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Mythology in Harry Potter

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Mythology in Harry Potter - Page Text Content

S: GLS 1200: Final Project

BC: JESSICA COTTLE UCO 1200

FC: European | EUROPEAN MYTH in HARRY POTTER

1: TABLE of CONTENTS | GIANTS................page 2 CERBERUS............page 4 SWORD................page 6 ELVES.................page 8 BASILISK.............page 10

2: The giants in Greek mythology came in two distinct forms. The first is that of giants with largely human proportions although they were known to have fiery personalities. The second is that of the massive giants that waged war on the gods. Some of the giants, like Briareus, had a hundred arms; others, like Typhon, breathed fire. The gods ultimately won the war and the giants became a cursed and feared species, much like those in Harry Potter. | The giants are often seen as the enemy force in Norse mythology. Loki, the trickster god, is of giant descent and is one of the few giants allowed in the company of the gods. The other giants live in Jotenheim, secluded from humans and gods. This is similar to that of the Harry Potter universe in that the giants did not typically interact with the magical community or the muggles. The giants themselves are comprised of 3 groups: frost giants (one of which, Ymir, helped create the Earth), fire giants, and Earth giants.

3: Giants are first mentioned in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone;" however, our first real look at the attitudes surrounding giants was seen in the book "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" when Rita Skeeter publishes an article claiming Hagrid is half-giant. This article almost ruins Hagrid's career because giants are a feared race (they are often described as barbaric). | The bottom and to the right: GRAWP Hagrid's Half-brother

4: In Greek mythology, Cerberus was a three headed dog that guarded the entrance to Hell. He welcomed people attempting to enter the underworld; however, he would viciously attack those who tried to leave (Davis 209). The most well-known story involving Cerberus was that of Heracles and the 12 labors. The last of these labors involved Heracles stealing Cerberus from the land of the dead. There are different versions regarding how this task was accomplished, one of which involves Heracles taming the beast by playing music.

5: "Fluffy" as Hagrid so kindly named him, was first seen in the book "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Fluffy was the first obstacle in a series of many that protected the Sorcerer's stone. | Fluffy has three heads, each resembling a rabid dog. In order to pass the creature, Hermione, Harry, and Ron play music in order to get the beast to fall asleep.

6: The legend of Excalibur is often mistaken for the legend of The Sword in the Stone. Both swords belong to Arthur; however, Arthur receives Excalibur after the Sword in the Stone breaks. The Sword in the Stone is the most well-known of Arthurian tales. Arthur is the son of the late king Uther. Uther died before selecting an heir and so his most trusted adviser, Merlin, a wizard, magically places the sword in stone and enchants it such that the sword can only be dislodged by the true heir to the throne of England. Arthur is the only man capable of obtaining the sword which he does unsuspectingly. Later in life, Arthur breaks the sword and the powerful Lady of the Lake forges him Excalibur. The sword is magic (presumably made by elves). The sword and scabbard are enchanted: the scabbard protects the owner from being mortally injured while the sword itself is unbreakable. | Like Excalibur, the Sword of Gryffindor appears to have magical attributes. The Sword of Gryffindor takes in whatever makes it stronger, essentially making the sword unbreakable. This is how the sword managed to absorb the Basilisk venom which made the sword capable of destroying horcruxes.

7: The sword is said to appear to when any "true" Gryffindor is in need of its services. The sword has appeared to both Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom over the course of the series. | The sword was forged by magical creatures named globins for Godric Gryffindor centuries before the story line of Harry Potter. The sword is described as being silver and having a massive ruby on the tip of its handle.

8: The elves of Norse Mythology are divided into 2 groups: light elves and dark or black elves. The light elves are beautiful creatures, said to look like human children and a kind disposition. They have the honor of living Alfheim with the god Freyr. | The dark elves are of a dirty-brown color and are described as ugly and long-nosed. They are not usually seen by mankind and come out only at night. They are known for their skills in metal-working and their ability to forge spectacular devices. They also known for having knowledge of history. These elves are the most similar of Norse elves to the elves in Harry Potter as they are often not seen and perform menial labor.

9: House elves have an undying loyalty to their masters and exclusively comply to the will of said person; however, when a house elf feels mistreated or does not like his master, he will bend given orders such that he does the minimum amount of work necessary. This is the case with Kreacher (seen right). | House elves are first introduced in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" when Dobby introduces himself to Harry at his home. Dobby was under the service of the Malfoy family and was freed when Harry tricks Lucius Malfoy, Dobby's owner, into giving Dobby a sock. House elves are essentially the servants of the wizarding community and can only be freed upon their master giving them clothes.

10: The term "basilisk" is Greek in origin meaning "king," used to reference the fact that the basilisk is the king of serpents. The basilisk is born by placing an egg of a cock hatched under a toad. The ancient Naturalist Pliny describes the basilisk such that he could kill a being with a glance. The only natural enemies of the basilisk are weasels and roosters. It is also said that in some versions of the myth, basilisks could be slain by using a mirror to reflect its gaze on itself, thereby saving not only oneself but killing the beast as well. | The basilisk is described as having the crown of a rooster on its head, constituting its royalty. This is absent in the Harry Potter interpretation.

11: "...for aside from its deadly and venomous fangs, the Basilisk has a murderous stare, and all who are fixed with the beam of its eye shall suffer instant death" -"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" | In the books, Hermione avoids being killed by the Basilisk by using a mirror to look around corners. By reading books in the library she discovered that if one does not look directly into the creature's eyes, you will not die.

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  • By: Jessica C.
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  • Title: Mythology in Harry Potter
  • UCO 1200 final project
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  • Published: over 4 years ago

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