24 January 2018
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone
Magical events in Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone perceive the reader that the novel is a Heroic Quest Cycle since the stages of the Quest Cycle match the events of the novel. Starting from the ordinary world to the special world, the novel contains the key stages of the Heroic Quest Cycle which are the First Threshold, the Call to the Adventure, and the Supreme Ordeal. Considering all these key stages of the Heroic Quest Cycle, Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone is a Heroic Quest Cycle.
After the encouragement from the wise old man/woman, the hero is off on an adventure, and he has to pass the first threshold. This is where the adventure really starts. The hero leaves behind their known world and enters into the unknown. The hero cannot go back to his/her ordinary world at this point. In the novel, Harry crosses the Threshold when he goes to Diagon Alley with Hagrid to purchase school supplies. Harry leaves behind the Muggle world and enters the magical one for the first time. For example, when Harry enters the magic world, he describes the entrance as: “The brick he had touched quivered-it wriggled-in the middle…they were facing an archway large enough even for Hagrid, an archway onto a cobbled street which twisted and turned out of sight.” (Rowling 76) At Harry’s amazement Hagrid tells him, “‘Welcome,’ said Hagrid, ‘to Diagon Alley.'” (Rowling 76) From this point, Diagon Alley let Harry get used to this new environment without worrying about the frightening, scarier stuff that’s on its way. This concludes that the First Threshold is in the novel and the evidence is clear. Harry experiences the special world and makes him ready for more special things on its way.
The Call to Adventure is an important part where the Hero’s adventure starts. This part is where the hero is invited on an adventure. He/she is given a chance to travel into the unknown to gain something. At first, the hero is reluctant and refuses the call. In the novel, Harry was called to an adventure when Hagrid arrives and Harry finally gets to read his letter. He learns that he is a wizard and that he has been invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. For example, Hagrid tells him: “‘Harry – yer a wizard.'” (Rowling 55) At first, Harry refuses the call out of disbelief. He tells Hagrid, “‘I think you have made a mistake. I don’t think I can be a Wizard.'”(Rowling 62) This explains that the Call to the Adventure is clearly in the novel. The hero realizes who he is and receives a quest to go on an adventure.
The final and climax point in the novel based on the Heroic Quest Cycle is the Supreme Ordeal. This point is where the hero has to face their greatest fear alone. In the novel, after Ron’s sacrifices himself to win the game of wizard’s chess, Harry tells Hermione to take Ron back to the hospital wing. He goes on to face the Dark Lord, Voldemort alone. Harry is tested both physically; with the fire and the wrath and morally; Voldemort tells him he can bring Harry’s loved ones back to life. Harry describes Voldemort’s appearance as: “Where there should have been a back to Quirrell’s head, there was a face, the most terrible face Harry had ever seen. It was chalk white with glaring red eyes and slits for nostrils, like a snake.” (Rowling 315) Then, Voldemort torments Harry mentally:
‘I always value bravery … Yes, boy, your parents were brave … I killed your father first and he put up a courageous fight … but your mother needn’t have died… she was trying to protect you … Now give me the Stone, unless you want her to have died in vain.’ (Rowling 316)
Harry tries to run away but Quirrell catches him. With Harry’s power, he banishes Voldemort: “Harry jumped to his feet, caught Quirrell by the arm and hung on as tight as he could. Quirrell screamed and tried to throw Harry off….” (Rowling 317) The actions in the novel support the fact that there is the Supreme Ordeal. Harry endures the danger along with the possibilities of death, and he defeats the Dark Lord. In conclusion, the Supreme Ordeal is in the context as it contains the stages of the Heroic Quest Cycle.
In summation, Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone is a Heroic Quest Cycle, regarding the First Threshold, the Call to the Adventure, and the Supreme Ordeal from the stages of Heroic Quest Cycle. Considering all the evidence, the novel is clearly a Heroic Quest cycle.
Rowling, Joanne Kathleen. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Bloomsbury, 2014.