Harry Potter and Greek Religion and Mythology

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     J.K. Rowling takes many inspirations from history in her 7 part Harry Potter series, and considering her degree as a Classist it is unsurprising that much of the history she draws from is Classical. On this web  page I will explore her use of Classical -specifically Greek- Religion and Mythology, from the obvious borrowing of things such as names, to the more nuanced symbols and plot points that seem to point to a deeper understanding of ancient Greek practises and beliefs. 

     I will be examining the symbols from Greek myth and religion that J.K. uses and is inspired by in her book and examining how she uses them in a modern context and what significance they have to the plot. Examples of this are Harry's invisibility cloak, Ravenclaw's Diadem and many of the fantastic beasts.

     I also plan on examining the elements of cult and hero worship in the novels, as they are intrinsic elements in Greek religion. For example, the school houses are very much like different cults dedicated to different gods, the gods being the founnders and the way the are payed tribute to by the students is very similar to the ways in which the ancient Greeks used to worship heroes and gods.

     Then I am going to examine the many ways in which the names of Rowlings characters are inspired by Greek Myth, such as Merope Gaunt, Voldemort's mother and Hermione.

     I will also examine the way is which myths like The Tales of Beedle the Bard fulfill similar functions in the Harry Potters as Greek Myth would have filled in ancient Greek societies, and how some of these myths explain things that actually happen in real life, for example the Homeric Hymn to Demeter which is thought to explain some of the rituals of the mystery cult, and the Tale of Three Brothers, which provides much need background information on the Deathly Hallows.


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