room to find the Stone. When he enters the room he finds Professor Quirrell, who puts him in front of the Mirrior and tries to make him say where it is. Then Harry feels the Stone in his pants pocket and tells Quirrell he sees something else then a voice says he lies.
Quirrell removes his turban and there is Voldemort’s face in the back of his head. Voldemort instructs Quirrell to kill Harry but fails because he gets burned to death when he comes to contact with Harry’s skin. Then Harry passes out.When Harry comes to he is in the hospital with Dumbledore. To tell Harry that him and Mr. Flamel have decided to destroy the Stone. Then Harry goes to the End of Year Banqet which is were the house with the most points wins. It looks like slytherin is about to win when Dumbledore awards Harry and his friends for there accomplishments making Griffindor win the house cup.
Where we leave Harry is when he gets on his train to London to spend the Summer with the Dursleys.I think the moral message of Harry Potter is to never give up even when things don’t make sense. I think a lot of us have deferent things going on in are lives that don’t make sense and if we wait which most of us aren’t good at that, but it will work out and put you on a good path. Like Harry he was basically discriminated against because of who he was and he didn’t even know it it probably didnt make a lot of sense but it did.
The Relationship Between Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Economics
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Economics
J. K. Rowling created stories and worlds that are very beloved in the world. Most children know the Harry Potter stories, however what they may not realize is that they are learning about economics through these stories. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has some intriguing lessons when it comes to economics that J. K. Rowling may not have even intended to include. Incase anyone needs a refresher on the first book in the series, it is about a boy who as a baby defeated the most powerful and feared wizard in the world after that wizard killed his parent’s. No one knows how Harry Potter defeated Voldemort, they just know he did. Some wizard’s who were close to the Potter’s gave Harry to his muggle (Aka. non-magical humans) aunt and uncle who only like ordinary things and hated the Potter’s for being odd and different. Once Harry gets older he is accepted into Hogwarts school of magic and finds out he’s a wizard. He also learns that his parents left him money and that he will get to live at school. His muggle family has been horrible to him. At school he learns about monster’s, witches, spells and potions, encounter’s Voldemort and learns that Professor Quirrell is working for him and fights that professor inorder to save Hogwarts (Rowling).
So, how does Harry Potter relate to economics? It actually relates deeply to the concepts discussed in chapter 3 of The Macro Economy of Today, on Supply and Demand and the weight a demand has and the different types of markets (Schiller). Harry Potter demonstrates factor markets, that deal with factors of production, product markets: where items are sold, opportunity costs: how when one item is bought another item cannot be, supply: the ability and willingness to produce an item, demand: the willingness and ability to get an item, and the determinants of demand.
First, there is the example of opportunity cost. Schiller defines opportunity cost as, “the most desired goods or services that are forgone in order to obtain something else (48).” In The Sorcerer’s Stone, there are two comparative examples of opportunity cost in the story. Harry Potter lives with his aunt and uncle Dursley and their son Dudley. In their home Dudley is favored highly over Harry. Harry sleeps in a cupboard under the stairs while Dudley has two bedrooms, one for his toys and one for where he sleeps. The Dursley’s buy Dudley whatever he wants. For Dudley’s Birthday they go out and buy him more presents because Dudley is upset the number of his presents are fewer than last year. Dudley does not understand opportunity cost, because his parents buy him whatever he wants. Because of this he places little value on the items he receives. Harry Potter observes Dudley’s toy room,
Nearly everything in here was broken. The month-old video camera was lying on top of a small, working tank Dudley had once driven over the next door neighbor’s dog; in the corner was Dudley’s first ever television set, which he’d put his foot through when his favorite program had been cancelled (Rowling 37).
Dudley’s lack of understanding that there is an opportunity cost to his toys will eventually harm him. He does not understand that his parents resources are limited, and soon he will only have broken toys to play with. Harry Potter however understands opportunity costs. He knows that if he does not behave how the Dursley’s would like, he will be punished and will lose the few privileges he has. When Dudley has his birthday, Harry is supposed to go stay with a babysitter. The babysitter cannot take Harry that day and the Dursley’s are forced to take Harry with them to the zoo. Before leaving, his aunt and uncle threaten him, that if anything goes wrong at the zoo Harry will not be allowed to leave his cupboard. Harry, of course, accidentally makes the glass on an exhibit disappear and the Dursley’s lock him in his cupboard for weeks. Harry understands that if he does something bad, on purpose or not, that he loses the few privileges he has.
Harry Potter all the determinants for demand after receiving his inheritance. Once he has wizard money to use he fulfills the requirements. Whereas until this point Harry did not have that ability. Harry is shown to have the determinant of taste when he wishes to buy a gold cauldron. He is prevented from buying that item and instead gets a pewter one, but he also displays taste in buying a nicer set of scales and a nicer telescope. Implying he chose those items over another. Once Harry receives his inheritance, he is fulfills the determinant of income with his gold coins. He shows through his desire for a gold cauldron and his choice in buying pewter that the determinant of other goods is fulfilled. The determinant of expectations is fulfilled. Harry believes, he will have very little and will only be able to buy the necessities. Harry’s expectations change once he realizes he has a great amount of money. He expects to be able to buy nicer versions of items on his supply list. His expectations are disappointed by his caretaker with certain, items, but with others his expectations are fulfilled. There are also a number of buyers that exist. We see Harry interact with another wizard boy in a shop who is also making a purchase. Harry also observes that the stores are very busy, proving that Harry is not the only person with demand and will have some options unavailable because items have already purchased (Schiller 51).
Eventually Harry Potter gets a letter accepting him into Hogwarts and he gets to utilize demand, and locate a market. Schiller says, “a market exists wherever and whenever an exchange takes place (48).” He also defines demand as, “the ability and willingness to buy specific quantities of a good at alternative prices in a given time period, ceteris paribus (Schiller 48).” This market for him exists in the wizard world where his parents left him a large inheritance. This gives Harry demand in the wizard market. Especially in Diagon Alley where Hogwarts students go to buy their school supplies. Harry now has the ability to make more purchasing decisions, than he was ever allowed before. It story there is a point at which Harry has the ability to buy a gold cauldron his caretaker keeps him from buying it because it is not the cauldron listed on the supply list. Harry does, however, get a nicer set of scales and telescope since he could not buy the cauldron he wanted (Rowling 80). Because of the market Harry was able to make exchanges from, and the fact that he had demand, it shows supply is there as well. Harry only encounters a product market. Schiller defines product market as, “any place where finished goods and services (products) are bought and sold (47).” Harry enters a clothing store, an apothecary shop, a pet shop, and a wand shop. All these places implies supply and demand for wizards who are willing and able to make purchases.
The story also talks about complementary goods and substitute goods, some are purchased within the same shop. Schiller defines both terms, “substitute good: goods that substitute for each other; when the price of good x rises, the demand good y rises, ceteris paribus (51).” and “complementary goods: goods frequently consumed in combination; when the price of good x rises, the demand for good y falls, ceteris paribus (51).” If the price of the pewter cauldron were to rise, the demand for the gold cauldron would rise because. Since both items are cauldrons and fulfill the same purpose, they are substitutes for each other. However, at the apothecary, shop Harry buys potion ingredients and scales. These are complementary goods. You have little use for them without a cauldron to use them. So if the price of the cauldron rises, demand for the other items will fall because they are not as essential (Rowling 80-81).
So now it is easy to see that Harry Potter shows the elements of the economy in Supply and demand. He starts off with little demand and everything is high in opportunity cost, he ends with higher demand and much lower opportunity cost. It fulfills the determinants of demand and proves there is supply for the items Harry desires. Harry Potter shows a well developed economy. If only its readers knew.
Harry Potter and The Last Unicorn: Can the Supporting Characters be the Hero?
In almost every fantasy book or film, the major protagonist is represented as a hero who must struggle to overcome life-threatening obstacles and potential defeat. Peter Beagles novel The Last Unicorn published in 1968, and J. K. Rowling’s novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone published in 1997 are two vastly different stories, yet they share a copious amount of similarities regarding heroism. Harry Potter and The Last Unicorn share a similar ideology of what is a hero, in the sense that a hero is portrayed as a single entity. It is common nature to read a fantasy novel and depict the major protagonist as the hero; however, when looking at Harry Potter and The Last Unicorn, the supporting characters show far more heroic qualities than the major protagonists themselves. Harry Potter and the Unicorn are the major heroes of the novels, yet it is the supporting characters who aid in giving them their sense of heroism, which subsequently leads the supporting characters to becoming heroic themselves.
When comparing both Rowling and Beagles novels, it is obvious that there is a major protagonist — that being Harry and the Unicorn, or Lady Amalthea — and other supporting characters, such as Ron, Hermione, Schmendrick, and Molly. However, the protagonists are not the only heroes present in the novel. If heroism is based on ones nobility and courage, Lady Amalthea may not even be considered a hero at all. Upon being turned into a human, Lady Amalthea loses her sense of heroism and becomes merely a damsel in distress struggling with her love interest, Prince Lir. She only restores her sense of heroism once she returns as a unicorn and defeats King Haggard and the Red Bull. Before Schmendrick turned Lady Amalthea back into a unicorn, she was contemplating remaining as a human in order to stay with Prince Lir, and evidently leaving all of the other unicorns in captive by King Haggard. Schmendrick and Molly had to persuade Lady Amalthea to make the righteous decision to leave Prince Lir and save the other unicorns. Without the encouragement and aid from Schmendrick and Molly, the unicorns would be left in captive of King Haggard, and Lady Amalthea would have remained a damsel in distress. There may only be one sole protagonist, but there is not one sole hero in these novels. Harry Potter and the Unicorn both are the central focus of the two novels, yet the supporting characters serve to advance the plot by keeping both Harry, and the Unicorn prevailing against Voldemort and King Haggard.
In The Last Unicorn, Schmendrick’s definition of a hero is that, “[t]he hero has to make a prophecy come true, and the villain is the one who has to stop him.” Schmendrick further claims, “a hero has to be in trouble from the moment of his birth, or he’s not a real hero” (Beagle, 127-128). Schmendrick’s definition of a hero identifies with the Unicorn, but strikingly with Harry Potter as well. By definition, Harry and the Unicorn are heroes. Their names being the titles of both novels represents Harry and the Unicorn as the sole heroes, prior to even reading the stories. The reader is set up knowing who the focus of the narrative is about, and is thereby only analyzing and critiquing the major protagonists, while failing to look further at the other supporting characters. The supporting characters do not have the same opportunities to be considered heroic due to a lack of attention, and a stringent definition of what it means to be a hero. By Schmendrick’s definition, it is clear that he does not consider himself a hero. His decision to help the Unicorn was not because he thinks of himself as a hero, or as her ‘knight in shining armour,’ but because he simply wants to help the unicorns. Schmendrick considers himself an amateur magician, but still uses what little magic he has to help save her. Schmendrick’s ignorance of his own heroic qualities further highlights his humbleness and goodheartedness as a character.
Harry Potter and the Unicorn are heroes, however they do not become heroes by defeating King Haggard or Voldemort on their own. The two villains in the novels — King Haggard and Voldemort — only target the Unicorn and Harry. King Haggard sought to capture the last Unicorn, just as Voldemort’s only vengeance was against Harry Potter. In spite of this, the supporting characters still made the choice to join forces with the protagonists, risking their lives to support a friend who they have only met for a short period of time. In Harry Potter, Voldemort targets Harry because he is the only one that he is unable to defeat. Voldemort without any difficulty would be able to kill Ron and Hermione, as they are not a threat to him by any means. Ron and Hermione prove themselves to be heroes, because despite the terror and anxiety that surrounds Voldemort’s name, they made the decision to fight alongside Harry and use whatever magic they could to help him kill Voldemort. When Harry was planning to search for the Philosopher’s Stone alone at night, Ron and Hermione reacted by saying,“… you don’t think we’d let you go alone?… Of course not. How do you think you’d get the stone without us? I’d better go and look through my books, there might be something useful” (Rowling, 291). Ron and Hermione show their loyalty to Harry unceasingly despite their own fears and insecurities. Their friendship with Harry was short, however, as soon as the threat of Voldemort’s return became a reality, Ron and Hermione — despite their freshman level of magic — did not let Harry go through anything on his own.
Just as Voldemort only targets Harry Potter, King Haggard only targets and preys on unicorns. King Haggard and the Red Bull’s terror has no impact on Molly and Schmendrick, yet they jeopardize their own safety in order to help the Unicorn find others of her kind. Molly and Schmendrick even degrade themselves by working as the King Haggard’s clown and kitchenmaid, allowing Lady Amalthea to secretly search for the captive unicorns. Unlike Schmendrick, Molly has no magical powers or abilities of any kind, which puts herself further in danger, however; as a woman, she is able to see the Unicorn for what it truly is. On account of Molly’s infatuation with unicorns, she begs Schmendrick to allow her to come along on their journey to King Haggard’s castle. She argues with Schmendrick, “[s]he’s letting you travel with her, though I can’t think why, but she has no need of you. She doesn’t need me either, heaven knows, but she’ll take me too” (Beagle, 99). Molly and Schmendrick are aware of what little influence and capability they have against King Haggard, but their passion and nobility surpasses their strength.
In fantasy, there is substantial importance placed upon magic and becoming a superb wizard, or magician. In Schmendrick’s case, his struggle with becoming a good magician started when he was unable to free the Unicorn from Mommy Fortuna’s cage. Despite his constant struggle, Schmendrick was always able to use his magic in dire straits in order to save Lady Amalthea and the unicorns. When Schmendrick was put to the test and had to use his magic to make wine out of water, the skeleton exclaimed “ah that was the real stuff, that was wine! You’re more of a magician than I took you for” (Beagle, 237). Initially reading this novel, Schmendrick would not be considered a hero due to the fact that his magic tricks often fail, and he is not taken seriously as a magician. In spite of Schmendrick’s magic being inconsistent, he is continuously needed by the Unicorn throughout the novel, and is always able to prevail.
In Hermione’s case — although all wizards at Hogwarts place an importance upon magic — is especially keen on her studies and becoming a stronger, more powerful wizard. Hermione studies for months prior to her exams in order to be the best, however, being a hero does not simply mean that one demonstrates impressive magical abilities. Hermione is not a hero for coming in at the top of her class, but for her aid in defeating Voldemort and saving Harry. Schmendrick is a failing magician that struggles to perfect his magic tricks, and Hermione is a first-year student at Hogwarts just beginning her studies as a wizard. Schmendrick and Hermione are not heroic for what they are capable of, but for the ways in which they use their magic to save the major protagonists from defeat. Although the supporting characters do not have as much power as Harry and the Unicorn, with their help they are powerful enough to defeat King Haggard and Voldemort. This struggle and perseverance is what the genre of fantasy captures as being heroic.
Harry and the Unicorn are born heroic prophecies, but it is the supporting characters who help them discover their full potential. Harry was dumbfounded when he began receiving letters addressed to “Mr H. Potter: The Cupboard under the Stairs,” and was even more perplexed upon discovering that he is a famous wizard (Rowling, 36). When Harry went to Hogwarts and the Potter name was quickly circulated, Hermione asks him, “are you really?… I know all about you, of course — I got a few extra books for background reading, and you’re in Modern Magical History, and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts, and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century” (Rowling, 113). Likewise, in The Last Unicorn, the Unicorn overhears hunters discussing the extent to which unicorns were becoming extinct. In a moment of distress and confusion, she claims “all I want to know is that there are other unicorns somewhere in the world. Butterfly, tell me that there are still others like me” (Beagle, 15). Both Harry and the Unicorn share a similar humble and heroic virtue, and are unaware of the magnitude of their powers. Harry and the Unicorn discover their heroic qualities and potential to their full extent because of the encouragement and constant reassurance from the supporting characters.
Harry Potter and the Unicorn were born as prophecies; however, their popularity plays an incremental role in their reputation as heroes. The Potter name was known by everyone at Hogwarts prior to Harry’s arrival, which resulted in Harry being treated similar to a celebrity by both students and faculty. His fight against Voldemort as an infant which lead to the death of his parents, and the lightning scar across his forehead, made history in the world of magic. Correspondingly, in The Last Unicorn, the Unicorn was given similar treatment as a result of her magic, beauty, and horn. She was sought after to be a part of Mommy Fortuna’s Midnight Carnival, for her beauty was seen as lucrative. Even under the male gaze, she was still considered to be a “pretty little mare” (Beagle, 9). Popularity and heroism are not interchangeable, yet it can be misconstrued that Harry and the Unicorn are looked up to as prestigious because of who they are, rather than what they have accomplished. Defeating King Haggard and Voldemort is heroic; however, their defeat cannot be accredited to only Harry and the Unicorn. The supporting characters in the novel are indisputably the cause of both heroic defeats due to their endless support, encouragement, and aid in magical abilities.
Supporting characters tend to be over looked in fantasy because they are often not considered important enough to have a specific title or role aside from the ‘side kick.’ As a result of the supporting characters rarely becoming the central focus of the novel, they often tend to fly under the radar, and are only turned to when the major protagonist is in trouble, or needs support. Nevertheless, in both The Last Unicorn and Harry Potter the supporting characters prove themselves to be more heroic than the major protagonists. In Beagle and Rowling’s novels, Ron, Hermione, Schmendrick, and Molly help the major protagonist throughout their journey to become a hero, which subsequently results in the supporting characters becoming heroes themselves. Despite all of the danger and peril that the supporting characters endure in attempt to save the major protagonist, they do not get any acknowledgment or reward for their actions. Harry Potter and the Unicorn outshine the supporting characters throughout the entire novels, even though they were responsible in contributing to the overall success. Harry and the Unicorn have no choice but to be heroic in the event of their potential defeat, but Ron, Hermione, Schmendrick, and Molly choose to be heroic by fulfilling the supporting role. In fantasy, the hero is traditionally depicted as a singular entity; however it is rare that a hero stands alone. Harry Potter and the Unicorn may be heroes by definition, but if the preconceived notion and definition of a ‘hero’ is ignored, it is clear that the supporting characters — being Ron, Hermione, Schmendrick, and Molly — show a far greater sense of heroism than the major protagonists in terms of courage, strength, and bravery.
Beagle, Peter S. The Last Unicorn. A Roc Book. 1968
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter. Bloomsbury. 2014
The Terrifying Traits Keeping Harry Potter from Being a Positive Influence in a Children’s Curriculum
J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone — later retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the book’s release in the United States — was first published in 1997. Beloved by young readers worldwide, the novel recounts the exploits of the titular Harry Potter, an orphan who discovers he is a wizard when he is accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As he takes in this new world, it becomes clear that not every all its inhabitants are as welcoming as they seem; for there are dark forces seeking to destroy Harry and the balance of the wizarding world in the process. Rowling’s book focuses on the theme of good’s triumph over evil. However, because it excuses rule-breaking and presents a biased perspective on “evil characters,” Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone should not be included in the school board curriculum.
Be it federal laws or classroom regulations, an important lesson for children to learn is that the rules apply to everyone equally. Unfortunately, this lesson is not applied in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as it partakes in a number of double standards, exempting the main characters from consequence when they break the rules. For example, Draco Malfoy points out that “first years aren’t allowed [broomsticks]” (131) when he discovers Harry’s new Nimbus Two Thousand. However, not only does Professor Flitwick ignore Draco as he tries to report Harry, the broom is actually a gift from Professor McGonagall after she sees Harry disobey the instruction to stay on the ground during the flying lesson. She even acknowledges that it is against the rules but allows it anyway, explaining in a note that arrived with the broomstick: “DO NOT OPEN THE PARCEL AT THE TABLE. It contains your new Nimbus Two Thousand, but I don’t want everybody knowing you’ve got a broomstick or they’ll all want one” (131). Similar scenes of the main character not being punished, or even being rewarded for major infractions can be found throughout the novel, however when a side character or even an antagonist breaks the rules, they are swiftly punished without second thought. The reader sees this exact scenario unfold when Draco once again attempts to report Harry, this time to McGonagall: “Detention! And twenty points from Slytherin! Wandering around in the middle of the night, how dare you” (192). Unlike with Harry, McGonagall is unwilling to make an exception. She will not even entertain the notion that Draco may have a legitimate reason for breaking the curfew. When Draco tries to explain the situation, McGonagall refuses to listen, saying, “What utter rubbish! How dare you tell such lies” (192)! Her reaction is completely justified as she is an authority that must uphold certain values in the environment she looks after, but there can be no exceptions. If Harry can defy the rules for a good reason, then so to should Draco be afforded the same liberty when he has a similarly valid reason, yet this is not the case. Harry Potter’s explicit use of double standard in regard to rule breaking conveys the dangerous message that rules do not apply to everyone equally. This message, if taught to young children, can be toxic and is one of the reasons why Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone should not be included in the school board curriculum.
In many respects, Harry Potter’s main theme is the triumph of good over evil. However, the way in which novel portrays evil is extremely conducive to bigoted thinking, specifically in the way it portrays the Slytherin house and the characters associated with it. One of the first things said about Slytherin comes when Harry asks Hagrid about the houses, and Hagrid explains, “There’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin” (62). Hagrid does not acknowledge in his statement that not all Slytherins grow to be evil. He ignores facts to justify his prejudice. A young reader can easily adopt an exclusionary mindset from this attitude. One can see this exact effect take hold of Harry at the sorting ceremony: “Perhaps it was Harry’s imagination, after all he’d heard about Slytherin, but he thought they looked like an unpleasant lot” (95). Overcoming prejudices is hard even for adults who know the harm bigotry can cause, so modern education tries to encourage a more accepting mindset in children. People know not to assume things about others simply because they have certain traits, but one cannot read Harry Potter, with its open, unchallenged hatred of a group, and say it champions this understanding, or that it encourages overcoming ignorance. For this reason, it is plain to see that this novel would be a detriment to the goal of the education system, and should therefore not be included in the school curriculum.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone should not be included in the school board curriculum because it presents no consequences for rule breaking and encourages a bigoted mindset. The book is extremely well-written; it is a beautifully crafted world that comes from a place of innocence and wonder. No one could claim that J. K. Rowling set out to write a corrupting influence. However, the attitudes presented in this novel can be damaging if adopted by children — one cannot exempt themselves from the rules, nor can they go about their lives deciding that a person is good or evil because of what they are, rather than who. If the purpose of school is to teach children to be a part of society, then this novel is counterproductive to intention.
A First Year’s Year of Food: Cuisine and Character in ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’
You are what you eat, they always say. This timeless proverb holds true for the wizarding world, as well. Harry Potter might be able to escape the muggle world after he becomes a wizard, but no one is immune to the truth behind proverbs. Throughout Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling uses food-related imagery to complement the emotions Harry has. In his first year at Hogwarts, Harry experiences a vast change in his surroundings, feelings, and sense of self. These stark life changes are mimicked by the different flavors and connotations of food Harry is surrounded by.
For the first ten years of Harry’s life, he lives with his only remaining relatives, the Dursleys. Unloved and unwanted, he lives in the cupboard beneath the stairs. His spoiled cousin Dudley has everything he can get his hands on, but very rarely is Harry allowed to have anything. While Harry does not starve at the Dursleys’, he is never shown what it feels like to have a full stomach or allowed a treat. On the one occasion that Harry is allowed to attend Dudley’s birthday party, the Dursleys, “Buy Dudley and Piers large chocolate ice creams…(and) Harry a cheap lemon ice pop” (Rowling 26). This simple treat is a joy for Harry, even though his popsicle is not as decadent as his cousin’s. Being allowed to go to the zoo and have a treat is something Harry appreciates more than Dudley and Piers. Harry’s life has improved greatly for just this one day; it is as sweet as the lemon ice pop. But, it is not nearly as self-indulgent as Dudley’s life and his large chocolate ice cream cone.
On his eleventh birthday, Harry experiences an extraordinary discovery about himself and his place in the world. Hagrid, tasked with the duty to inform Harry of his magical heritage, discovers the boy hidden away with the Dursleys. After introducing himself, Hagrid presents Harry with a, “Large, sticky, chocolate cake with Happy Birthday Harry written on it in green icing” (48). Birthday cakes are full of wonder and wishes, and this cake is the first thing that has ever truly been made specifically for Harry. It is just the same as Hogwarts’s letters and Hagrid’s news: meant specifically for Harry. In the morning, Harry cannot believe what has happened. He thinks that the cake and Hagrid must have been a very nice dream (61). For the first time, Harry has a reason to hope and wish. Soon, on Platform 9 ¾, Harry is alone in the wizarding world for the very first time. After boarding the train, he meets his future best friend, Ron Weasley. Harry is optimistic and full of excitement about leaving the horrible Dursleys behind and discovering what is waiting for him at Hogwarts (98).
The very beginnings of childhood friendships are full of excitement, as well. After the train leaves the station, a smiling woman offers the two new friends a variety of treats from the trolley. Harry is excited to discover that the cart contains no candy like he has ever seen before (101). Indeed, the woman with the cart delivers a medley of wizarding candy including, “Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Licorice Wands, and a number of other strange treats” (101). A few chocolate wrappers later, Harry is well on his way to discovering friendships, the wizarding world, and strange candy. Hogwarts is famous for its banquets, and Harry’s first does not disappoint. Dinner is served immediately after the Sorting Hat, and all of the first years are rather excited about what is to come. Harry eats to his fill from a dinner plate as large as his eyes. All of his favorite foods are featured, including, “Roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak…Yorkshire pudding, peas, carrots…(and) peppermint humbugs” (123). This mountainous amount of food doesn’t even include what Hogwarts served for dessert! The possibilities for what Harry can eat have become wide and endless, the same as the possibilities for what Harry can make of himself in his new home.
By Christmas time, Hogwarts truly has become Harry’s home. He has become close with his friends, Ron and Hermione, he has mastered the sport of Quidditch, and he has finally found a place where he belongs. On Christmas morning, Harry awakes to a lumpy parcel from Mrs. Weasley. Inside, Harry finds a, “thick, hand-knitted sweater in emerald green and a large box of homemade fudge” (200). Homemade fudge tastes like just that: homemade. Mrs. Weasley’s gift has come at the perfect time to help Harry expand on his emotions. Three days after Harry survives his second encounter with Voldemort, he awakes to find Dumbledore sitting bedside. What follows is an important conversation between the two, with Harry asking questions and discovering what really happened behind Fluffy’s trapdoor. This conversation is full of discovery for Harry. He discovers why Professor Snape hates him, why Professor Quirrell couldn’t touch him, and how he managed to get the Stone out of the mirror (299-300). A few of these answers are not what Harry was expecting to hear, particularly the answer Dumbledore gives him about Snape. After this conversation, Harry is left to wonder about certain questions, as Dumbledore pulls out a pack of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean. Opening the box, Dumbledore, “Smiled and popped (a) golden-brown bean into his mouth” (301). But, his smile soon turns into a cough, as the bean happens to be earwax flavored. Dumbledore is surprised by this unfortunate flavor in the same way that Harry is surprised about Snape and other answers.
As often as people turn to comfort foods when they are sad, they turn to party foods when they are celebrating. Certain meals can balance or strengthen emotions. Harry Potter experiences of plethora of different emotions throughout his first year at Hogwarts. J. K. Rowling strengthens and complements these feelings through the use of food-related imagery and underlying metaphors. For Harry, this comparison might go undetected. But, recognizing these parallels in literature can add to the joy of reading and deepen our understanding of a character. We might even be able to spot these correlations in our own daily lives, and be able to appreciate our heightened emotions.