Harry Potter: The Archetypal Hero

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13 Responses to “Harry Potter: The Archetypal Hero”


  • I never thought about how much J.K. Rowling truly played on archetypes to evoke our sympathy and love for the 11 year old boy who lived in the cupboard under the stairs. The Potter books tell the incredible story of a boy who was thrust into a world that he didn’t even know existed just to be met with terrifying obstacles that he managed to overcome with the help his friends and his own passion for good. Harry Potter is absolutely a hero.

  • Although I recognized the underdog factor in the Harry Potter series, I have never thought about how the use of archetypes in this series made it so popular. Looking back, there are definitely a huge number of both archetypal characters and conflicts. I think this is what made this otherwise fairly simple children’s series an international icon. By exploiting a wealth of archetypes subtly, JK Rowling made her story relatable without seeming cheesy or repetitive. In a way, Rowling is as much a hero as her characters, because she was able to so effectively write their story.

  • This archetype thing seem so obvious now but I never picked up on it while reading the series. This provides some insight as to why it got popular so quickly and became apart of our popular culture.

  • Although I idolized the literary version of the character, the Harry Potter that I saw on film was never a hero to me. Daniel Radcliffe is a weird-looking kid who won the lottery by being chosen to play the role of Harry Potter (who is another kid who wins the lottery by being told he gets to be a wizard at the coolest wizardry school ever). That is like winning the lottery twice and that sort of anomaly is just too ridiculous for this wizard-enthusiast. And also, there is just something that is so off-putting about Radcliffe. And the fact that he never has to work another day in his life is bothersome.

  • “He was described as "small and skinny for his age" with "a thin face" and "knobbly knees".” This is why I like Harry Potter. He’s me. :D

    But this is truly the secret of Harry Potter’s success, that Rowling was able to make these archetypes seem fresh. Another classic theme that she used was destiny; events that occurred before Harry’s birth determined the shape of his life.

    And the essence of it really is that choice between doing what is right and what is easy. The hard choice is what makes the hero. As the saying goes, if it was easy anybody could do it. ;)

  • I can’t help it, i grew up watchig Harry Potter and ama true fan. I have all of the movies and my brother and dad have read every single book. The underdog theme that is presented in every movie is inspirational and interesting. It is interesting because the viewer always wants to see the final outcome, so one is forced to watch every single movie.

  • Harry Potter is a hero because he fights for what is right. At the end of the last book, Harry Potter is willing to die for the betterment of the entire wizard world. Harry Potter is willing to be a martyr for what is right and to defeat evil forever and that is why Harry Potter is worthy of being characterized as a hero.

  • The Potter saga truly contains lots of archetypes. ROWLING seems to have done extensive reading on Jung and Campbell — for more info also read Northrop Frye.

  • Harry Potter is a hero that people fell in love with. His life began much like that of Batman. His parents brutally murdered in front of him although he was too young at the time to realize it. with the scar on his forehead he was constantly in touch with his inner dark side, fighting right from wrong. Who he would soon learn to be his “other half” would be who he would fight through the duration of the series. what makes harry a hero his is never ending fight to do the right thing!

  • Harry was and remains our childhood hero because he was everything about us in the extreme: an orphaned child struggling with identity and change, desiring to feel special and loved. And one night his prayers are answered. “You’re a wizard, Harry.” All of us on some level wish a Hagrid would appear in the middle of the night with a sloppy cake to whisk us away to a land where we become an instantaneous hero. While Harry experiences such magical things in the land of Hogwarts, his experiences remain so life-like. Spanning seven books, Rowling was able to take us on Harry’s change as we also grew, waiting for each successive book. It may have been just a story of a boy, but it was real for us.

  • Harry Potter is not a hero that would immediately come to mind as my personal hero, but after reading this blog, I am realizing that I do view him as a hero of mine. He has left a huge mark on so many people, and the Harry Potter series will live on for a long time into the future. My generation has really grown up with Harry Potter has his character as grown up, and all that he has experienced, we have experienced with him. It is sad that the era of new books and movies has come to a close, but we will always have them to enjoy, and for our children to enjoy.

  • Although I personally have never been a Harry Potter fanatic, many of my friends were…and are. I find it truly inspiring how Harry overcame a horrific childhood, suffering the loss of both of his parents and then dealing with a terrible living situation with his relatives. I think that Harry Potter, despite being a work of fiction, is a very inspiring character for people of all ages.

  • I am a huge Harry Potter fan and definitely consider him one of my personal heroes. I think one of the reasons the series is so popular is because Harry is such a relatable character. Children, teens, and adults everywhere can relate to his heroic journey on some level because we see him make his best friends, battle his inner and outer obstacles, find his first love, and grow from his mistakes.

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