Thursday, October 4, 2012

Roman/Greek Monsters in Harry Potter

Was it just me or did anyone else see the similarities between Harry Potter's monsters and the Aeneid's? It was really awesome to see that the three headed dog within Harry Potter was based off Cerberus. The three headed dog in Harry Potter guards the elixir of life (which could let one live for eternity), in direct correlation with Cerberus's guarding of Hades' eternity. Moreover their are harpie like creature in Harry Potter which are identical to the mythical Greel creatures in all but name (they are called pixies in Harry Potter). The Chimaera can be found in the book "Magical Creatures and Where to Find Them" which lists creatures within Harry Potter and describes their habits, allot like a Discovery Kids book for magical creatures. Those are the creatures I can think of that are the same. J.K Rowling is awesome, buy her new book (it's not about magic though).    :( If you're interested in seeing the comparison's of creatures here's a Wikipedia article on them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_creatures_in_Harry_Potter

7 comments:

Madeline Davis said...

I noticed the similarities between Cerberus and Fluffy in Harry Potter, but I never realized the other mythical creature similarities until you pointed them out. J.K. Rowling also referenced Roman mythology in Harry Potter in the character of Remus Lupin. Remus Lupin is a werewolf, whereas Remus and Romulus were raised by a she-wolf. Also, Remus Lupin sometimes went under the codename "Romulus". I'm sure there are several more comparisons, but that was the one that first came to mind.

Laura N said...

Well, Harry Potter is an epic story, is it not? He represents cultural values and personal characteristics that people admire, just like Aeneas and other epic heroes are supposed to portray the best form of character as valued by that culture. Harry is noble, selfless, humble, loyal, brave, kind....the list goes on. He has a duty/responsibility/PROPHECY to carry out, just like Aeneas and other epic heroes. Harry Potter is a modern day epic story about a hero (Harry and his friends) engaging in the archetypal battle between good and evil. Monsters, creatures and people (at least their names) were borrowed from ancient mythology and other sources, I imagine, similar to the way Romans modified, adopted and adapted Greek things. That is the creative process at work: taking things that already exist and modifying them to suit your purpose and relate it to the world around us. JK borrowed ideas and reinvented them so-to-speak, and so did the Romans with Greek ideas.

Michell D said...

I'm going to have to disagree with you on the harpies being pixies part of this but everything else seems right. Throughout my life I have played quite a few video games or seen some movies that stretch the truth. Many of the games, especially the ones that reference times from sort of medieval periods, include the magical bests referenced by Vigil. I never knew that these creatures were from Greek/Roman stories, I always thought some crazy dude who loved video games just thought of them. (but really, WHO comes up with a 1/3 lion, 1/3 goat. 1/3 serpant?!) I'm actually going to go find that out, brb. So the origen is a little unspecified, but its father is Typhon, father of all monsters, and its mother is Echinda, appropriately named the mother of all monsters. Even though I've gotten myself off on a nice tangent I'd like to say that the use of these Greek monsters can be seen throughout most of the science fiction/fantasy world in other books, movies or video games.

Lindsay A said...

A lot of authors take creatures and just names in general from myths. I read one author, Trudi Canavan, where I could read off names on a map and find about half her characters names on there. And then there are lots of novels today that take myths and place their own character in the myths. I've actually read one about the Aeneid. It's called Black Ships by Jo Graham. But yeah, a lot of literature is based on past works - we're really just building off the foundation.

Tyler Dean said...

I agree with all of those comparisons except the pixies, because harpies were life sized, angry, flying women, not itty bitty tiny trouble-making women. But yeah as everyone else has said, even today, most of the works of fiction are influenced in some way by Greek society/mythology. You have go the Percy Jackson series, Harry Potter, even a couple references in the Hunger Games, and many other books as well.

TSHAH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TSHAH said...

Nice comparison Will, and yeah I agree with Lindsey because the use of
Greek/Roman mythology can clearly be seen today in various contexts ranging from
new movies, to marketing strategies. In the case of Nike, we can draw on the
myth of Nike and clearly see Nike presents it self as a company that will
maximize your athletic abilities and enhance your running abilities. Im curious
as to how many other things in our everyday life relate to Greek/Roman
mythology, without us ever being aware of it (like the Brooks Brothers logo
being derived from the story if Jason and the Argonauts)