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Essay: The Mother Archetype, Part I

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In Female Archetypes in Harry Potter, Parts IandII, the many Maiden, Mother, Crone trios in the Harry Potter books were explored, as well as many characters who specifically align with the Maiden archetype, which rules the second book in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Now it’s the Mother’s turn. Many Mother goddesses were worshiped in ancient Greece: the goddess Demeter, Persephone’s mother, mourns her daughter going to Hades and causes all vegetation to die. Zeus’s consort, Hera, watches over women in labor. And the mother goddesses Rhea and Gaia, which is a word often used now for “mother earth”, are quite ancient. Each of these goddesses are known as “The Great Mother.” The spirit of the Great Mother also rules over the third book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which is permeated by this archetype from beginning to end. Hermione Granger is almost always depicted in the Harry Potter books as a motherly person; the one near-e…

Episode 16: The Seeker

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What links Neville’s Remembrall, the Prophecy Ball, and Snitches? How does Harry play a metaphorical match against Ravenclaw in the first book? And does Harry make a real prediction during his Divination final?

Episode 16: The Seeker

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Essay: Female Archetypes in Harry Potter, Part II

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The previous Quantum Harry blog post (Female Archetypes in Harry Potter, Part I) examined the Maiden/Mother/Crone trio of Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood, as well as a variety of trios in Greek mythology and the many ways in which Ginny embodies the archetype of the Maiden. Another Maiden/Mother/Crone trio in Harry’s life are the girls we know about in his year in Gryffindor: Parvati, Hermione, and Lavender. “Parvati” is the name of an Indian goddess who is the epitome of the Maiden. The beautiful, nubile Parvati fasts and tortures herself, faithful for years to the god Shiva until her faithfulness is rewarded and she becomes his consort.  Parvati Patil is the first girl who goes out with Harry; she’s his partner at the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire. As Harry enters into a frightening new world, dating, he’s accompanied by a representative of the Maiden. JK Rowling had Parvati and Ginny follow precisely the same pattern in the Yule Ball episode of the fourth book. In th…

Essay: Female Archetypes in Harry Potter, Part I

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A prominent trio of female characters in the Harry Potter books—Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood—can be seen as the archetypes of the Maiden, Mother and Crone. But they aren’t the only characters that fit these archetypes. They are also not the only group of three characters who comprise a trio of the three female archetypes. This isn’t to suggest that this was the author’s intent; each reader can decide whether they think JK Rowling wanted us to see these archetypal trios, she did it unconsciously, or they crept into her work despite her best intentions. According to Joseph Campbell: Woman, in the picture language of mythology, represents the totality of what can be known.... As [the hero]...progresses in the slow initiation which is life, the form of the goddess undergoes for him a series of transfigurations.... She lures, she guides, she bids him burst his fetters.  And if he can match her import, the two, the knower and the known, will be released from every limita…

Episode 15: Prisoner of Quidditch

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is shaped by Quidditch, but what games propel the plot at the beginning of the book? And why do students camp in the Great Hall when Sirius Black might be in the castle?

Episode 15: Prisoner of Quidditch

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Essay: The Wise Old Man Archetype

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JK Rowling makes extensive use of doppelgangers in the Harry Potter books and Albus Dumbledore is one of Ron Weasley’s. They have many things in common and often play similar roles in Harry’s life. From the start Ron guides Harry into the wizarding world; he offers folk-wisdom, which is usually the role of an older member of the community: the Wise Old Man. In the first book, when Harry is on the Hogwarts Express, Dumbledore is invoked when Harry finds his Famous Wizard Card in a Chocolate Frog package. In Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, there’s a passage that is perfect to apply to the Harry Potter series. Campbell writes about: ...the Wise Old Man of the myths and fairy tales whose words assist the hero through the trials and terrors of the weird adventures. He is the one who appears and points to the magic shining sword that will kill the dragon-terror...applies healing balm to the almost-fatal wounds, and finally dismisses the conqueror, back into...the world...[Jo…