Sunteți pe pagina 1din 40

1

28-04-2013

Post Graduate Diploma In Comparative


Mythology
Department Of Sanskrit, University Of Mumbai

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells


Monomyth Theory
(Hero Myths)
Dissertation

-Utkarsha Kotian
kotianutkarsha@gmail.com

Table of Contents

Introduction

03

Archetypes

06

Part One: Departure

14

Part Two: Initiation

26

Part Three: Return

35

Works Cited

40

Introduction

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

A mythical Hero is defined as the core character of any myth, one who brings about a
change and thereby becomes an extra-ordinary person. This Hero ushers in the new era and
leads society towards change and becomes the protagonist of many stories that are described
as his journey. The journey of such a Hero is seen in all myths around the world in literary
work as well as oral stories. The journey of the Hero is perhaps the most important element of
the story, which follows the coming of age as well as the shaping up of moral character of the
Hero.
Such Heroes are also found in popular literature as well as movies. One such Hero of
popular literature is Harry Potter, the Hero of Joanne Kathleen Rowlings Harry Potter series.
Starting with the first publication in 1997 of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone,
Rowling, the author of the books unleashed the imagination of a generation to whom books
were seemingly lost. Within a month of the release of the last book in 2007, the series was
declared as the biggest story of success while it topped all charts of bestsellers of all times.
The secret of success of the series is in the nature of the lead Hero of the book Harry
Potter. A boy of eleven years, Harry discovers he is a wizard and is lead into a quest to defeat
the most evil wizard of all time Voldemort, forms the main story arc of the series.
All Heroes are said to have certain traits and characteristics that can broadly be seen in all
Heroes of the past of all cultures. The Hero is truthful, fights evil, is just etc. are some
popular themes. Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces summarises
the entire journey of any Hero, across stories/era/cultures into his Monomyth theory.
This theory covers all the aspects of a Hero that he possesses and the stages in the journey
that ultimately form the Heros life. The Monomyth theory is broadly divided into three
categories: departure, initiation and return. While these three stages are further divided into
sub stages that act as stepping stones; the order of their occurrence differs from story to story.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

Most protagonists from Hero myths and fantasy stories go through most, if not all of these
steps.
While it is clear that Harry Potter is the Hero of the series, there are certain markers that
Campbell describes which define a Hero. Not any character can be defined as the Hero of the
story and the theory fit around his journey.
Campbell talks of clear and defined events that propel the Hero. The so-called rites of
passage, which occupy such a prominent place in the life of a primitive society are
distinguished by formal, and usually very sever, exercises of severance, whereby the Hero is
radically cut away from the attitudes, attachments, and life patterns of the stage being left
behind.
This assignment is simply an analysis of how Harry Potter fits the Campbells theory which
catapults him into the category of a mythical Hero instead of only a literary one. The
assignment is divided according to the theory and traces Harrys journey in the seven books
with comparison to Campbells theory.
The first part of the assignments explores the archetypes that Campbell believes are present
in every story. These archetypes are similar to Carl Jungs theory of archetypes. The presence
of all of the archetypes in the book series, establishes Harry Potters position as an
archetypical Hero.
The next three parts of the assignments describe in detail the Hero journey of Harry Potter
which is possible after a close reading of the texts as well as a basic understanding of
Campbells theory. The novels are clearly the saga of a Hero which has all the signs of the
departure, initiation and return of the Hero Harry Potter. While all the steps seldom occur in
the same story, most of them are usually present. In the same way, the Harry Potter series

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

misses out some steps of the Journey and moves to the next. This is simply according to what
the plot demands.
Hence, wherever the story misses a step, that part of the Journey is absent in this analysis
and is simple mentioned in the order. The analysis is twofold wherever applicable taking
the entire series as one story arc and then each book individually as separate adventures.

ARCHETYPES

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

When Campbell describes the archetypical Hero and his journey, the stages of the journey
are also characterised by the presence of certain characters that could be true for every and
any myth/story/fable. Such characters that form the narrative of the Heros journey are called
the archetypical characters or the archetypes.
However, the idea or existence of the archetype is not an idea invented by Campbell but is
based on the archetypes that Carl Jung explained. These archetypes are a part of shared
consciousness in the history of mankind and their story telling way; making them the most
commonly seen aspects in a story. These, according to Jung, are already known to everyone
and one need not know the theory to understand or recognise them.
The archetypes that are usually associated with the Monomyth theory are the Hero, the
Shadow, the Mentor, the Herald, the Threshold Guardian, the Trickster, the Allies and the
Shapeshifters.
1. Hero
A Hero is usually a man who is the main character of the story and is most easily
identifiable. He has the good qualities that everyone desires but does not possess. He also has
some superhuman power that marks him out different from the others. Courage, honesty and
being noble are some of the attributes a Hero has. His parents are either uncaring or dead,
thus helping the Hero be a person of his own. One of the basic characteristics of the Hero is
that he is not fearful of death and would risk it for the betterment of mankind.
This Hero is clearly Harry Potter on this series. As the title character, the seven books are
his adventures in a new world and how he deals with them. This in the simplest words forms
the crux of the story. He is also the chosen one. As told by Albus Dumbledore to him in the

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

fifth book that Trelawneys prophecy suggests that either Harry or Voldemort can survive, the
story arc of the series is the way in which one must defeat the other to live.
As established early in the book, Harry is not just unassuming and simple but is also much
more worldly wise when placed in contrast to his over pampered cousin Dudley. Forced to
be so, he remains the simple person who is happy to be out of his cupboard under the stairs
and finally be recognised as a person and not just a burden on people, as is the case with the
Dursleys. Harry is an orphan and his parents Lily and James Potter were murdered when he
was around a year old by Voldemort, the greatest dark wizard of all time. It is a mystery for
most part of the series as to why Harry survived that fateful encounter and Voldemort died.
Time and again, Harry risks his life for the greater good or for saving someone elses. In
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, he ensures Voldemort does not become immortal.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he risks near death to save Ginny Weasley. In
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he frees his Godfather Sirius Black after fighting
hundreds of Dementors who wouldve sucked his soul. Similarly in Harry Potter and the
Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half Blood
Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry puts himself in the way of danger
over and over again to save both his near ones as well as the entire wizarding community.
2. Shadow
The Shadow archetype is of utmost importance in the Heros journey because it is the
Shadow that has to be defeated in order to overcome the obstacles and complete the journey.
The Shadow could be a mortal enemy, a complete antithesis of the Hero or also a person who
had the same options as the Hero but chose to be the Shadow. The cause for villainy of the
Shadow may be a result of suppression of anger or the need of recognition.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

The Shadow in the Harry Potter series is Lord Voldemort. Born as Tom Marvolo Riddle, he
is an orphan too who enter the castle of Hogwarts the same way that Harry does decades later.
However, while Voldemort turns into the greatest Dark Lord ever, Harry chooses to be the
saviour. This is a clear distinction between the two making them the antithesis of each other.
The reason why Voldemort desires to be different and eventually rule over others is revealed
to the readers subsequently when his past is explained in Harry Potter and the Half Blood
prince
. Born to a muggle father and witch; he is the offspring of a love potion and not true love.
Hence cannot ever understand the power nor fall in love himself. Brought up in an
orphanage, he is often ridiculed and sometimes punished for being a freak; when
Dumbledore enters his life to take him away and tells him he is special, Tom Marvolo
Riddles journey to Voldemort begins.
3. Mentors
The Mentor archetype could be either the principles that lead him to see the bigger picture
in his actions or a figure that watches over and guides the Hero. He steers the Hero on his
path to glory and helps him make the decisions that lead him there. The Mentor also keeps a
look-out for the Hero and makes sure he is safe and has his choices with him.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts and himself an
extremely accomplished wizard is a defeater of the Dark Lord Gellert Grindelwald who
preceded Voldemort. This makes him the perfect mentor for Harry, since he is experienced
and also is the only person that Voldemort fears. As the headmaster of Hogwarts, Dumbledore
is always present to help Harry and guide him and in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,
he even takes him on quests with him to discover the secrets of Voldemorts immortality. In a
way that is neither condescending nor belittling, Dumbledore often asks Harry to not involve

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

him in certain activities and instead just do as he says. Regardless of which, when Harry does
the same, Dumbledore saves him every time and often faces the repercussions so that Harry is
not harmed. When Dumbledore is killed, Harry feels more alone than he had ever before,
because the only guiding light and ever present support he had is now gone. Thus he spends
the rest of his journey in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, fulfilling the quest and
responsibilities set by Dumbledore to defeat Voldemort, in which he ultimately succeeds.
Such is the relationship between the Mentor and the Hero, that Harry names his son Albus
Severus Potter; Albus taken from Dumbledores first name.
4. Herald
Since the Hero comes from a world that is different from the one where he has his
adventures, the starting point of the journey is a Herald or a harbinger of news or summons
from the land. Such a Herald could also be an event that leads the Hero to quit his life and
move on to other lands for adventures.
When Harry Potter is left at the doorstep of his Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia Dursleys
house on his first birthday by Dumbledore with a letter explaining the circumstances, the
Dursleys decide to never tell him that he is a wizard. Thus, Harry grows up neglected and
hated by his Uncle and Aunt as well as their son Dudley who is a brat and bullies Harry. The
Herald or the Call to Adventure for Harry arrives in the form of owls that start arriving with
letters a little before his 11th birthday. The letters are specifically addressed to him and keep
pouring in till the Dursleys decide to drive off to a remote location where they cannot be
traced. Though Harry demands to see the letters since they are addressed to him, Uncle
Vernon does not let him. Finally, at the Hut-on-the-Rock, Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of the Keys
of Hogwarts arrives and tells Harry on his 11th birthday that he is a wizard and must enter the
magical world now. It is then that Harry comes to know of his past as well as why certain

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

10

inexplicable events like his hair growing back in a night, a glass vanishing etc. have
happened to him over the years! Its his magic showing. Hagrid then takes Harry to Diagon
Alley the following day to buy his wand, cauldrons, books etc. for school. Thus, both the
arrivals of owls with letters to Harry, as well as the unexpected appearance of Hagrid, act as
the Herald in the series.
5. Threshold Guardians
The Threshold Guardian as the name suggests, is a guardian to a major changing point in
the journey. This guardian could be an event, a general sentiment or a proper guardian that
stop the change from happening or by hindering it. It could be a jealous opponent or a
seemingly overwhelming situation etc.
The Threshold Guardians in the series are many. When Hagrid arrives, Harry is convinced
that there is a mistake and that he could not be a wizard. If he were, he wouldnt have been
the victim of the bullying and ill-treatment of everyone. He also is doubtful of the fact that
he has anything special to defeat Voldemort till as far as the 5 th instalment of the series when
after his godfather Sirius Black dies; Dumbledore informs Harry that his power is to
understand and be able to love. It is like compassion which is absolutely lacking in
Voldemort. Thus, his very first Threshold Guardian is his own doubt. When in Diagon Alley
with Hagrid, Harry meets Draco Malfoy, his adversary in school and life subsequently; whom
he takes an instant dislike for. When Draco mentions other ideas and words that are not
known to Harry at all, he is once again left feeling inadequate at his capabilities and is
convinced he will be a misfit. Later in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone we see that in
order to get to the Philosophers Stone, Harry must cross various obstacles that require
courage, intelligence and presence of mind. This is a recurring theme in the books and there
are various other people and events that act as Threshold Guardians against Harry.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

11

6. Shapeshifters
Usually, most mythical stories or fables have Shapeshifters that in the actual sense of the
term- change their shape. They move from one form of being to the other either willingly or
unwillingly. This could also be interpreted as a change in the perception of an event that is a
major turning point or a person whose loyalties are not known and could turn any side.
The books have both these forms of Shapeshifters. In Harry Potter and the Philosophers
Stone, it is mentioned early on that Professor Quirrel who teaches at Hogwarts met some
vampires and every since is scared of everything around him, including students. Remus
Lupin, Professor at Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harrys close
friend and confidante, is bitten by a werewolf as a child and turns into one every full moon.
He forms one of the core characters in the final war. However, unique to the series is a
Shapeshifter similar to tales of vampires turning into bats at will; theyre call Animagus.
Some people, such as Professor McGonagall, James Potter, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, Rita
Skeeter etc. While it is mandatory to be registered, most wizards in the series are not so. In
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, we discover that Voldemort had divided his soul into
7 parts that reside in different objects/beings. These include a diary, cup, his pet snake etc.
This too is a form of Shapeshifter where his soul as long as residing somewhere else, he can
be resurrected over and over again and is not completely dead. That part of his soul lives in
the object as seen in Tom Riddles diary in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
The other form of Shapeshifter in the form of mixed loyalties is Professor Severus Snape
who was a follower of Voldemort but turned to Dumbledore before Voldemorts death. He is
seen as one of the major antagonists in the series, who time and again does not support Harry
and makes himself a nuisance. His loyalties are questioned by everyone but Dumbledore who
truly believes Snape has changed. This is questioned again when Snape kills Dumbledore in

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

12

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and later as the new Headmaster of Hogwarts spreads
a reign of terror in the school. Even Voldemort is convinced that Snape favours him and was
a double agent only to bring about Harry and Dumbledores fall. It is not till the last few
chapters of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that we discover his loyalties were always
to Dumbledore and helped save harry numerous times. This brings about a huge change in the
perception of Snape in Harrys eyes that he names his son Albus Severus Potter, Snapes first
name being his sons middle name.
7. Tricksters
Tricksters are the mischief makers. They more often than not serve as a comic relief or a
distraction to the main plot. They could also sometimes lead the Hero astray, albeit in a witty
way.
Three main tricksters can be pin-pointed right away in the series. The Weasley Twins Fred
and George are the pranksters whore popular amongst the Hogwarts students as the two who
can smuggle in forbidden stuff as well as be unto some mischief for the sake of amusement of
others. With Harrys help they establish Weasleys Wizard Wheezes, a joke shop that sells all
sorts of accessories for pulling pranks. The third is Peeves, whos the castles poltergeist. He
is a troublemaker and only looks to create havoc. He completes the trio with the Weasley
twins.
8. Allies
Allies are by far the most important archetype for the Hero. They help him and aid him by
bringing about solutions to problems as well as advising him. Often, they are an emotional
support to him and also closest confidantes.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

13

Quite clearly, these allies for Harry are his two perennial companions Ronald Weasley and
Hermione Granger. While Ron and Harry have been close friends from the moment they meet
at Kings Cross, their friendship with Hermione is only formed after they save her from a troll
in their 1st year. Through the series, they stand by him and whenever Harry gives them a
choice to leave and not risk their lives for him, they stay back.
Underneath the cloak, Harry turned to the other two.
If you want to go back, I wont blame you, he said. You can take the
cloak, I wont need it now.
Dont be stupid, said Ron.
Were coming, said Hermione.

- Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (Pg 200)

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

14

PART ONE: DEPARTURE


The first of three parts of Campbells description of the Heros Journey is Departure. In
this stage the Hero is separated from his family and the world that he knows. At this stage, the
beginning of the journey, the Hero decides that he will leave his world and go out on an
adventure. In this part of Campbells theory, we see that the Harry Potter series has all the
five steps and they occur in all seven books as well.
This is the advent of the Heros fulfilment of his destiny and what will here forth be called
his new life. Often, the Hero is not happy or satisfied in his old life due to societal
issues/uncaring parents or guardians, or because routine has set in and there is nothing
worthwhile anymore. To get himself out of the humdrums of his life are usually the reasons
the Hero agrees to go on the journey.
This step is divided into five steps that complete the process of leaving all that is his and
into that which could be perilous.

1. The Call to Adventure


The Hero starts off in a mundane situation of normality from which some information is
received that acts as a call to head off into the need either to answer a higher calling or with
the promise of a life better than the one that he exists in now. This is the stage when the Hero
realises that there are opportunities for him outside of all that he has known through his life
and that this adventure could be a possibility.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

15

The Call that gets Harry into the magical world is the sudden appearances of the owls on
Privet Drive that get letters for him. Even before this though, Harry is spotted by numerous
wizards who bow to him in shops and pavements that he thinks of as strangers. In a way, the
bouts of magic that Harry has for his self preservation the vanishing glass in the zoo, his
hair growing back etc. are all Calls. They make him wonder if he is different or simply not
normal at all. Hence, Harrys Call is diverse and multiple coming to him at regular events till
the final Call comes in the form of Hagrid.
a. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
Harrys initiation to the world of magic has happened much before his conscious realisation
of the same. When Harry is doubtful of his capabilities, Hagrid asks him if he has never had
any weird experiences or events that just occurred and he had no control over; reminding
Harry of the same. However, the Herald that were the owls and Hagrid are Harrys first Call.
The Call to the Adventure actually begins when Harry learns of the vault at Gringotts being
stolen on the same day as his arrival with Hagrid at the bank. It is here that Harry begins
suspecting something is occurring and joins the dots finally when he realises Hagrid emptied
the same vault.
Hagrid! said Harry, that Gringotts break-in happened on my birthday!
It mightve been happening while we were there!
There was no doubt about it, Hagrid definitely didnt meet Harrys eyes
this time. He grunted and offered him another rock cake. Harry read the
story again. The vault that was searched had in fact been emptied
earlier that same day. Hagrid had emptied vault seven hundred and

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

16

thirteen, if you could call it emptying, taking out that grubby little
package. Had that been what the thieves were looking for?
-

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (Pg 105-6)

b. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


Harry is eager to get back to Hogwarts having lived there for a year. However he knows
that something sinister is already happening at Hogwarts before he even leaves the Dursleys.
A house-elf named Dobby comes to meet Harry and warns him and requests him not to go
back and also works to that end.
Harry Potter must stay where he is safe. He is too great, too good, to
lose. If Harry Potter goes back to Hogwarts, he will be in mortal danger.
Why? said Harry in surprise.
There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make most terrible things happen
at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year, whispered
Dobby, suddenly trembling all over.
-

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Pg 18)

The Call to Adventure this year arrives in the mysterious deaths of people and the writing
on the wall which read THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES
OF THE HEIR, BEWARE.. First Mrs. Norris, a cat is petrified and slowly multiple students
are. However, the decision to go after the Heir of Slytherin, who is the perpetrator of these
attacks is taken after Ginny, Rons sister, is taken into the Chamber by the Heir. Hence, the

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

17

Call for this adventure is twofold the writing and the attacks as well as the information
about the same given to Harry by Dobby when he is at the Dursleys.
c. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
When at the Dursleys for his vacation, Uncle Vernons sister Marge arrives who goads
Harry into performing magic by her constant taunts on Harrys mother. The uncontrolled
burst of magic that caused Marge to bloat and fly away, Harry is convinced, will get him
expelled from Hogwarts since it is the second time magic is performed in the house in front
of muggles. When he tries to flee, The Knight Bus, a bus for stranded wizards or witches
arrives to take him. Before the bus arrives, he sees the form of a huge dog and goes to
investigate what it is but the buss appearance drives the form away. In the bus, the conductor
Stan Shunpike tells Harry about the first ever escaped prisoner from Azkaban, Sirius Black.
He also tells Harry that Sirius was a death eater and one of Voldemorts biggest supporter;
leading Harry to be more alert and nervous. This dog is the Call in the book where it keeps
making its presence felt to Harry time and again and is mistaken to be The Grim, or the omen
of death. Later, following the dog that drags Ron to the Whomping Willow, Harry discovers
that the dog is the Animagus form of Sirius Black.
d. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry finally has a person to go in case of his problems his Godfather Sirius. But, Harrys
problems only increase as the Triwizard Tournament is announced where students from three
magical schools participate in a championship. In a twist, it is Harrys name that is chosen
(without him fielding himself) as the 4th champion which has never occurred before. His
name coming out of the Goblet of Fire that selected the champions means he must compete in
three challenging magical rounds that could also be life-threatening. In the last round Harry is

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

18

transported to a graveyard where Voldemort comes back to life. Hence, the Call here is
Harrys name coming out of the Goblet that forces him on the adventure.
e. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harrys movements are confined since everybody is of the opinion that Dumbledore and
Harry are lying about Voldemort. Harry now enters a magical world where he is not the Hero
but a liar. His Call appears in the form of Dementors who land up at Little Whinging when
Harry and Dudley are returning home one evening. In order to save himself he uses magic
and hence a notice arrives asking him to come to a trial to decide on his expulsion from
Hogwarts. Later, it is revealed to the world that the Dementors are no longer in control of the
Ministry and were sent to attack Harry. The Dementors are the first of continuous hostilities
that Harry faces instead of being the beloved of everyone.
f. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Since the Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge sees Lord Voldemort at the end of previous
book, the wizarding world is preparing for the inevitable war. The Call arrives at the
Dursleys doorstep in the form of Dumbledore himself. He informs them of Siriuss will and
on the way to the Burrow informs Harry that he will take private lessons from Dumbledore.
This Harry knows has to do with Voldemort. These lessons are the hunt for Horcruxes which
in the last book help Harry to kill Voldemort. Since Dumbledores words are ominous enough
for a major event in the story, this is his Call to Adventure, when Harry is sure that if
Dumbledore wants to have private lessons with him it should be important.
g. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
After Dumbledores death, Harry has accepted the truth that all he can do now is to find the
Horcruxes that will eventually provide a fair chance for killing Voldemort. The Call in this

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

19

book arrives in the form of a newspaper article. As Harry is reading The Daily Prophet in
Privet Drive, the readers are introduced to two clashing views of Dumbledore. The one by
Elphias Doge, Dumbledores school friend, speaks of him as a caring, intelligent and selfsacrificing man. Rita Skeeter on the other hand, writes a biography of Dumbledores life
where she gets the juicy details of his life to be prominent, casting a doubt in Harrys mind if
the Dumbledore he had known was actually as close to him as Harry thought he was.
This dilemma carries on for most part of the book where Harry now has to choose between
looking for the Hallows or the Horcruxes. Finally, the choice Harry makes is influenced by
his memory of Dumbledore, thus making this predicament developed from the newspaper
articles a Call of the events in the book.

2. Refusal of Call
Often, when the Call is given, the Hero refuses to heed to it. This may be from a sense of
duty or obligation to previous commitments. It could be fear, insecurity, a sense of
inadequacy etc. This stage occurs more frequently when the Hero is an ordinary man even in
the previous life, and hence has to be convinced/coaxed to accept his participation in the
journey.
This happens to Harry in the first book when Hagrid comes to deliver his letter and take
him shopping. Hagrid informs Harry that he is a wizard and that he will henceforth be
educated in Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry where his name has been down
since he was born.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

20

Though first elated on finally discovering what the contents of the letter were, Harry is then
sceptical of the whole idea. He is sure that though his parents could have been extremely
gifted witch and wizard, Harry was an ordinary boy.
A wizard? Him? How could he possibly be? Hed spent his life being
clouted by Dudley, and bullied by Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon; if he
was really a wizard, why hadnt they been turned into warty toads every
time theyd tried to lock him in his cupboard? If hed once defeated the
greatest sorcerer in the world, how come Dudley had always been able
to kick him around like a football?
Hagrid, he said quietly, I think you must have made a mistake. I dont
think I can be a wizard.
To his surprise, Hagrid chuckled.
- Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (Pg 47)
Hagrid then convinces Harry that he is a wizard by asking him to recollect the events in
which he had no involvement but his problems solved themselves in Harrys favour. Finally,
Harry agrees. Harry does not Refuse the Call in any of the other books since he has already
been initiated into the world of magic and the rest is simply a continuation of his adventure.
3. Supernatural Aid
Once the Hero has committed to the quest consciously or unconsciously, his or her magical
helper appears or becomes known. This aid guides the Hero through his first set of challenges
and eases the stress and burden of leaving the known behind and venturing into the unknown.
This aid is supernatural from the point of view of the Hero. The aid is simply different from
the Hero but could be normal when it comes to the new world that the Hero enters.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

21

Harrys constant Aid throughout the series is Dumbledore. He is Harrys mentor and care
taker though not always directly aiding him, he does it through various other means. Being
the only person of whom Voldemort was scared, he is best placed to help Harry. In the first
book, he sends Hagrid to assist Harry in his shopping and other small chores. In the second
he sends Fawkes, his pet phoenix to get Harry out of the Chamber of Secrets. In the third he
helps by instructing Hermione to turn her time-turner three times to get their work done. In
the subsequent four books, Dumbledore acts like a guide who stands at the sides but always
keeps an eye out for Harry. After his death, he helps Harry through Severus Snape by
instructing him through the portrait in the Headmasters room in Hogwarts.
4. Crossing the First Threshold
This is the point where the Hero actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the
known limits of his world and venturing into the unknown and dangerous realm where the
rules and limits are not known to him. This stage is one of the most difficult since it is a
literal leap of faith that the Hero takes from where he may never come back. The threshold is
thus symbolic of the conscious decision to let go and move ahead.
Harrys literal Crossing of the Threshold occurs when he decides on his eleventh birthday to
leave the shack and follow Hagrid to buy his school supplies and know about the wizarding
world. This is the physical action of the previously made conscious decision that Harry
acknowledges of him being a wizard.
a. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
While Harrys first crossing, as mentioned before, is moving out of the shack with Hagrid;
the Crossing and move towards the adventure can be seen in another event as well. The
corridor on the third floor on the right side is out of bounds to all students. As Harry, Ron,
Hermione and Neville discover, a three-headed dog is guarding something over there which
could kill anyone who tried to go past it through the trapdoor to whatever it was guarding.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

22

Yet, when the Harry is convinced that Snape will go through the door to try and recover the
Philosophers Stone, he decides to cross the threshold and go through the door. This he
knows, may lead him to a face to face encounter with Voldemort and could be extremely
dangerous; yet he crosses the threshold to make sure that the Stone does not fall in
Voldemorts hands.
b. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
When the Heir of Slytherin opens the Chamber of Secrets and many muggle born children
are petrified by the monster of the Chamber; Harry knows he must do something to stop this.
When Hermione is petrified just as she is about to tell Harry the reason he can hear voices in
the wall that might be a clue to the chamber, Harrys resolution to do something about the
situation solidifies. Finally, when Ginny Weasley, Rons younger sister is taken by the
monster into the Chamber itself, Harry and Ron decide to enter the Chamber themselves
without caring about their own well being and take Professor Gilderoy Lockhart along. This
Crossing of the Threshold of the way into a possibly fatal adventure of saving Ginny, gets
Harry to face Voldemort for the third time.
c. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Since his return to Hogwarts, Harry has accidents where he would die if not the
intervention of Dumbledore. Also the recurring dog in Trelawneys prophecies and in Harrys
surroundings makes him wary of it. When a huge black dog drags Ron through a hole in the
Whomping Willow, Harry and Hermione know that it may kill them, yet they follow him
down the hole to save him. This crossing leads to Harry meeting Sirius Black and Peter
Pettigrew in the Shrieking Shack and discovering the truth.
d. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

23

In this book, Harry does not undertake the adventure himself, but it is thrust on him. He
does not volunteer to Cross the Threshold (the magic age line that Dumbledore draws in
order to keep underage kids away); someone else puts his name in for him. Hence, he has no
choice to but to compete. However, when he is reaches the choice of winning the
championship by touching the trophy at the centre of the maze, he unconsciously crosses the
threshold to reach the graveyard where Voldemort is waiting to be resurrected.
e. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harrys connection to Voldemorts brain is explored in depth in this book. While Harry can
look into Voldemorts brain when the latter is particularly angry or happy; Voldemort uses
this connection to plant an idea in Harrys brain that Sirius is being tortured in the
Department of Mysteries. When Harry decides to rescue Sirius by fleeing Hogwarts on
Thestrals and then enters the Ministry of Magic through the telephone booth, he crosses the
threshold to enter what is guaranteed to be an encounter with Death Eaters and another nearly
fatal adventure.
f. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
When Harry discovers that Malfoy has been successful at mending whatever he was
working on in the Room of Requirement, he realises that Snape and Malfoy will get together
to attack Hogwarts that day since Dumbledore would be going out to look for a Horcrux he
believes he has located. In spite of knowing that Snape was the one who heard the prophecy
and betrayed Harrys parents; Harry decides to leave it all behind and go with Dumbledore to
find the Horcrux. This decision to go ahead on a dangerous adventure, in spite of knowing the
possible dangers to Hogwarts, is Harrys threshold that he crosses since Horcruxes are more
important.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

24

g. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Harry decides at the end of the previous book that he would probably not come back to
Hogwarts but only look for Horcruxes. This decision that he carries forward in the last book
is the first part of him crossing the threshold. When at Bills wedding Kingsley Shacklebolts
patronus arrives to tell them that the ministry has fallen, Hermione, Ron and Harry
disapparate to London in order to flee capture by the death eaters. Preparing for this flight
from danger for a long time, Hermione facilitates the crossing of the threshold that leads them
to a year in hiding for the hunt of Horcruxes. This flight is the second part of threshold
crossing.
5. The Belly of the Whale
The Belly of the Whale represents the final separation from the Heros known world and
self. By entering this stage, the Hero shows their willingness to undergo metamorphosis. The
Belly of the whale is a symbolic stage where the Heros departure is complete and his
initiation begins. It is his first commitment to the new world and willingness to be
transformed by it in this world. He hands over the life he currently has led, to get something
new which he does not know about.
Campbell defines this stage as a rebirth of the Hero where he is seemingly dead but comes
out to be alive and thus fastens his position as a mythic Hero. However, this can be
symbolically understood to be the shedding of previous identity and hence being reborn as a
new person altogether, while the previous dies.
The idea that the passage of the magical threshold is a transit into a
sphere of rebirth is symbolized in the worldwide womb image of the belly
of the whale. The Hero, instead of conquering or reconciliating the power
of the threshold, is swallowed into the unknown, and would appear to
have died

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

25

- The Hero With a Thousand Faces (Pg 74)


When Harry enters Hogwarts for the first time, he is sorted into Gryffindor by the Sorting
Hat. As is done for all first years, Harry wears the hat that looks into its head and decides that
Harry could either be in Gryffindor or Slytherin since he is courageous, ambitious as well as
noble. However, Harry chooses not to be in Slytherin. Being a Gryffindor is Harrys identity
henceforth and the previous life of the boy who lived under the stairs is completely left
behind.
This identity is sealed when in his second year Harry pulls out the Sword of Gryffindor
from the Sorting Hat when in the Chamber of Secrets. This, Dumbledore assures him, only a
true Gryffindor can do. Hence, Harry willingly chooses the House he belongs in and thus
transforms himself to a new identity to which he strives to live up to.
This feeling occurs once again in the fifth book when Harry learns of the Prophecy that
binds him and Voldemort together. Since he feels separated from the rest of the children his
age, he makes peace with the fact that either he must kill Voldemort or be killed by him.
Hence, the Harry we see henceforth in the rest of the series is a changed man. It is his
transformation from boyhood to manhood where he has learnt his lifes goal. And since he is
the only one who can do so, Harry is now a man on a mission to avenge the deaths of his
parents and his godfather Sirius.
Since the Harry before death of Sirius and subsequent knowledge of the prophecy is
different from the Harry later, this is a watershed moment in Harrys and the books narrative
where the old Harry is dead and a new one is born. The same is true when in the war in
the last book Harry realises that he must die for Voldemort to be completely mortal, he
accepts this as his destiny and walks towards his death and lets Voldemort kill him.
Thus, these three incidents stand out as Harrys moments in the Belly of the Whale,
surviving which he is transformed into a different person over and over again.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

26

PART TWO: INITIATION


Initiation is the second part of Campbells theory on the Journey of the Hero. In this stage,
the Hero is introduced to the new world where he must prove his mettle through conquering
demons or winning quests set to test him. These tests could be either physically or mentally
strenuous and the purpose of the Hero being put through it is that only the best or in most
cases only the Hero can successfully go through them.
According to Campbells theory, six steps occur in this stage. However, some of the steps
are not present in the plotline. Hence, those steps have only been described in order according
to the theory. This is the stage where the adventure actually begins and the Hero goes through
various supernatural experiences that form the main body of his life.
1. The Road of Trials
The Road of Trials is a series of tests or tasks, ordeals that the Hero must undergo to begin
his transformation. Often the person fails one or more of those tests, which occurs in this
stage. The point of the trials, however, is twofold. First to make the Hero believe in himself
and his powers, and the second for the people to believe that he is indeed the powerful one
who is worthy of being the Hero.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

27

The entire series is a trial for Harry. Year after year, Harry has to undergo several tests that
tire him physically as well as mentally but he carries them on. Hence, if seen from the point
of view of the entire story arc, Harrys stay at Hogwarts and one year after that is in itself one
long trial. He overcomes hardships and in the end successfully defeats Voldemort and saves
the magical world from being ruled by Dark Lord.
In a short summary, the following are the trials that Harry has to face in each of the book in
order to survive and sometimes save his near ones.
a. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
Harry must cross various challenges such as getting past the three headed dog Fluffy,
surviving the Devils Snare, winning the game of Chess etc. in order to safeguard the
Philosophers Stone. To prevent Voldemort by attaining immortality by having the stone,
Harry is tested physically, mentally and his bonds with Ron and Hermione too are put to test.
When he does succeed in preventing Professor Quirrel and Voldemort from attaining the
Philosophers Stone, Harry passes these Trials.
b. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:
In order to keep the Heir of Slytherin from killing Ginny as well as other muggle born
students, Harry must decipher the entire story of the Chamber and the monster that lives in it.
To accomplish this, Harry must find out the events of what happened when the Chamber was
opened the first time and how the monster travelled in the castle without anyone noticing it.
When Harry does locate the Chamber, he must battle the Basilisk, defeat Tom Riddle who
resides in the diary and is Voldemort, as well as save his, Ginnys, Rons, and Lockharts life.
Harry is helped here by Fawkes and he overcomes this trial as well. The diary it is later
revealed was Voldemorts Horcrux that Harry destroyed unknowingly.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

28

c. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.


As Harry enters his third year at Hogwarts, he is informed that a serial killer by the name of
Sirius Black, also Voldemorts death eater, has escaped prison to kill him. The castle being on
high alert due to the risks deploys Dementors on guard for the castle. When Harry discovers
the truth about Sirius and Peter Pettigrew, he must save the innocent. He travels back in time,
saves Sirius and Hagrids innocent Hippogriff Buckbeak and helps them escape while
fighting off more than a hundred Dementors alone. While doing so, however, Peter Pettigrew
escapes and joins Voldemort and subsequently helps him come back to life.
d. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Though Harry does not enrol himself, the parchment with his name flies out of the Goblet
of Fire, thus binding him in a magical contract to participate in the Triwizard Tournament.
Now, as a part of the Tournament, Harry faces a dragon, dives under water to save his friend
Ron and overcomes a maze full of challenges in order to win the Tournament. However, at
the end of the third round, he is transferred to the graveyard where Voldemort resurrects
himself and tries to kill Harry again. Harry fights him off and comes back to Hogwarts where
he now must fend of Alastor Moody who is impersonated by Barty Crouch Jr. another Death
Eater. Even though he survives all of this, Cedric Diggory, an innocent boy is killed in the
process for no fault of his.
e. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Now, that Voldemort is back, everything is a trial for Harry. Not knowing who is allied with
whom, Harry has to be extremely careful with his actions. At the beginning of the book,
Harry overcomes a Dementor attack on Dudley and himself. Later, he has to fight his own
loneliness and isolation by his friends as well as Dumbledore, who curiously does not speak

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

29

to Harry at all. The posting of Dolores Umbridge in Hogwarts as the Professor of Defence
Against the Dark Arts is seen as a Ministry involvement in the schools day to day running
and she has a particular loathing for Harry. Hence, he is tortured by her and his movements
too are restricted by her. Finally, when Harry enters the Department of Mysteries to rescue
Sirius who he thinks is captured there; he overcomes multiple Death Eaters and finally
Voldemort too.
f. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
One of the biggest mysteries of this book is the identity of Harry whose book helps Harry
throughout the year. Also, Harry must resist the urge to ambush Draco Malfoy who is
planning something sinister that Harry cannot figure out. His classes with Dumbledore too
are strenuous and the tasks he sets for Harry require cunning and skill on part of Harry.
Finally, Harry must persevere in order to get the Horcrux out of the cave where it is hidden
while Dumbledore slowly slips into insanity and is then killed by Snape. While Harry
survives all of this, Dumbledore is killed, Bill Weasley is bitten by a werewolf and other
students are also injured in the fight. Now, Harrys last set of trials begin; that of locating and
destroying the Horcruxes.
g. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Every step Harry takes is dangerous and every action must be weighed in well before being
done. Harry escapes the wedding where the Death Eaters appear and then also evades capture
by the Death Eaters who show up at the Cafe where the three of them are sitting. Later, he
enters the ministry to get Umbridges locket which is a Horcrux and escapes once more.
Finally, after a fallout with Ron and a narrow escape from Godrics Hollow and Nagini,
Harry and Ron reconcile and yet again evade capture from Xenophilius Lovegoods house
while finding clues about the Deathly Hallows. Subsequently, Harry enters Gringotts,

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

30

destroys another Horcrux after breaking into Hogwarts, finds the last Horcrux and finally
instructs Neville to kill Nagini before surrendering himself to Voldemort. When he comes
back to life, he fights Voldemort once more and kills him and thereby ending the war once
and for all.

2. Meeting With the Goddess


This is the point when the Hero experiences a love that has power and significance and is
all encompassing, unconditional love that an infant may experience with his mother. This
stage is where the Hero understands the power and importance of love, thus elevating his
experience from the mundane to the spiritual. The aim of love and power is hence a powerful
driving force. This love, more often than not, appears in the form of a feminine character or
form.
J. K. Rowling has time and again emphasised on the power of Love and its necessity in
Harrys life. Since Voldemort is born as a result of a union made possible by a love potion, he
cannot experience nor understand love, thus love is Harrys biggest power. As explained to
Harry by Dumbledore, the power that Harry possesses and the Dark Lord does not understand
is his mothers protection that arose out of her love. It was ancient magic that Voldemort
overlooked.
You would be protected by an ancient magic of which he knows, which he
despises, and which he has always, therefore, underestimated to his
cost. I am speaking, of course, of the fact that your mother died to save
you. She gave you a lingering protection he never expected, a protection
that flows in your veins to this day.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

31

-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Apart from his own mother whom Harry does not remember, there are other motherly
figures that take care of Harry and instil in him belief in the power of love. Molly Weasley,
Rons mother, treats Harry as her own son and also proclaims this to Sirius when he wants to
tell Harry of the Orders working. Minerva McGonagall, as the Deputy Headmistress of
Hogwarts and the Head of Gryffindor, is a constant presence in Harrys life. She guides and
reprimands him often while keeping a close eye on his well being. In the last book when
Harry 1wants to search the castle, she declares war on Voldemort and does her best to protect
Hogwarts and the students in order to buy some time for Harry.

3. Woman as the Temptress


This step is about the material temptations that may lead the Hero to abandon or stray from
his quest. In this moment of weakness, the Hero is distracted from his ultimate goal by an
easy temptation that promises to ease his ordeals and simplify his life. More often than not,
this may be in the form of a woman who appeals to the Heros sense of physical pleasure and
thus stands for weakness of the flesh.
Harry is Rowlings upright and morally strong character. Even when Voldemort offers harry
to save his own life and join him, Harry refuses and sticks to his convictions. Though he does
have romantic interests in the series, he does not fall for them nor let himself get distracted by
them. The only temptation that Harry has is of having the love of his family as seen in the
first book where Harry sees his mother and father in the Mirror of Erised. However, even
then, he is not on a quest and does not really stray away from anything as much as while
away his night hours in front of the mirror, watching his parents

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

32

Hence, this stage is pretty much absent in the series.

4. Atonement with the Father


To a Hero who is raised without a father, this is an important stage where is achieves
atonement or reconciliation with the father. He must be able to recognise the importance and
understand the father or fatherly figure in order to fill the vacuum that is present due to the
absence of his father and mother.
Since Harry is an orphan, he does not have atonement with fathers but with his father
figures. The three father figures for Harry are his Godfather Sirius Black, Rons father Arthur
Weasley and the third Severus Snape whom Harry loathes. While he doesnt have need for
atonement with the first two, it occurs with the third in the end of the last book.
Harry has hated Snape since the start of the series, but in the end when he discovers that
Snapes reasons for his behaviour, he has a new found respect for him. This atonement is
shown is seen in the name of Harrys son, Albus Severus Potter.

5. Apotheosis
When someone dies a physical death or dies and lives on in the spirit, he moves beyond this
realm and into a state of divine knowledge, love, compassion and bliss. This is stage of
enlightenment that one achieves after surviving a major event and in this case death. The
knowledge that one receives after death moves them into the supernatural and above ordinary
beings.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

33

When Harry dies in the Deathly Hallows, he meets Dumbledore in what can be described as
an afterlife where Harrys unconscious awakens and provides him of the true knowledge of
his and Voldemorts being. Dumbledore explains his various decisions to Harry and gives him
the choice of whether he wants to go back to the mortal world or no.
When Harry does return, he understands the true nature of the Elder Wand and also of why
Voldemort will fail and Harry can survive - because Harry is good and does not want to rule
as a Dark Lord and Voldemort wants the very same. He very calmly kills Voldemort and
overcomes the biggest war of his life unscathed and not hurt while shutting the door to that
unpleasantness forever.

6. The Ultimate Boon


The Ultimate Boon is the achievement of the goal. It is what the Hero undertook the
journey for. All the previous stages are taken in order to attain this quest. This stage signifies
the end of the quest and henceforth the return of the Hero will take place.
Harry achieves his Boon always, though the Ultimate Boon though is the vanquishing of
Voldemort forever that is done at the end of the last book. The other boons that Harry
achieves include:
a. Harry protects the Philosophers Stone and Gryffindor win the House Cup.
b. Harry slays the monster of the Chamber of Secrets and both he and Ron win the award
for Special Services to the School.
c. Harry rescues Sirius in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and thus has a
Godfather someone outside of Hogwarts whom harry can call family and loves and
cares about.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

34

d. Harry wins the Triwizard Tournament and the prize money along with it in Harry Potter
and the Goblet of Fire. He also is successful in announcing to the world that Voldemort
is back, which was not a part of Voldemorts plan.
e. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry is successful in proving to the world
that Voldemort has indeed returned and is also informed by Dumbledore the secret of
why it was him that Voldemort tried to kill. The prophecy is the single most important
piece of information that Harry receives that can change his life.
f. In Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry successfully comes back from the
cave and acquires the knowledge of Horcruxes too, though Dumbledore is killed. He
also is the only witness to the murder by Snape, thereby getting the Order to organise
themselves against any other form of treachery.
g. In the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry finally kills Voldemort
and his Horcruxes and defeats most of his Death eaters and earns for himself a peaceful
life.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

35

PART THREE: RETURN


The last part of Campbells theory is the Return. In this part, the Hero must return to his
previous life or at least end the Adventure and strives to have a life normal than others. Here,
the Hero often gets his Boon back for the betterment of others or the quest serves as Boon to
everyone and not just the Hero.
This stage includes six steps. Some steps are missing in the series of Harry Potter and so
have been explained in context or simple described in that order.

1. Refusal of the Return


Having found bliss and enlightenment in the other world, the Hero may not want to return
to the ordinary world and may have problems in adjusting. Often, the Hero wants to stay back
in this world so that the life where he has had his adventures is retained. To return to the
mundane life after having experienced the super natural is not possible for most Heroes, and
hence they remain behind.
This Refusal to Return is clearly seen in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, where
Harry does not want to return to the Dursleys and wonders what would happen if he remained

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

36

seated in the train and did not agree to get down at all. However, he does return albeit
reluctantly, as at the end of every book with the hope that he will come back the next year.
This Reluctance however is absent at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows since
Harry is no longer required to go back to Privet Drive but instead he can stay on in the
magical world. He does so in the end and in the epilogue we discover he has married Ginny
Weasley and has three children with her who are of Hogwarts going age.
2. The Magic Flight
This is the stage where the Hero must escape with the boon. This could be dangerous or just
as adventurous as the rest of the journey since the only way out and peace is his flight.
Though rarely seen at the end of the journey, this stage can be explained in context of
Harrys flight from scenes of fight at the last moment thereby saving him. Harry never has to
escape the magic world and always returns on good terms, so in situations where he is
running from the Dark Lord, we can see this Magic Flight in the series twice.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry is mortally wounded by the Basilisk
venom and is resigned to the fact that he will die. However, he asks Ginny to leave with
Fawkes who arrives there on Dumbledores instructions to save Harry. But Fawkes cries over
Harrys wounds, and the tears being a magical antidote, Harry is cured. Fawkes then proceeds
to carry Harry, Ginny, Ron and Lockhart out of the Chamber and into the Castle as Phoenixes
can carry weights much heavier than themselves.
The second instance occurs in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Voldemort is trying
to kill Harry; their wands have an unusual response to each other that Dumbledore calls Priori
Incantatem. Since Voldemort and Harrys wands are brothers the wands are forced to
recreate their last spells and Voldemorts creates a ghostlike image of Harrys parents, Cedric

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

37

Diggory and an old man whom Voldemort had killed in his fathers house. Harrys mother
then whispers to Harry that theyve reversed the Port Key and he must take it back to
Hogwarts. When the connection breaks, they linger around for a while distracting Voldemort
and Harry escapes back to Hogwarts.
Though these two examples are hardly instances of Magical Flight, they come the closest to
the description of this stage and it would not be wrong to say that Harry never has a Magical
Flight where he escapes with the boon.

3. Rescue from Without


Often, the Hero needs a powerful guide to bring him back to everyday life. Especially if the
person has been wounded or weakened by their experience. This stage ensures that the return
to the world after the adventure is complete and not a symbolic one where the person returns
but half his life is lost in the adventure and is never complete again.
Harry never returns to the muggle world injured. He is always physically fit though could
be emotionally traumatised after the events of the year. This is especially true in the case of
return after Siriuss death where by Harrys own admission he refuses food for a long time
because he misses his Godfather.
However, almost every adventure leaves Harry injured and he comes to the hospital wing
often to get treated by the school nurse Pomfrey, who mends Harrys bones, nurses him back
to health, administers him calming potions etc. from time to time. This however, is not equal
to the help that one requires to come back to normal life.
Such assistance could also be equated in what Dumbledore gives Harry in what is the
afterlife. Since technically Harry dies, Dumbledore gives him the knowledge and the strength

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

38

to come back to life so that he may defeat Voldemort permanently. Dumbledore makes Harry
believe in himself and in the power of his own goodness that he assures will ensure a win for
Harry. Thus, this Rescue can be equated to Dumbledores assistance to Harry in Harry Potter
and the Deathly Hallows.
4. The Crossing of the Return Threshold
At this stage, the most important activity that the Hero accomplishes is by retaining the
wisdom he acquired on the quest and sharing it with other in the world. This is also a signal
of return to his previous life and thus a major decision of the Hero to return and leave his
fame behind in the world that he achieved it in.
Harry does not experience this stage in most part. Since he stays back in the magical world,
and his knowledge which was simply the defeat of Voldemort is shared with the world, he
does not have any threshold crossing to do. In all of the other books though, his Return
Threshold is Platform 9 from where he comes back to spend another summer at the
Dursleys. This he does out of no choice since Dumbledore has instructed him to do so.
However, he does return every time except after annihilating Voldemort in the end of the
series. After this, he remains in the magical world and has no return threshold.

5. Master of the Two Worlds


Achieving a balance between the two worlds is necessary for the Hero in order to have a
balanced life and proper return to his life. This is also peace between the spiritual and
material world (inner and outer peace). This is a sign of maturity and tolerance that the Hero
has achieved and can be signified in the change of his outlook to the world.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

39

Harry achieves this only in the final book. Till then he is only superficially satisfied. Mostly
Harry is angry, confused or annoyed. This change in his moods could be attributed to the
bond he shares with Voldemort. However, after Voldemort is killed, Harry understands the
purpose of his life and the knowledge and calm nature he gains after coming back to life
make him more tolerant.
For example, Harry no longer begrudges the Malfoys who were throughout the series
Harrys adversaries. He tells Narcissa that Draco is alive in exchange for her lying to
Voldemort and later in the epilogue smiles at Draco and his children there by symbolising his
settlement of issues with him despite past enmity.

6. Freedom to Live
The mastery leads to freedom from the fear of death, which leads to freedom from the
adventure, responsibilities and its expectations. This could be the philosophy of living in the
present and not bother about the future or the past and thereby making the Hero self satisfied
and happy.
Since Voldemort is dead, Harry is free to live his life the way he wants without any
restriction of any sort. He no longer needs protection nor has a pain or visions from
Voldemort that making his life difficult. This is seen in the last chapter of the Deathly
Hallows when Harry repairs his wand and does away with the Resurrection Stone and the
Elder Wand and simply decides to live in peace. In the epilogue we see this come true in the
life that he lives with his children where he is happy and content; and is aptly conveyed in
one line:
The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian

40

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Pg 607)

WORKS CITED
1. Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Third ed. Novato, CA: Joseph
Campbell Foundation, 2008. Print.
2. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 1997.
Print.
3. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury, 1998.
Print.
4. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. London: Bloomsbury, 1999.
Print.
5. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London: Bloomsbury, 2000. Print.
6. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. London: Bloomsbury, 2003.
Print.
7. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury, 2005.
Print.
8. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. London: Bloomsbury, 2007.
Print.
9. Olanick, Christina. Harry's Hero Journey.
http://www.mugglenet.com/editorials/editorials/edit-olanick02.shtml , 27/04/2013
10. Milum, Lynne. The Hero's Journey through Harry Potter.
http://mythicHero.com/new_world_mythology.html , 27/04/2013
11.Algeo, John . Harry Potter and the Hero With a Thousand Faces
http://www.theosophical.org/publications/quest-magazine/1682, 27/04,2013

Harry Potter and Joseph Campbells Monomyth Theory Utkarsha Kotian