Tuesday, July 24, 2007

hero's journey 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

i've had some questions about the progression of harry potter, specifically in reference to the hero's journey.

Phase I - beginning awareness of one's self, and one's tasks
child-friendly
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, book 1, is about the magic of Hogwarts the school of magic, and Harry being rescued from unhappy orphanhood. turns out the Boy Who Lived through an attack by the evil wizard, He Who Must Not Be Named, has something to give after all; he's not a nobody. it's about learning that you have worth, and friends, and it's exciting and fun. meeting 2 best friends, and wonderful loving surrogate parent teachers. turns out he's downright gifted. a hero in the making.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, book 2, is also about Hogwarts and Harry having worth. and magic. and bravery. and where the evil wizard came from. and the miracles that asking for help brings. facing the beginnings of the evil wizard is a step into danger. eek. and Harry survives. for now. imagine that.
Phase II - initiation into loss, and traveling the path
not as child-friendly, but still passable
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, book 3, introduces us to the stories of Harry's parents and their friends, and how some of them stayed true to good magic, and some of them turned to serve the evil wizard. and now, a generation later, the same struggle continues with Harry and his friends. there's also an examination of the role of time. It all gets scarier. people are in real danger. turns out, he can do miracles, defeat fear and danger. wow.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, book 4, has Harry face great tests, which happens with the hero. people die. it's horrible. people are not what they seem. it's also horrible. Harry survives. but it's really, really scary. there's also the onset of adolescence and love and quarrels, and that's fun. it's about Harry discovering what strengths he has, or doesn't have, and what to do about that. people die. for real. the evil wizard shows up and attacks. nice. Harry survives. of course he does. the journey's not over.
  • but this is a turning point. of course it would be - 4 is the balance point out of 7.

Phase III - the tests
i would say these are not for small children, period. and they move from stories that kids love and adults like too, to stories that adults and teens love and kids go along with because it's harry potter.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, book 5, is the story of the good wizards and the bad wizards fighting each other for real. Harry's caught in the struggle. and in young love. and hormones and the insanity of having physical power and not maturity, and what to do with all those feelings? and - what if some adults are trustworthy and some aren't? the world gets much scarier. oh, and, people die.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, book 6, continues book 5. only scarier. and more intense. and things fall apart. and peole die. a lot.

Phase IV - the end, and the return

not for children.

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. book 7. this is it. the showdown. the valley of the shadow of death. the tests have grown intense, harry is frodo and luke skywalker and aragorn and jesus and dorothy and joan of arc and perseus and st george. i have nothing else to say until you've all read the books. oh, and, the showdown ultimately isn't with anything or anyone but oneself, one's shadow. one's hopes and fears. so, that's nice. painful. horrifying. beautiful.

so, what's the hero's journey? it's about leaving safety, being initiated into one's sense of one's calling, one's being tested to see what one is made of, going on adventures to learn what one must learn, and gather the friends one needs, going willingly through ultimately life-threatening tests, and emerging with a sense of acoomplishment - and purpose. what king will you serve, warrior? what cause will you champion? what people will you lead? what life will you bestow on others?

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