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Potter Time line 1990: The idea for Harry Potter is born. 1995: The first book is completed and rejected by several publishers. J.K. Rowling is warned that she will never make any real money by writing children's books. 1997: Philosopher's Stone is published in England. http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/childrenandteens/story/0,,1838086,00.html
Potter Time line 1998: Chamber of Secrets is published in England and becomes an instant best seller. Philosopher's Stone is published in America under the name Sorcerer's Stone . 2003: Harry Potter has become so pervasive that “muggle” is added to the Oxford English Dictionary . http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/childrenandteens/story/0,,1838086,00.html
Meanwhile, publishers are asked to set release dates for Potter novels for weekends so as to avoid causing massive school truancies, The New York Times declares children's books ineligible for its best seller list, and Harry Potter takes the #1 slot in the most frequently banned books of the 21 st century list.
300 million Harry Potter books (and counting) have now been sold worldwide in at least 47 languages. http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/childrenandteens/story/0,,1838086,00.html
The Epic http://www.warnerbros.co.uk/movies/troy/img/troy_main.jpg Like the ancient epics (Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, Gilgamesh, Beowulf), Harry Potter has a little something for everyone—danger, romance, moral lessons, and most of all the kind of intense suspense that comes from knowing that the fate of the world rests on the hero's shoulders.
The Fantasy http://www.acton.org/images/blog/narnia.jpg As a kind of epic fairy tale, fantasy novels place ordinary people in extraordinary situations-- like the magical worlds of Narnia, Oz, Neverland, or Hogwarts.
The Mystery Who is R.A.B.? Is Snape good or bad? Is Dumbledore really dead? What's the last horcrux? Will Harry and his best friends survive? Will there ever be an eighth book? http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/38673000/jpg/_38673687_sherlockholmes300.jpg Mysteries offer readers a chance to test their problem solving skills along with the hero. Series mysteries, like Harry Potter, give readers a way to bond with one another by discussing clues and anticipating outcomes between books.
The Hero http://starwarsmaniatic.webcindario.com/Luke%20Skywalker.jpg Like the epic heroes before him, Harry was born to be bold. He gets out of many tight spots through a combination of bravery, intelligence, and skill. It doesn't hurt that he also inspires great loyalty in his friends and supporters.
The Orphan Harry is among the ranks of Cinderella, Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, Frodo, and Luke Skywalker as one of the most famous orphans of literature. http://images.amazon.com/images/G/01/dvd/cinderella-godmother-large.jpg
The Mentor http://hometown.aol.com/shaggy9872004/images/harry%20and%20dumbledore.jpg When Odysseus leaves for Troy, he asks his friend Mentor to look after his infant son. Thus, we get the word for the kind and wise older friend who advises the hero throughout his (or her) adventures.
The Villain http://www.harrypotterforseekers.com/images/sym_voldemort.jpg http://hpmovie.variety.ru/photo_archive/voldemort.jpg Beowulf has Grendel, Luke has Darth Vader, Batman has Joker, and Harry has Voldemort. How would we know who our heroes are without the villains?
The Journey http://www.road-to-the-isles.org.uk/westword/hogwart2.jpg Like Odysseus, Aeneas, Frodo, Dorothy, and many other heroes, Harry's adventures always begin and end with a journey.
The Quest http://www.palettesofvision.com/Angels/index1.html Perhaps the most famous in all of literature (and of history) is the quest for the holy grail. In Half Blood Prince , Harry finally gets his quest. The one thing we do know about book seven is that Harry will be spending his time searching for and attempting to destroy Voldemort's horcruxes.
The Task http://thecia.com.au/reviews/h/images/harry-potter-and-the-goblet-of-fire-6.jpg Like the labors of Hercules, Harry Potter is given a series of tasks he must complete in both Sorcerer's Stone and Goblet of Fire .
The Ultimate Battle of Good and Evil http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/images/BB/Dorww1.jpg Reminiscent of the Biblical teaching that there will be a final show-down between good and evil in which good ultimately prevails, many epics conclude with a great battle—the final test of the hero's strength and skill.
The Lightening Scar Harry's Scar is Lightening-Shaped, The Symbol of Zeus, King of the Olympian Gods http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/tv_film/newsid_1660000/1660878.stm http://olympus.het.brown.edu/~danieldf/photos/figs/zeus/zeus.gif
Fluffy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Cerberus-Blake.jpeg Fluffy, the three-headed dog used to guard the Sorcerer's Stone is remarkably similar to Cerberus, the dog that guards the gates of Hades in Greek mythology. http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/tv_film/newsid_1660000/1660878.stm
Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom http://us.st11.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.com/I/anempires_1895_38295297 And Harry Potter's Teacher http://images.hollywood.com/images/large/l_1684397.jpg
Hermes, the Messenger http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/mythology/images/mercury_art_archive.html http://it.geocities.com/tonibin/owl/owl.png In Greek mythology, Hermes is the messenger of the gods. Percy Weasley's owl Hermes, like other owls in Harry Potter, acts as a messenger, delivering the mail. Owls have long been associated with wisdom, and the owl is the symbol of Athena (or Minerva), goddess of wisdom. The owl's ability to see at night was thought in ancient times to be a magical quality.
Argus, The All-Seeing http://www.theoi.com/Gallery/M22.2.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argus_Filch Argus, the watchman of Hera, had 100 eyes, some of which where always awake. Hogwarts students see their caretaker, Argus Filch, as having much the same characteristic.
Mrs. Norris http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argus_Filch Mrs. Norris, the cat, is the namesake of the very nosy and interfering Mrs. Norris of Jane Austin's Mansfield Park .
The Sphinx http://www.molon.de/galleries/Egypt/Pyramids/img.php?pic=26
Gryffindor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Gryphon.gif http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gryffindor The griffin is a mythological creature with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle. Gryffindor comes from the French “gryffon d'or,” meaning “golden griffin.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Harry_Potter_and_the_Order_of_the_Phoenix.jpg Fawkes Dumbledore's bird Fawkes is a phoenix. In Egyptian mythology, the phoenix would rise reborn from its own ashes at the end of a life cycle. Is it only a coincidence that the phoenix is connected with Dumbledore?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:The_potters_hp.JPG http://www.skyenergyportal.com/le-christ/unLysBis.asp?P=8 Lily Potter The lily is often used to symbolize Christ. Lily Potter, Harry's mother, sacrifices her own life to save Harry's and, in doing so, teaches the world that love is the greatest magic of all.
http://img.search.com/6/62/300px-Remus_lupin_hppoa.jpg http://www.reijnhoudt.nl/zeus/wolvin02.jpg Remus Lupin Remus and his twin brother Romulus (the legendary founder of Rome) were said to have been raised by wolves. Lupin is a play on the word “lupus,” Latin for wolf. Remus Lupin is a werewolf.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:William_Fettes_Douglas_-_The_Alchemist.jpg Nicholas Flamel Nicholas Flamel was a 15 th century alchemist. Legend says he succeeded in creating the Philosopher's Stone, the goal of alchemy since ancient times. The Philosopher's Stone could be used to turn metal into gold and to create an elixir to cure disease and to prolong life. Alchemy was a precursor to both modern mysticism and modern science.
http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/bios/hermione_full.html Hermione Granger In Greek mythology, Hermione is the daughter of Helen and Menelaus. Rowling, however, borrowed the name from Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale in which Queen Hermione comes to life again after being made into a statue—like Hermione Granger in Chamber of Secrets . Granger is the name of a character from Fahrenheit 451 —the leader of “The Book People.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:HarryPotterGOFPoster-SiriusBlackWanted.jpeg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Position_Alpha_Cma.png Sirius Black Sirius, the star system, is said to have been placed in the sky at the feet of Orion because in Greek Mythology Sirius was the faithful dog of Orion. Sirius mourned Orion's death so profusely that Diana took pity on him and sent him to be with Orion in the heavens. Sirius Black is the son of Orion Black and, in his animal form, is a dog.
Gryffindor's Sword http://www.uniquities.co.uk/acatalog/nn7198.jpg Harry Potter pulls Gryffindor's sword out of the sorting hat like another famous boy who pulls another famous sword out of a stone.
Sibyll Trelawney http://www.freeyourmind.fi/toimittajat/orolma/2004/kuvat/leffa_040804_harrypotterazkaban02.jpg Sibyls in ancient mythology were prophets. Cassandra—the great-great- grandmother of Sibyll Trelawney— is named for a woman in Greek mythology who was cursed to always prophecy the truth while never being believed.
The Malfoys http://www.mandys-web.de/images/Potter/malfoy.jpg The family name of the people Potter fans love to hate means “ bad faith” in French. Draco means “dragon” in Latin and was the name a Greek ruler from whom we get the work “draconian” for terribly harsh punishments. Lucius is similar to Lucifer. Narcissa comes from Narcissus, the man in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection. Every good Potter fan knows, however, that the real narcissist of the series is Gilderoy Lockhart.
Centaurs http://www.centaursite.com/hp/ronanbook.jpg In Greek mythology, centaurs are half man and half horse. The centaur Firenze befriends Dumbledore and becomes a teacher to Harry Potter in the same way that the centaur Chiron—a noted astrologer— tutored many of the great heroes of Greece, including Ajax, Achilles, Hercules, and Jason.
Basilisk http://webhome.idirect.com/~donlong/monsters/IMAGES/Basili.gif http://free-ten.com/category/animal/kuu/images/other/print/basilisk.jpg The legendary king of the serpents, the basilisk makes an appearance in Chaucer's “ Parson's Tale.” Sometimes depected as looking more snake-like and other times more rooster-like, some stories of the basilisk say it originated from the blood of Medusa, who could also kill with a look. Hermione uses a mirror to avoid the direct gaze of the basilisk in imitation of Perseus who defeated Medusa with a mirror. http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/caravaggio/medusa.jpg
Grindylows http://ewancient.lysator.liu.se/pic/fanq/m/a/mardibyrd3/grindylow_finished_small.jpg The grindylow is a water demon from English folklore, often used to scare children away from water. The word also sounds similar to Grendel, and some people believe Harry's encounter with the grindylows in the fourth book is an allusion to Beowulf .
Hippogriffs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Hyppogryphe.png A mythological cross between a griffin and a horse, hippogriffs have been mentioned by the likes of Virgil and Cervantes. In the Middle Ages, there was a saying, “when griffins mate with mares,” that meant something like the modern day saying, “when pigs fly.”
For the fear of death is indeed the pretense of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being a pretense of knowing the unknown; and no one knows whether death, which men in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. ~Plato, “The Apology of Socrates”
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will ever be to know and understand. ~Albert Einstein
My fingers are crossed for Harry. ~John Irving
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