Nathan Graham English W131 9/22/09 Project 1 Linda Seger’s 10-Point “A Hero Myth” Analysis The idea of heroismhas been traced back to centuries of years throughout history. Greek Mythology is the father of this concept of heroism and this concept has continued to grow and develop through stories, writings, and films over the years. Humans have always been intrigued with the idea of heroism which is why many movies, books, and stories are written after this very idea.
In Linda Seger’s “Creating the Myth”, she argues there are 10-points into creating every “hero myth”, using Luke Skywalker in Star Wars as her hero myth example; in the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry follows Seger’s 10-point system of creating a “Hero Myth” very closely.
Seger’s first point to creating a hero myth is that the hero should be introduced in “ordinary surrounding, in a mundane world, doing mundane things. ” She also goes on to describe the hero starting out as innocent and modest,living a very unexciting life.
She uses Luke Skywalker from Star Wars as her example of this point describing him as unhappy with his work on the farm, wanting to go out and have fun and enroll himself in the Academy;which his Uncle does not allow him to do. Harry Potter could not resemble Seger’s first point more accurately when the movie first starts. Both Harry and Luke are alike in that they are living with their aunts and uncles due to the death of their parents, and Harry is defiantly living a tedious and mind-numbing life to say the least.
One of the first scenes in the Sorcerer’s Stone is Harry waking up to his bullying cousin jumping up and down on the stairs in order to wake up Harry as well as cover him with dust and dirt. This is able to happen because Harry was made to livein a closet under the stairs. This sceneinstantly lets the viewers see that harry is not living a life of a Hero. The scene continues as Harry is thrown back into his closet by his cousin before being told to cook the breakfast for the family by his Aunt Petunia.
This morning happens to be his spoiled cousin’s birthday whichmeans they would be going to the zoo as a family. Before Harry can even get into the car, his Uncle gives him a speech about how he better not screw anything up while they are at the zoo. It is obvious to see at this point that not only is Harry living an extremely mundane life, but he is also being treated very poorly by his God-parentsand cousin. The only difference in Seger’s first point and the beginning of Harry Potter thoughis the first scene of the film.
In this scene, Dumbledore, who is the headmaster for Hogwarts Witchcraft and Wizardry, places infant Harry at the doorstep of his Aunt and Uncles house. While talking to Hagrid and Professor McGonagalat the doorstep, the viewers of the movie are already told of the significance that Harry has to the rest of the world in that he is “the boy that lived. ” The reason this differs from Seger’s hero myth analysis is because the viewer is already given the clue to Harry being a hero before seeing Harry’sliving arrangements as a normal boring life.
Even with that slight difference, Harry Potter already starts out completely in tune with Seger’s 10-point system. It is not until Harry and his family arrive at the zoo that Harry first starts to see signs of him being different or significant. His cousin was being mean to a snake for not moving and Harry apologizes for his cousin to the snake only to find out that the snake can hear Harry speak to him. Then shortly after, his cousin realizes that the snake is moving and runs over shoving Harry on the ground in order to get a closer look.
Angry and frustrated with his cousin, Harry accidently makesthe glass disappear, making his cousin fall into the snake pit and the snake escape to freedom, thanking Harry on the way out. It is at this point when Harry starts to have something new enter into his life whichis Seger’s second point. She says that in step 2, the hero has something new enter his/her life which startsthe beginning of the story. In Star Wars it was a holograph from Princess Leia. Harry has the combination of him speaking to the snake, making the glass disappear, as well as the telegram from Hogwarts as his new turn of events in his life.
Although Harry Potter directly connects to Seger’s 10-point analysis of creating a hero’s myth, there are some differences as well. One of which is in Seger’s third point that says the Hero is reluctant to leave their old boring life for the new adventurous life. In Star Wars Luke Skywalker is called to leave his old life twice but is not necessarily ready to go until he returns home and finds his aunt and uncle dead. At this time he almost has no other option but to accept the call to his new exiting but unknown future. This is not the case for Harry. As soon as Harry receives his telegram that states he is accepted into
Hogwarts, he is immediately ready to leave the “muggle” life with the Durselysand take on his new life of magic. There was no reluctant behavior from Harry, quite the contrary, Harry is full of big smiles and curiosity for what is to come. In all Hero myths, Seger argues that the hero always receives some kind of help from a person in the myth that guides and steers the hero in the right direction. In Star Wars, Luke has the help of Obi-Wan Kenobi in order to teach him the way of the force. Similarly, in Harry Potter, Harry gets the help from Hagrid who is one of the teachers at Hogwarts.
Hagrid helps show Harry where to go in order to get his books, where to find his money, as well as explain to him the ways of wizardry. While Hagrid is helping Harry get his money out of Gringotts Bank, Harry is able to see a secret transaction that Dumbledore asked Hagrid to do for him. This is the starting point of the “move into the special world” where Harry begins his transformation from ordinary to extraordinary. In Seger’s fifth point, she describes the hero being introduced to a “special world” where the hero will start to facethe obstacles he/she must overcome.
Luke from Star Wars has this happen to him by finding a pilot to take him to Princess Leia’s father so that Obi-Wan can deliver the plans that are essential for the survival of the Rebel forces. The combination of Harry seeing the secret transaction at Gringotts and him being introduced to his new school of magic is his move into his special world where he will face all of his obstacles and enemies that he must surpass in order to become the hero. In addition, Harry also find out that Voldemort killed his parents and that he has some sort of connection to him, made evident when Voldemort’s brother wand chooses Harry asit’s new owner.
All of these new facts and experiences set up the exiting plot that is to come for Harry. So far, all of Seger’s points have been leading up to the 6thpoint. In Seger’s 6th point, the hero begins all of the tests and obstacles that they must overcome in order to accomplish their goals. In Star Wars Luke had to get away from the Stormtroopers, evade the meteor shower, and evade being captured by the Death Starwhile rescuing the Princess and in doing so surviving a garbage crusher. Likewise, Harry also had many obstacles, tests, and enemies to defeat in order to develop into the character of a hero.
There are also many different aspects to Harry’scharacter that make the film so interesting. Harry not only has his obvious and hated enemy Voldemort that killed his parents, but he also has other smaller adversary characters that at times he must overcome in order to develop himself as a hero. The first test Harry must prevail in is when all of the first years are learning to ride a broom. One of his fellow students, Neville, falls and breaks his arm giving the students time alone with their brooms while the professor takes himto the hospital wing.
Her last words she left with the students was “Everyone is to keep both feet firmly on the ground while I take Mr. Longbottom to the hospital wing. If I see a single broom in the air, the one riding it will find themselves out of Hogwartsbefore they can say Quiddich. ” Then Harry’s rival classmate Draco Malfoy takes Neviles remembrum and provokes Harry to come and get it. Malfoy throws it as far as he can and Harry chases it down on the broom just before both him and the remembrumcrashes into the wall.
In doing so, he not only go the recognition from his classmates for his heroic act, but also was made Gryffindor’sseeker for Quiddich. Harry was the first seeker to be a first year student in a century, but later finds out that his father was also a seeker for Quiddich. Then, Harry happens to accidentally fall into his first obstacle. While he and Ron were looking for Hermione in the girls bathroom who was supposedly crying for hours by herself, the Troll that was on the loose walked into the girls bathroom right when they also arrived at the bathroom.
Harry and Ron rushed into the girlsbathroom and defeated the troll by Ron using the hovering spell correctly and making the troll’s wooden beater fall on his own head. Not only did Harry successfully aid in defeating the troll, but he also won points for Gryffindor due to “sheer dumb luck” as Professor McGonagall puts it. His next test and obstacle appears in Harry’sfirst Quiddich match verses Slytherin. As Harry is looking for the snitch, his broom all of a sudden starts to go wild and Harry has to cling to it, sometimes with just one arm, in order to survive.
Hermione comes to the rescue by lighting Professor Snape’s robe on fire, which in doing so makes Professor Quirrel loose eye contact with Harry and therefore not be able to continue the curses he was putting on Harry’sbroom. Harry is then able to swing back on his broom and continue his duties of a seeker in finding the golden snitch. Harry eventually sees the snitch, fights off the Slytherin seeker and stands on his broom to accidentally catch the snitch in his mouth as he falls. Harry stands up and makes vomiting gestures that leadseveryone in the audience to believe he is about o be sick. Next thing they know he is spitting out the golden snitch into his hand and Gryffindor wins the Quiddich match. Harry’s last set of tests and obstacles before the grand finale of the film comes when he is trying to catch who he believes is Snapedown the wooden hatch in the forbidden room. In order to do this, Harry and his assistants Ron and Hermione first have to get by Fluffy the three headeddog. Just as they are opening the wooden hatch, the three headed dog wakes up and all three students must jump quickly down the hatch, landing into what is called “Devils Snair”.
What Devils snairdoes is it grabs you all over with its rope like branches and squeezes you to death, unless you are able to relax enough to where it lets you go. The more you struggle, the faster you die. Both Harry and Hermione are able to relax enough to be dropped below but of course Ron is not able to do that. Hermione has to think hard about what defeats the Devils Snair and remembers that the Devil’s Snairhates sunlight. She shines light onto the area where Ron is and he safely falls to the ground as well. Next they come into a room where there are hundreds of keys with wings flying around the room.
In order to get through the next door, Harry has to get on a broom and flyrapidly around the small room to catch a key in order to unlock the door. He successfully does this and throws the key to Hermione who opens the door for herself, Ron, and Harry who flysthrough the door just in time to close the door before they were all thrashed with flying keys. The last obstacle before the grand finale of the film is a game of wizardschess. Ron, who is very good at chess, takes the leadership roll for this obstacle and gets to the point where he knows how to achieve“check mate” on the king.
In order to do that, he has to sacrifice himself so that Harry can check mate the King. Ron instructs his knight to check the King, making the queen come over and smash his knight into pieces causing Ron to get knocked out on the floor. Harry is then able to move into position to check mate the King and win the game. Seger was especially accurate in this 6thstep of character development for the hero. This step in the film is extremely important for both the audience watching the film, as well as Harry himself in order to gain confidence and realize his role as a leader and hero in the film.
Although Seger has been almost completely accurate in her analysis of creating a hero myth thus far, there are also certain ways in which her analysis did not concur with the film in Harry Potter. One of the most important realities in the film that Seger left out of her analysis is the constant help Harry gets in accomplishing his goals, obstacles, and tests throughout the film. There is not an obstacle that Harry achieves without either Ron, Hermione, his mom, or even Snapehelping him do so.
For example, is it not until the very end of the film that Harry finds out the reason for why he was able to defeat Professor Quarrel and in doing so Voldemort. Harry wakes up in the hospital bed and is confused about why he was able to turn Professor Quarrel into ash by merely touching him. Dumbledore tells him that the reason for why that happened was because his mother gave her life for Harry when she died which made a mark on him; this mark was love. This is just one example of the many times Harry would not of been able to defeat his enemy, obstacle, or test with out the help of someone else.
This is also very important because it tells the viewers a lot about the character. Although Harry is gifted with a certain skill-set, he is no extraordinary wizard by any means. This means that every time he takes the challenge he is being especially brave and valiant because he is never certain if he will actually make it through alive. Harry is never one to back down or say no to a challenge and it is this trait combined with his bravery that makes him the heroic character in the film. In Seger’s seventh point, she states that at some point in the story, the hero will face a life threatening or “rock bottom” experience.
Harry’slife threatening experience comes when he is facing Professor Quarrel and Voldemort at the end of the film. Voldemort commands the Professor to kill Harry, Harry tries to run away with the Sorcerer’s Stone but is stopped by a circle of fire. Then Professor Quarell takes Harry to the ground by the neck and starts to choke the life out of Harry’sbody. This is the climax of the film where both the viewers and Harry think that this could be the end. It is now when Harry finds it in himself to fight back and tries to grab the Professor’s hand off his neck. In doing so, his mother’s love for him makes the Professor’s hand turn into ash.
The Professor comes back to Harry a second time and Harry cleverly places both of his hands on the Professor’s face which makes his faceand the rest of his body turn to ash. It is this scene where Harry “seizes the sword” that can be accurately compared to Seger’s eighth point where she states the hero becoming in charge and taking possession of the treasure. Another way that Harry Potter differs from Seger’s 10-point analysis is in her ninth point, the chase scene. Seger’s ninth point states that the way back from the conflict is often a chase scene where the hero must overcome his enemieslast obstacles in order to be free and safe.
In Harry Potter, no such thing happens. As soon as Harry defeats Professor Quarrel, the spirit of Voldemort soars through Harry’sbody knocking him out on the ground. The next scene is of Harry waking up in the hospital wing surrounded by get well cards and candies from his friends. In order to make Seger’s 10-point analysis more accurate for Harry Potter, the ninth point could state that the hero is able to figure out some of the uncertainties they had during the eventful challenges they faced. This is exactly what happens to Harry when he wakes up in the Hospital wing. He wakes up to Dumbledore walking toward his bedside.
It is then that Dumbledore takes the time to answer all of Harry’s questions about what happened as well as reassure Harry that his frirendsRon and Hermione were okay. Although Seger’s ninth point is not accurately portrayed in Harry Potter, her tenth and final point definitely does. In her tenth point, the reader or viewer must see the hero changed or transformed, and in doing so prove to be the hero of the story. Also, there must be some sort of recognition of the hero’s accomplishments. In Harry Potter, his acknowledgment comes at the last feast at Hogwarts before all of the students go home for the summer.
At this last feast, Dumbledore tells the students which house wins the House Cup. In this years point system, Gryffindor is in 4th place, Hufflepuff in 3rd, Ravenclaw in 2nd, and Gryffindor’s rival Slytherinein first place. Then Dumbledore tells that recent events will also be taken in count. He gives 50 points to Hermione for her “cool use of intellect while others were in grave parel”, 50 points to Ron for“the best played game of chest that Hogwarts has seen in many years”, 60 points to Harry for “pure nerve and outstanding courage”, and finally 10 points to Neville for “being so brave as to stand up to his friends”.
This puts Gryffindor into first place above Slytherine, beating them by 10 points and winning the House Cup for the year. The entire dinning hall is then rearranged into Gryffindors’ colors and the feast begins. The music is full of triumphant violins and flutes that make this scene even more joyful. Seger then states that the hero returns and is “reintegrated into his society”. Although Harry does return, he does not get to integrate into society, but instead goes back home to the Durselyswhere he is not a ero at all, but is hated and despised by his Aunt and Uncle and Cousin. This is how J. K. Rowling was able to set up the next film by putting him in a place of innocence and ordinary surrounding once more where Harry will once again follow the 10-steps to becoming a hero all over again. It is no coincidence that most of the popular films today in some way correspond with Seger’s 10-point analysis for a hero myth. Humans love and long for the idea of heroism and therefore enjoy seeing at least a piece of it in every movie they see.
Although some films may not match up as accurately as Harry Potter does, they all have some way of connecting to what Seger was trying to say which in turn makes itappealing to the viewer. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry may not match up flawlessly to Seger’s example of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, but on the whole is remarkably close. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Dir. Chris Columbus. Perf. Daniel Radcliffe. Warner BROS. Pictures, 2001. Film. Seger, Linda. “Creating a Myth. ” Readings for Analytical Writing 2 (2008): 470-78. Print.
Cite this Hero Myth Film Analysis
Hero Myth Film Analysis. (2018, Feb 08). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/hero-myth-film-analysis/