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FROM HERCULES TO HARRY POTTER: Mythology in Film Summer, 2010 Nissa Hales

Table of Contents

• What is Myth?

• Myth and Truth • The Cauldron of Story • The Three Faces of Myth • Archetypes & The Hero’s Journey • Mythical Elements from… • Harry Potter & the Goblet of

• • • •

Fire Mulan The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings The Golden Compass Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

From Hercules to Harry Potter


WHAT IS MYTH? A traditional story about heroes or supernatural beings, often explaining the origins of a natural phenomena or aspects of human behavior (Dickerson & O’Hara).

Myths are… WHO?: Constant among all humans in all times. WHAT?: The ―glue‖ that holds societies together; basis for morality, government, & national identity WHEN?: The thread that holds past, present, & future together. WHY?: Essential ingredient in all codes of conduct; patterns of beliefs that give meaning to life. (Bierlein, p. 5)


Myth is part of a broader body of literature, with fantasy & fairy tales, called Fäerie Fay-ry - the realm of the Fay (a broad range of creatures, not just fairies: elves, dwarves, goblins, etc.) (Tolkien).

Fairies, Goblins and Dwarfs by Howard David Johnson, 2007

What is Myth? (cont.) Fäerie is a broad continuum, with myth on one side and fairy tales on the other, and heroic tales and fantasy falling somewhere in between (Dickerson & O’Hara, pp. 26 – 28). Fäerie Geography Historical Scope Significance Character Type Meaning


Heroic Legend & Fantasy

Fairy Tales

What is Myth? (cont.) F채erie


Heroic Legend & Fantasy

Fairy Tales


whole worlds or other worlds

a kingdom or realm

a single cottage, village, or wood

Historical Scope

timeless; may span centuries

Span a few months to a few years

in a mater of a few days


affect the whole history of the world

whole kingdoms are affected; large cast of characters

affects one to a handful of characters

Character Type



Everyday people


Endless re-readings; can be understood on many levels


Moral or easily grasped theme


Fairy Tale

From Hercules to Harry Potter

MYTH AND TRUTH Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy by Franรงois Lemoyne, 1737

MYTH AND TRUTH The word myth has come to speech, or logos = an account mean a story which is untrue. through reason ―Myth may be true. Any myth  Later, both came to mean "an that has survived centuries account or story" or an certainly contains truth. However, account of what was true myth and history are not at odds,  Later, muthos - an account nor are myth and truth.‖ through story; logos - an account through reason  Plato's time – fictionalized account; muthoi - philosophical ideas (K. C. Davis, p. 11; Dickerson & O’Hara, pp. 30 - 32)

 Muthos (Greek) = word or If you believe in fairies, clap your hands!

MYTH AND TRUTH (CONT.) ―The truth of myth does not depend on history or language. The truth of myth stands beyond history, enters history, and informs history.‖

 Realistic fiction contains truth about

human nature, the nature of God or gods, love, or the absolute corrupting power of the one Ring.  Myth holds an objective truth that is

independent of any time, place, or culture.  The truth of myth or fairy tales is

through self recognition.  Myth reaches people in general;

universal and transcends culture.  Myth is how we comprehend our

own experience. (Bierlein, p. 5; Dickerson & O’Hara, pp. 35 – 36; Neal, pp. 14 - 15) Harry Potter – The Mirror of Erised, Mary GrandPre

From Hercules to Harry Potter


The Cauldron of Story (Tolkien) Story is a soup containing bones Soup = story Bones = ―its sources and material‖

Ladle = author Cauldron = massive kettle containing all of Story ever been told Ingredients = history, myths, legends, fairy tales The pot has ―always been boiling, and to it have continually been added new bits,‖ savory or unsavory

Author serves up their story

From Hercules to Harry Potter


THREE FACES OF MYTH AND FÄERIE (TOLKIEN) Three elements of reality: natural, supernatural, and man (Dickerson & O’Hara, p. 42)


Mythical toward the supernatural  A world of angels & demons & a supreme being  Fairy tales depend on the supernatural  Supernatural remain in the background  Viewed with a sense of mystery & awe


Magical toward Nature (Dickerson & O’Hara, p. 43)

 Most important in the

definition of myth  Nature is magical (Trees can move, speak, defend themselves, get angry)  Does not deny science but it does deny that science is the only way to understand nature

Treebeard and the Hobbits by Per Sjogren, 2003


The mirror of scorn and pity (mercy) towards man (Dickerson & O’Hara, pp. 48 – 49)

 Sorrow & the desire to see restoration (e.g., Gandalf to Frodo re:

Gollum, ―It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand.‖)  We pity ourselves as a race  We pity ourselves as individuals  We feel regret and remorse for our own actions  We feel sympathy for the perpetrators as well as the victims  We hope for redemption & justice (e.g., Frodo must hope Gollum can

be Smeagol; Luke must have faith Vader can be Anakin again)

From Hercules to Harry Potter

ARCHETYPES & THE HERO’S JOURNEY The Legend of Susanuo by Howard David Johnson

Archetypes Carl Jung :  Swiss psychiatrist & student of

Freud  Theorized there was a connection

between the psychology of people & to universal cultural patters & symbols  A number of symbols, themes, &

character-types existed in all cultures  Found throughout religion, myths,

art, and folklore. (Smith & Brown, 85 - 87)


Character Archetypes

Situational Archetypes

 Hero

 Quest

 Scapegoat

 Initiation

 Outcast

 Fall

 Devil Figure

 Death and Rebirth

Archetypal Symbols  Lightness/Darkness

 Water/Desert  Heaven/Hell

The Hero’s Journey Joseph Campbell :  Scholar & world traveler  Read & analyzed myths from

around the world for 5 yrs. straight  Theorized myths from all across

the globe, having survived thousands of years, all have the same basic structure. (Monomyth)  The Hero’s Journey is one of the

reoccurring patterns • Three Phases with 17 steps • Not every myth contains all the steps • Phases: Departure, Initiation, and Return (Smith & Brown, p. 91)

THE HERO’S JOURNEY: DEPARTURE 1. The Call to Adventure - the point in a person's life when they are first given notice that everything is going to change, whether they know it or not.

(Warren, et al. from Campbell)


The Herald ď‚„The Herald character issues challenges and announces the coming of significant change

(Campbell, p. 42)


2. Refusal of the Call - Often when the call is given, the future hero refuses to heed it. Reasons:  sense of duty or obligation  fear  insecurity  a sense of inadequacy  anything to hold the person in his or her current circumstances

(Warren, et al. from Campbell)

THE HERO’S JOURNEY: DEPARTURE 3. Supernatural Aid  Once the hero has committed to the quest, his or her guide & magical helper appears, or becomes known

(Warren, et al. from Campbell)


The Master of Jordan College gives Lyra the alethiometer before she leaves Oxford with Mrs. Coulter.

(Campbell, p. 59)

The Mentor ď‚„The Mentor is a helper who aids the Hero in seeking a guiding vision to help him/her on the journey

THE HERO’S JOURNEY: DEPARTURE 4. Crossing the First Threshold  the person crosses into the field of adventure  leaves the known limits of his or her world & ventures into an unknown & dangerous realm where the rules & limits are not known.

(Warren, et al. from Campbell)


General Li Shang

(Campbell, p. 64)

The Threshold Guardian ď‚„Threshold Guardians protect the Special World and its secrets from the Hero, and provide essential tests to prove a Hero's commitment and worth

THE HERO’S JOURNEY: DEPARTURE 5. The Belly of the Whale  Final separation from the hero's

known world & self  Person's lowest point?  The person is transitioning

between worlds & selves  Experiences that will shape the

new world & self will begin shortly  Often symbolized by something

dark, unknown, & frightening  By entering this stage, the

person shows their willingness to undergo change (Warren, et al. from Campbell)

THE HERO’S JOURNEY: INITIATION 1. The Road of Trials  A series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin

the transformation.  Often the person fails one or more of these tests, which often occur in


(Warren, et al. from Campbell)

AMULETS Amulets, Advice, & Secret Agents ď‚„ The hero is aided by the advice, amulets, and secret agents of the Mentor, whom he or she met before his or her entrance into this region.

(Campbell, p. 81)


The Shapeshifter ď‚„The Shapeshifter's mask misleads the Hero by hiding a character's intentions and loyalties

(Neal, p. 85)

THE HERO’S JOURNEY: INITIATION 2. The Meeting with the Goddess  The person experiences love

 All-powerful, all encompassing,

unconditional; love that a baby experiences with his or her mother.  May take place entirely within

the person  Very important step in the

process  Does not have to be

represented by a woman.

(Warren, et al. from Campbell)

ARCHETYPE The Trickster ď‚„Tricksters relish the disruption of the status quo, turning the Ordinary World into chaos with their quick turns of phrase & physical antics

THE HERO’S JOURNEY: INITIATION 3. Woman as the Temptress  Temptations that may lead the hero to abandon or stray from his or her quest  Does not necessarily have to be represented by a woman  This step is about the revulsion that the (usually male) hero may feel about his own nature  Attachment or projection of that revulsion to women  Woman is a metaphor for the physical or material temptations of life

(Warren, et al. from Campbell)

THE HERO’S JOURNEY: INITIATION 4. Atonement with the Father  The person must confront

whatever holds the ultimate power  Usually the father, or a father figure,

who has life and death power  Center point of the journey  Symbolized by an encounter with a

male entity or someone or thing with incredible power  For the transformation to take

place, the person must be "killed" so that the new self can come into being  Sometimes this killing is literal, &

the earthly journey for that character is either over or moves into a different realm

(Campbell from Warren, et al.)


5. Apotheosis  When someone dies a physical

death, or dies to the self to live in spirit (e.g., Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kanobi,Yoda, eventually Anakin)  A state of divine knowledge,

love, compassion, & bliss  Can simply be a period of rest,

peace, & fulfillment before the hero begins the return

(Campbell from Warren, et al.)

In the Riddle family graveyard, Cedric asks Harry to take his body back to his father.

THE HERO’S JOURNEY: INITIATION 6. The Ultimate Boon  The achievement of the goal of the quest.  It is what the person went on the journey to get  All the previous steps serve to prepare and purify the person for this step  The boon is something transcendent like the elixir of life itself, or a plant

that supplies immortality, or the holy grail.  Gains important self-knowledge & skills

(Campbell from Warren, et al.)


1. Refusal of the Return ď‚„ Having found bliss and

enlightenment in the other world, the hero may not want to return to the ordinary world to bestow the boon onto his fellow man

(Warren, et al. from Campbell)


2. The Magic Flight  Sometimes the hero must

escape with the boon, if it is something that the gods have been jealously guarding.  It can be just as adventurous &

dangerous returning from the journey as it was to go on it.

(Warren, et al. from Campbell)


3. Rescue from Without  Oftentimes the hero must have powerful guides & rescuers to bring them

back to everyday life  Especially if wounded or weakened by the experience  Perhaps the person doesn't realize that it is time to return, that they can

return, or that others need their boon.

Aragorn just before he is rescued by his horse

(Warren, et al. from Campbell)

THE HERO’S JOURNEY: RETURN 4. Crossing the Return Threshold  The trick in returning is to:  retain the wisdom gained on the quest  to integrate that wisdom into a human life  maybe figure out how to share the wisdom with the rest of the

world.  This is usually extremely difficult

(Warren, et al. from Campbell)


5. Master of the Two Worlds  Usually represented by a

transcendental hero, like Jesus or Buddha.  For a human hero, it may mean

achieving a balance between the material and spiritual.  The person has become

comfortable and competent in both the inner and outer worlds Hermione Granger, the muggle-born witch

(Warren, et al. from Campbell)


6. Freedom to Live  Mastery leads to freedom from

the fear of death, which in turn is the freedom to live  This is sometimes referred to

as living in the moment  neither anticipating the future

nor regretting the past.

(Warren, et al. from Campbell)

From Hercules to Harry Potter


NAMES  Harry James Potter  Harry = Middle English form of

Henry < Germanic name Heinrich < the words heim, meaning "home," and ric, meaning "power, ruler‖  Also from Harold = ―leader of

the army.‖  James = the same Hebrew

name as Jacob, meaning ―holds the heel‖.  Potter is a very common

surname of English origin. It traditionally refers to the occupation of making pottery.


Ronald Bilius Weasley  Ronald = the Scottish form of

the Scandinavian name Ragnvald < Old Norse Ragnvaldr;  ragn, "advice", and valdr, "ruler―

 Reginald < Germanic Raginwald,

meaning "the prince's counsellor."  Bilius comes from "bile," as one

of the 4 humors discussed by Ancient Greek philosophers.  The English adjective "bilious"

also applies to those who have an irritable temper, as is Ron from time to time.

 Yellow bile = the element of fire

(the element of Gryffindor house)  someone with an excess of it

was believed to be badtempered.

NAMES (CONT.) Hermione Jean Granger  derived from "Hermes", who

was the god of wit, invention, and quick thinking.  from Greek mythology, in which

she was a princess of Sparta and daughter of Helen of Troy  Jean, the female variant of the

name John, meaning "God is gracious.  Granger is another word for



 derived from the Anglo-

Norman grainger and the French grangier, both of which come from Latin granica, meaning "granary."


Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore Albus:  an Italian word meaning

"sunrise.‖  Latin word for white.

Percival  legendary Arthurian knight

involved in the quest for the Holy Grail Wulfric Brian  Old Celtic meaning high or noble

Dumbledore  an old 18th century English word

for 'bumblebee.'

 From Anglo-Saxon, Wulfric

translates literally as "wolfpower", & is reminiscent of another similar name, Beowulf, which means "powerful wolfbear".


 Alastor Moody

 Ancient Greek for "he who

does not forget", or avenger, persecutor, tormenter  one who suffers from divine

vengeance  Similar to Alastair, which is the

Scottish form of Alexander

What about your name?

MAGIC The Source of Magic  Magical power = an internal

source? Is inherent in the individual? Gandalf - ―There are many powers in the world, for good or for evil." Aragorn: healer - symbolic of spiritual gift

 The power comes from some

external source?  potions and spells and herbs  part of nature or the natural

world  a belief in the magical

properties of the earth (Dickerson & O’Hara, p. 234)

MAGIC (CONT.) Used to Harm or Heal?  Father Christmas in The Lion, the

Witch, and the Wardrobe gives Lucy a vial of magical ointment that will heal any wound

The word Horcrux may be derived from the French dehors, meaning "outside," and crux, meaning "essence.― (harrypotter

 Aragorn uses kingsfoil to try &

save Frodo

Something or someone that the magician is in service to?  call upon evil spirits to do their bidding  a genie in a bottle  have no choice  the One Ring - controls the ringwraiths  The magician is often deceived  become the slave of the demon? (Dickerson & O’Hara, p. 234)

MAGIC (CONT.) Uses of Magic in Harry Potter  internal power is used by the

good character (those who side with Dumbledore)  Hagrid – ―Never made things

happen when you were scared or angry?‖  external power

For good or evil

 potions class and herbology

 Madame Pomfrey vs. Wormtail cutting


off his own hand  Summoned power  Malfoy uses Serpensortia to conjure a

snake to attack Harry  house elves  dementors

(Dickerson & O’Hara, p. 239)

ACTIVITY Potions Class To train up your potion making skills, we will practice making green slime. Ingredients:  ½ school glue

 ½ laundry starch

Add glue to a bowl. Then gradually add starch while stirring, beginning with ¼ cup. Keep working slime with your hands until it reaches he desired consistency.

From Hercules to Harry Potter



 a symbol of evil.  seen as unwanted & something that a

hero must work to get rid of.  try to kill people by breathing out

fire.  great wings & sharp claws.  able to live in deserts or even in fire.  greedy, keeping hordes of gold &

other precious treasure.  represents the dark side of humanity,

including greed, lust, & violence  slaying a dragon represents the

confrontation & extinguishment of those evil instincts. (Owens, Smith & Brown, pp. 227 - 228)

WESTERN DRAGONS Western Dragons  There are very few dragons in

medieval literature  Tolkien's Smaug brought

dragons as we know dragons into modern fantasy literature  Midgardsormr, who was to

destroy the god Thor at Ragnorok  Fafnir, who is killed by the

Norse hero Sigurd  Beowulf's dragon

(Dickerson and O’Hara, p. 124)

EASTERN DRAGONS  called Lung or Long in Chinese  value dragons for their magic &     

beauty held with high respect symbolizes heroism, beauty, luck, & power live in some sort of damp place, more likely a lake or the ocean used in ceremonies and parades control the rain, rivers, lakes, & sea. can ward off wandering evil spirits, protect the innocent, & bestow safety unto all

(Owens, Smith & Brown, pp. 227 - 228)

CHINESE DRAGONS  Tianlong,: Celestial Dragons -

pull the chariots of the gods & guard their palaces.  Shenlong: Spiritual Dragons -

control the wind & the rain.

Dilong: the Underground Dragons - earth dragons who preside over rivers and streams.

Yinglong, the Winged Dragons, are the oldest of all eastern dragons & the only kind with wings.

 Fucanglong: the Dragons of

Hidden Treasures - underworld dragons which guard buried treasures.Volcanoes are said to be created when they burst out of the ground to report to heaven.


CHINESE DRAGONS (CONT.) Huanglong: the Yellow Dragons, once emerged from the River Luo and presented the legendary Emperor Fu Hsi with the elements of writing. They are known for their scholarly knowledge.

Qiulong: the Horned Dragons - the mightiest dragons. Panlong: the Coiling Dragons - water dragons who inhabit the lakes of the Orient.

L贸ng W谩ng: the Dragon Kings rulers over each of the four seas; they have the ability to shapeshift into human form. They live in crystal palaces guarded by shrimp soldiers and crab generals.


ACTIVITY Divinations Class: Chinese Fortune Sticks 1. Get 78 coffee stirrers or popsicle sticks and dip one end in red paint (about ½â&#x20AC;&#x2013;) 2. Once dry, number each stick 1 through 78 in both Chinese and Arabic numbers. 3. Ask a yes or no question and pull a stick. 4. Look up the answer to the question here.

ACTIVITY Divination Class – Period 2 I Ching: The Book of Changes


2. 3.

 One of the oldest Chinese

texts  Themes: the balance of opposites,


the evolution of events as a process, and acceptance of change.



Get three coins. Hold a yes or no question in your head. Flip your coins and add up the total of your flips. Heads = 3 and Tails = 2. Draw the hexagram that corresponds to the total of your coin flips and draw it. 





Repeat 5 more times, placing the new results on top of your first, until the hexagram is complete. Look up the hexagram meaning here.

From Hercules to Harry Potter


BEOWULF IN THEODEN  long life as king (Geats vs. Rohan)  goes up against a monstrous

enemy (Grendel vs. the Lord of the Nazgul)  enemy is defeated by a kinsperson

(Wiglaf vs. Eowyn)  mead hall (Heorot vs. Meduseld)

(Dickerson and O’Hara, p. 114)

BEOWULF IN OTHERS Aragorn  rises from obscurity to become

king  endures the scorn of a better-

known warrior who is close to the current ruler of his kingdom  does not show Beowulf's desire

for glory  does not die as a result of


Boromir  appears to have superhuman

strength  shows pride in his battle

prowess  dies fighting orcs  seeks personal glory on the

battlefield  doesn't live a long life  is not ever king

(Dickerson and O’Hara, p. 117)


Germanic heroic spirit with the Christian sense of morality  The overarching sense of

moral purpose in the great War that defines so much of fantasy  the ability to choose "rightly" in matters of conduct (Dickerson and O’Hara, p. 121)

ARTHURIAN LEGEND King Arthur = Aragorn Merlin = Gandalf Avalon (Arthur’s

―resting place‖) = outermost city of the Undying Lands of Valinor (resting place of immortal beings) is called Avalonne (Dickerson and O’Hara, p. 126)

ACTIVITY Divinations Class – Period 3: Rune Casting  Writing used by the peoples of Northern Europe from the first century C.E.  Also a system of symbols used for magic & divination  each rune has a meaning  Runes also have magical & religious significance as well, transforming the simple process of writing into a magical act  Tolkien’s Dwarvish language is based on Norse Runes Make a set of your own with Sculpy or air dry clay!

From Hercules to Harry Potter


ANIMALS IN MYTHOLOGY  people have always lived in

close contact with animals  developed myths & legends about them  give special meaning or extraordinary qualities to common animals  other creatures that have never existed

(Myth Encyclopedia)

ANIMALS IN MYTH (CONT.)  Animals may serve as

stand-ins for humans or human characteristics (e.g., the Greek storyteller Aesop.)  animals perform heroic deeds or act as mediators between heaven and earth  can be helpful to humans or harmful—sometimes both

(Myth Encyclopedia)

ANIMALS IN MYTH (CONT.) Transformations (i.e.,

people turn into animals or animals turn into people) take place in stories from around the world about crossing the boundaries that set humans apart from the rest of the world

trickster mischievous

figure appearing in various forms mediator gobetween shaman person thought to possess spiritual and healing powers dualistic consisting of two equal and opposing forces

ANIMALS IN MYTH (CONT.)  Native American myth -

boundaries between people & animals were less sharply drawn (i.e., shape shifting)  Bears were especially close to humans  The Tsimshian people of the northwestern U.S. tell about Asdiwal, a young man who follows a white bear up a mountain to the sky. (Myth Encyclopedia)

Lyra with Iorek Byrnison, the Panserbjørne, or ―amored bear‖ wearing his sky-iron armor.

ANIMALS IN MYTH (CONT.) Transformation = a sign of power (Myth Encyclopedia) Some shamans were thought to have supernatural abilities: the power to communicate with animals transform themselves into animals

Above: Harry speaks Parseltongue. Below: Masters Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs, all animagi*

(*Moony, a.k.a. Professor Remus Lupin -- a werewolf,-- is technically not an animagus.)

ANIMALS IN MYTH (CONT.) Fäerie often highlights the close links between people & animals.  West Africans & Native

Americans believe that each person has a magical or spiritual connection to a particular animal that can act as a guardian, a source of wisdom, or an inspiration.  Some Native American

religions include nagualism, the idea that each person's life is linked to an animal or object called a nagual

If the nagual is hurt or killed, the person suffers or dies. (Myth Encyclopedia)


have daemons  the ancient Greek notion of

Daimon, a helpful spirit )

 Like human souls but

external and visible in the form of animals  Can talk  Cannot go far from their humans  Human and daemon are considered one  ―familiar‖ (

Lyra Balacqua’s daemon, Pantalaimon, as an Ermine, a symbol of purity. Pan can change his appearance because the daemons of children are not permanent until their child comes of age.

DAEMONS (CONT.) Lord Asriel and Stelmaria snow leopard aloof and highly intelligent with piercing blue eyes, like her human Symbolism: understanding one’s shadow side; associated with the devil


DAEMONS (CONT.)  Marisa Coulter and

Ozymandias  Symbolizes cleverness & curiosity in Chinese astrology  Ozymandias is a Greek name for the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II  Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote a poem about Ozymandias in the 1800’s (

ACTIVITY Divinations Class – Period 4 Make an Alethiometer  Simple  Very involved  Online

From Hercules to Harry Potter


THE STAR WARS SAGA & ARTHURIAN LEGEND Merlin =  Qui-Gon Jinn  Obi Wan Kenobi  Yoda

Mentor to both Arthur and Uther Pendragon, Arthur’s father

(Smith & Brown, p. 302)

MERLIN, THE IDEALIST PROPHET ď&#x201A;&#x201E; Merlin prophecies that a man

will soon rise to bring order to the chaos that engulfs the land = Uther Pendragon ď&#x201A;&#x201E; Qui-Gon Jinn believes that

Anakin Skywalker is the one who will return balance to the Force

Obi-Wan assumes the task of training Anakin once Qui-Gon is slain by the Sith apprentice Darth Maul.

(Smith & Brown, p. 302)

MERLIN, THE DISAPPOINTED MENTOR ď&#x201A;&#x201E; Merlin chooses to help Uther

Pendragon, believing he is the one to restore order to the land. ď&#x201A;&#x201E; Pendragon rises to power but

uses that power only to serve his own selfish interests.

Obi-Wan Kanobi when Anikin Skywalker becomes a Sith lord and turns to the dark side of the Force.

(Smith & Brown, p. 302)

MERLIN AND A NEW HOPE  Merlin watches over and

becomes tutor to a young Arthur, who grows up unaware of who his true father is.  In Arthur, Merlin sees ―a new hope‖ of fulfilling the original prophecy.  It is Luke Skywalker, son of Anakin, who returns balance to the Force as Qui-Gon Jinn prophesized.  Both take up the weapons of their fathers to fulfill their destinies. (Smith & Brown, p. 303)

MERLIN, THE PESSIMIST  Merlin watches how Arthur

changes as he grows into manhood as King of the Britons.  His treatment of Arthur

becomes harsher.  Yoda is harsher in his treatment

of Luke than Obi-Wan was.  Yoda forces Luke to confront his hatred of his father -- Darth Vader -- as opposed to ObiWan, who shields Luke from the truth. (Smith & Brown, p. 303)

JEDI AND SAMURAI Jedi were patterned after the samurai warriors of Japan  the samurai were strictly a

warrior class  a shogun ruled over the daimyo,

his provincial lords  daimyo hired numerous samurai.

(Reihla; Smith & Brown, p. 301)

JEDI AND SAMURAI (CONT.) Similarities in social structure between medieval Japan & the world of the Jedi  serve the greater good of their governing bodies  the preservation of order  preferred pacifist tactics often failed to achieve the desired results  Jedi prefer more peaceful means of conflict resolution than the samurai  Do not hesitate to proceed to ―aggressive negotiations‖ by using exceptional swordsmanship if needed (Reihla)

JEDI AND SAMURAI: THE FORCE Jedi possess a strong spiritual side – The Force  A mystical energy field that wraps

around all living beings Samurai had no specific religion by which they defined themselves  In the late middle ages, however,

the majority were Zen Buddhists  Acknowledge a mystical life

energy, the chi.  Drew on it for strength and used

it for a variety of purposes, including healing. Meditation by Kuro Samarai (Reihla)

JEDI AND SAMURAI: WEAPONS Weaponry and extensive training  Daisho, a pair of curved swords

made by master craftsmen  wakizashi  katana  In 1587, shogun Hideyoshi

decreed that only samurai would be allowed to carry the daisho


STAR WARS: A MODERN MYTH WITH ANCIENT AND POP CULTURE ORIGINS An American take on:  King Arthur  Previous science fiction books & films  James Bond  Joseph Campbell  The Tales of Power by Carlos Castaneda  Tolkien  samurai / wuxia epics  Fäerie (myth, heroic legend, & fairy tale)  ―dressed in the space-opera trappings of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon‖  ―festooned with a variety of nostalgic Hollywood influences — serialadventure swashbuckling, WWII movie dogfights, movie-Nazi villains, Western saloon shootouts.‖ (Greydanus, Dirks)








Wizard of Oz

Arthurian Legend/Excalibur




Harry Potter

The Iliad/Achilles & Agamemnon/Hector


Wild West

Sins of the father


The Odyssey/Aeneas


Dictators & Tyrants


The Lord of the Rings



Roman Empire


Robin Hood

Zeus & Cronus

Mercenary Pirate

Bread & Circuses


The Three Musketeers



Julius Caesar

Spiritual Enlightenment


Earth Mother




Paradise Lost

Apollo & Artemis

Child-like Innocent

George Washington

Eve & the Serpent

Jason & the Argonauts


George W. Bush



Third Reich


(Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed, 2007)


 The Connections to history, literature, Fäerie, religion, and pop culture

are endless and ongoing.  What connections will you add to the saga? The Cauldron?  Safe travels on your own Hero’s Journey.

May the Force be with you!

References Bierlein, J. F. (1994). Parallel myths. New York: Ballantine Books. Campbell, J. (2008). The hero with a thousand faces. Novato, Ca.: New World Library. Bollingen Series XVII, 3rd ed. Davis, Bryan M. (1997). The Archetypal Hero in Literature, Religion, Movies, and Popular Culture. Retrieved 7/29/10 from Davis, K. C. (2005). Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know much about world myths. New York: Harper Collins. Dickerson, M. & Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Hara, D. (2006). From Homer to Harry Potter: A handbook on myth and fantasy. Grand Rapids, MN: Brazos.

Dirk, T. (2010). Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (1977). Retrieved on 8/13/10 from

References (cont.) Greydanus, S. D. (2010). Why Star Wars still matters. Retrieved 8/12/10 from Myth encyclopedia: Myths and legends of the world. Animals in mythology. Retrieved on 8/12/10 from Advameg. Neal, C. (2007). Wizards, wardrobes and wookies: Navigating good and evil in Harry Potter, Narnia and Star Wars. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.


Owens, K. (2009) Draconika Dragons. Retrieved 8/8/10 from www. Reihla (2004). The way of the Jedi: A comparison of the Jedi order to the Japanese Samurai. Retrieved on 8/15/10 from Smith, E.L., & Brown, N. R. (2007). The complete idiot’s guide to world mythology:Timeless tales and legends from every corner of the globe. New York: Alpha. Star Wars:The Legacy Revealed. Dir. Kevin Burns. 2007. The History Channel. Videocassette Tolkien, J. R. R. (1989). ―On fairy-story.‖ Tree and leaf. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p. 9-73. Warren, L., et al. (2000). The hero’s journey. Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction: Maricopa Community Colleges. Retrieved 7/29/10 from

Original Artwork !!! Myth Takes. 2008. !!! Warp, Web. 13 Aug. 2010. < reviews/albums/9956-myth-takes/>. (Cover Artist unknown) Fairies, Goblins and Dwarfs by Howard David Johnson, 2007

Game Wallpapers. com.The Golden Compass. 2007. Wallpapers-s.oorg. Shiny Entertainment. Web. 13 Aug. 2010. </ 18__The_Golden_Compass,_2007.htm>. The Legend of Susanuo by Howard David Johnson The Lightning Thief (book jacket) by John Rocco, 2008. Meditation by Kuro Samarai. 134537&aid=32859 Harry Potter â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The Mirror of Erised, Mary GrandPre Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy by François Lemoyne, 1737 Treebeard and the Hobbits by Per Sjogren, 2003 Every effort was made to provide information for every image used in this presentation.

Photos from Movies: Beowulf. Dir. Robert Zemeckis. 2007, Paramount Pictures. Warner Home Video, 2008. DVD. The Golden Compass. Dir. Chris Weitz. 2007. New Line Cinema. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Dir. Christopher Columbus. 2002. Warner Bros. , 2003. DVD. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Dir. David Yates. 2010. Warner Bros. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Dir. Mike Newell. 2005. Warner Bros. , 2006. DVD. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Dir. David Yates. 2009. Warner Bros. , 2009. DVD. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Dir. David Yates. 2007. Warner Bros. , 2007. DVD. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Dir. Alfonso Cuaron 2004. Warner Bros. , 2004 DVD. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Dir. Christopher Columbus. 2001. Warner Bros. , 2002. DVD. Hero. Dir. Yimou Zhang. 2002. Miramax, 2004. DVD.


The Last Samurai. Dir. Edward Zwick. 2003 Warner Bros. 2004, DVD. Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring. Dir. Peter Jackson. 2001. New Line Cinema. Mulan. Dirs. Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook. 1998. Buena Vista. Star Wars Episode II:The Attack of the Clones. Dir. George Lucas. 2002 Lucasfilms. Star Wars Episode V:The Empire Strikes Back. Dir. Irving Kershner. 1980. Lucasfilms. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Dir. George Lucas. 1977. Lucasfilms. Star Wars Episode I:The Phantom Menace. Dir. George Lucas. 1999. Lucasfilms. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Dir. Richard Marquand. 1983. Lucasfilms. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Dir. George Lucas. 2005. Lucasfilms.

All images were located using Google images search. Credit was provided when available.

From Hercules to Harry Potter: Mythology in Film  

A mythology in film course originally offered in Summer, 2010 to middle schoolers. Topics include mythology and its role in Faerie, the Thre...