Myth-making in the Movies

Since the earliest years of the cinema, fantasy has been one of the most common filmic modes — and it is no coincidence that many (or indeed most) fantasy films feature significant elements of myth and/or tragedy.  For your final Blogpost of the semester, you have three options: 1) In the wake of our fun-filled ‘Star Wars’ screening on Wednesday, it would be interesting to hear some more words on the mythological (or tragic) elements, characters, or themes of George Lucas’s influential film. Alternately, if you want to address some of the ideas, heroes, or symbols in one of the other ‘Star Wars’ films that we did NOT watch, that would be useful as well. 2) On the ‘Wizard of Oz’, just how does the film fit with some of the key archetypes or heroic adventures we have seen so far this semester? Again, if you’d like to address some characters or themes in another early American movie with “mythological” elements, that would be just fine. 3) Finally, what do you make of the myth-making in J.R.R. Tolkein’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and/or the Harry Potter franchise? I have deliberately left this final Blog a little bit open-ended, but I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts on some of the most famous “myths” created in the (post)modern world!

35 thoughts on “Myth-making in the Movies

  1. I chose the third option to write about. In my personal opinion, I love the Harry Potter films. They’re constructed very well for being composed of mostly computer graphics. On the other hand, I do not like some of the things that J.K. Rowling has brought to light. I realize that the public enjoys witches and spells, but it gives them improper facts. Witches in today’s society are actually just normal humans that deal with herbs and worship gods for health and belief reasons. My mother is a witch or Pagan, and it annoys me because from Harry Potter, everyone asks me if she can turn them into a toad or an animal. Obviously, the answer is no, but it’s still idiotic to ask. Also on another aspect, elves from mythology are beautiful creatures, and the Harry Potter movies painted them as gross, ugly creatures that are house elves. This is wrong because elves are beautiful creatures and deserve to be painted as them. As a thing that I like, I do like how they put the Phoenixes into the movie. They’re really pretty and the details about what happens to them during their lives is true. The overall screenplay and cast of actors and actresses is outstanding, but the creatures that were used are not necessarily correct.

  2. I am going to do the third option and will focus on Harry Potter. I love Harry Potter!
    What I love about the series is that J.K. Rowling makes the modern day world extraordinary. This is mostly why the books are popular today. There are more symbols in Harry Potter to mythology than people think.

    One example:
    “Rowling’s literary myth also has a parallel to Hercules’ tale. In Harry Potter, Fluffy, the three-headed dog guards the door to the forbidden corridor just as in the tale Hercules, the dog Cerberus guards the gate to the underworld.”

    People often wonder if there is a clear definition of good and evil. Since Harry Potter gives a clear definition, it makes it even more likable.

    Another example:
    “However, the most important symbols are found in the contrast of the two groups Gryffindor and Slytherin. Gryffindor, which is the group of good wizards in Harry Potter, is represented by the lion, for a griffin is a half-lion half-eagle. The lion can symbolize “¦a valorous soldier, whose magnanimity is such as he had rather expose himself to all dangers, and even to death itself, than to become captive.” 25 Just as a lion is considered a king of its realm, so is a snake. The group Slytherin is represented by the snake, which is mythically described as “¦the infection of his pestiferous and poysonfull aspect, wherewith he poisoneth the aire.” 26 This group of wizards called Slytherin can in no doubt be described as that which is not good.”

    Both of these quotes were taken from this website. It is an interesting read, and it talks about Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars.

    What people like about Harry Potter is that it gives them a world full of magic and magical creatures, of curses, spells, and prophecies, but it still gives off the air of an ordinary world. It is what many people today wish and dream were real. The moral values and teachings that come along with the series are invaluable. This series has made a lot of people stronger in their moral values and must not be considered has trash. The movies that were produced did cut a lot of the things from the books, but the lessons, main idea, and plots were the same. Harry Potter is not just a tale of a boy, a villain, and a prophesy, but a tale about love, loyalty, friendship, and unfortunately death. I believe that Harry Potter is just one of the many things that will continue to live on in the hearts of many. It started an era of learning of finding and believing in oneself.

  3. I will be choosing to talk about The Wizard of Oz. The film does very well fit into what we’ve talked about as myth this semester. The whole story is basically an adventure and it is also sort of a fairy tale. There are many magical and mystical elements of the story; for example, the witch and her powers, the talking scarecrow, lion, and tin man, the many litte creatures and munchkins, and who could forget the color changing horse. The main character Dorothy does go on an adventure with the tin man, scarecrow, and lion, because she wants to find the wizard so that she can finally get back home. Throughout this journey, all of the characters grow and become closer. The lion gets courage, the scarecrow gets proof that he is smart, and the tin man gets a heart. And to get to this point, like normal myth stories and tales, they have to defeat the wicked witch of the west, the main villain.

    • The Wizard of Oz is a modern day myth because it has magical elements in everyday life. It reminds me of a Disney movie that comes to life. It’s targeted for families stating how there “is no place like home”, using a sentimental lesson to bring in it’s audience. The speaking animals, magic, song and dance allude to that factor. She was a damsel in distress who wanted to go after her own destiny. It’s also interesting that the “god” everyone goes to for help was actually a man behind a machine. The cross between magic and science could be noted there because it shows that witches can exist but the all-powerful Oz cannot. There can only be so much knowledge and power and seeing the great and mighty Oz, taken off his pedestal raises questions. Is everything just run by one man? Is it all just smoke and mirrors? Fantasy enters the post modern world because it makes us question reality and limitations.

  4. After watching Star Wars for about the billionth time I watched it one more time to look for even more mythological aspects. While going through the series you often hear the Jedi speak about the force as something only a few people can use. This is called being force sensitive. The force is explained as an organism that is in everything and can be controlled. This organism is called Midichlorian. This can be considered mythological because the midichlorians gave the Jedi the ability to do things that are supernatural and not human. This could be seen as a supernatural force that helps the heroes to accomplish their goal.

  5. I chose to write about the second option, The Wizard of Oz. My mom is a huge fan of the wizard of Oz and over the past couple of years has made me sat through it several times. The movie can be classified as the “American Myth” because it shows several mythological aspects. The most important aspect, to me, is the hero’s journey. We come across Dorothy as an unlikely hero because its abnormal to see a female take on the role of a hero besides Joan of Arc of course. Dorothy was part of an average life until everything got twisted. She was put into another world where she came across beasts, magic, flying monkeys, and a variety of friends. Most heroes go out on a quest to save someone or something but in Dorothy’s case she was just trying to find a way back home. Her hero’s journey shows adaptation and changes to who is seen as a hero and what is seen as a journey. Dorothy and her trip to Oz became the quintessential American version of a hero’s journey. She went on a journey, made great allies, defeated a wicked witch, and learned a valuable lesson: “There’s no place like home.” Any hero of ancient myth goes through the same journey and basically does the same exact things. The Wizard of Oz just shows how a girl can do anything as heroic as Hercules or Perseus.

  6. The Harry Potter franchise I believe is so strong because people have such a strong attachment to myth, everyday people use tv shows and movies to get out of the realistic world around them. The magical factor of these Harry Potter movies provides a connection to people’s childhood; their memories: the stories they were told. Harry Potter along with magic, brings adventure and lessons to be learned with each movie. The Harry Potter myth gives people a larger spectrum of fantasy to look at, Harry Potter introduces some new myths along with some old ones: new being the screaming mandrake root, old being the Phoenix that Dumbledoor owned. Harry Potter interests readers and watchers because of it’s imagination and ideas. The myths enhance the quality of the movies of Harry Potter are giving people something to “believe in”, at least when they are watching the movie.

  7. The Wizard of Oz is a classic film shown in my household. Dorothy has been taken into another realm where she is able to lead a band of men to their destiny. There were many of the different archetypes found in a typical heroin tales prominent in The Wizard of Oz. The hero, would be the first of the types that are shown. Since Dorothy arrived in munchkinland, she was a hero. Her house landing on the witch gave all the munchkins that much more freedom than before. She also showed heroic characteristics by saving Toto from the lion’s rage. Dorothy is the hero by sacrificing herself to save what she loves. At the same time, Dorothy was also the damsel in distress. She was captured and helpless and had to be saved which allowed her that title. Another archetype that was prominent in the film was that of the villain. The witch caused havoc for everyone and attempted to kill our hero. She is in every way a villain. The aspect of magic also fits into the mythical aspect of the film. Without magic, none of the ideals present in Oz would be real.

  8. For this blog post I am going to be doing option 2. As many times as I have seen the Wizard of Oz with my mom I had never really thought about it in a mythological way, but the more I think about it, it becomes more clear to me. The Wizard of Oz fits into Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey and has many elements of myth. Dorothy goes off on a long amazing journey that she was imagining just to figure out the true meaning and value of home and family. She finds 3 main important allies (Tin-man, Lion, Scarecrow) that are foil characters to her three uncles back in Kansas. She defeats 2 witches and becomes the master of two worlds, Oz and her World, although she has no special powers. Even the way the director made Kansas a black and white and made Oz a wonderful colored land, shows how Dorothy could have been trying to escape the dull place she called home in Kansas.

  9. For this blog I chose to write about a theme from Star Wars and that theme is the monomyth or, in the way I am using the term, syncretism. George Lucas mentioned in an interview that he was aware of the campbeliian idea of a repeating narrative throughout mythology. That idea of a unified mythological formula is very much prevalent in the different elements he purposely combines. The best example of this would be the Jedi, who are a mixture of Christian knights and Shinto/Buddhist samurai. The Jedi wear clothing reminiscent of a samurai’s kimono, but with the addition of a hood that was borrowed from Christian monks. Another such element of the Jedi is their light saber, which are individualized by color (the explanation of this is in the expanded universe books that a friend of mine had told me about) and this is reminiscent of the samurai idea of a samurai sword containing the wielder’s soul. In short, Star Wars is filled with mixed elements of different mythologies to create a story that is universally recognized much like the monomyth.

  10. The Wizard of Oz has been considered to be one of the most influential modern myths on the page and on screen. It has captivated the attention of millions, including myself, with it’s aura of a land that is engrossed in mythological elements and heroic archetypes. Dorothy is the hero of the tale and directly fits Joseph Campbell’s archetype of a Monomyth. Dorothy has the initial Separation from her home of Kansas and goes out into the Land of Oz. She then goes through the Initiation phase of the challenge of facing the Wicked Witch of the West, after which Dorothy then returns home after her adventure in Oz.
    The Land of Oz in particular has many fairy tale elements with the Witches of the North, East, and West; as well as the talking Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow. There is also the balance of good and evil with the Good Witch of the North and the Wicked Witch of the West. The ruby slippers that Dorothy acquires also have a magic element to them because they can transport their user to any location that they so desire. This is directly why the Wicked Witch of the West sought after them so desperately and exemplifies how the heroin Dorothy had to keep them away from her.

  11. When looking at the film, “The Wizard of Oz,” one can clearly trace the central theme of the hero’s journey throughout the feature. The main character Dorothy goes through each of the steps that Joseph Campbell describes as vital to the hero’s journey. The film follows Dorothy as she goes through the three steps of separation, initiation, and return. As for the first step of separation when she is knocked unconscious and travels to the magical Land of Oz, it is here that she will begin her journey as a heroine. The second step of initiation occurs when Dorothy discovers she must set out to seek the help of the Wizard of Oz in order to return home. Third would be the return to Kansas after Dorothy realizes she had the power to return home all along. It is upon Dorothy’s arrival home that she learns that it is not always better to seek happiness in other places. This would be the “savior” lesson that the hero would bring back and spread to her community, as I’m sure Dorothy would pass this knowledge as her life goes on. ‘The Wizard of Oz” is also very similar to other stories we’ve read in the semester. For example Dorothy’s journey is similar to that of Odysseus as they both wish to return home. The details involving each character’s quest differ but the three main points of separation, initiation, and return is all there. While Odysseus leaves for war and has to battle his way, he still returns home with the knowledge that his role is to be at home where he can fulfill his duties and he knows that there’s no other place he’d rather be just like Dorothy. Whether L. Frank Baum created “The Wizard of Oz” purposely to follow the hero’s journey or not he stills fell Joseph Campbell’s idea of a Hero With A Thousand Faces.

  12. As someone who really appreciates the Harry Potter series, I decided I would talk about the series in terms of myth-making. As a little kid when the series first came around on film, it really opened up a new world for me. As a little kid with a wild imagination, seeing a land full of magic made it seem as if becoming a wizard was a true possibility. This may seem silly now, considering I’m now a college student, but that is kind of the point. The story appeals to little kids as it makes a world of magic seem so real, and it appeals to teens/adults because the story is about a boy with nothing but negativity in his life, and turns him into a great wizard whom at the end of it all conquers all his obstacles and kills the man who murdered his parents. Not only does the story represent a myth through all of the magic and creatures, but it also follows a character who goes through a lot in order to become a better, wiser, and stronger character at the end. Of all mythological-like stories, Harry Potter is probably the one that lays the closest to me.

  13. For my last blog post, I would like to talk about the Star Wars movie we watched on Wednesday. I have not seen the movie since I was a child and forgot most of what happened. After seeing it again I quickly realized it came to be such a classic and develop such a large fan base. The thing that struck me the most was how dark the empire was when they killed Luke’s uncle and aunt. We are given an image where we see two burning skeletons along with a ruined home. That scene was the most tragic to me. It showed the brutal might of the empire and innocent people were killed. I thought that this was the event that pushed Luke to really go with Ben and learn the ways of the force. He said that he would go because there was nothing left for him once his home was burned down. At first Luke was kind of reluctant at the idea of leaving the farm, but then when he came back to find everything was gone, he immediately turned to Ben and asked to go with him. To me this was the hero initiation point that has been a common theme within our class texts or movies. There is always something that happens that pushes the hero or main character to action. Luke’s was especially graphic because we got to see the burning corpses.

  14. For my final blog I thought I would go over option two and review some of the tropes that we have learned this semester that are reflected through the movie Wizard of OZ. In the Wizard of Oz we follow the magic of Dorthy’s journey through Oz, the main character, like in many heroes journeys start off in with a normal life much like Dorthy and long for something more, they then go in search of adventure in this case it is found in Oz where there is magic around every turn where all the characters try to obtain something of importance from the great and powerful Oz, and lastly they return home; in this case Dorthy returns home with a better appreciation for the life that she has and more brains, heart, and courage then she had before. We can see the role of the master or teacher played by Galinda the the good and evil represented in The Wicked Witch of the West. Dorthy is also accompanied by side characters that protect and empower her along the way. The tale of The Wizard of Oz follows the same blueprint as every heroes story.

  15. For my final blogpost, I will be discussing the archetypal mythology in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy, our hero, follows pretty closely the monomyth cycle as conceptualized by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with A Thousand Faces. She follows the departure, in running away and ending up the mystical world of Oz. Her initiation takes place within Oz, coming across beloved characters such as the lion, the tin man, and the scarecrow. She travels about Oz meeting supernatural beings like fairies (connection to not only myth, but the fairy tales). She faces a villain, The Wicked Witch, and even runs into a typical mythical trickster character in the form of the “wizard”. Her return, is her physical return to Kansas as she wakes up in her bed surrounded by her family/friends. Though she fits this model vaguely, there is a point to which she does NOT fit the myth archetypal hero, and that involves what happens when she gets back to Kansas… nothing. Nothing happens. And that goes against the hero usually returning victorious to lead or change the world around them. As you can see, though she fits the physical archetypal pattern, she does not embody the true idea of a hero in a myth.

  16. For this final blog post I will be choosing option number two. The ‘Wizard of Oz’ fits the heroic adventures we have seen. Dorothy searches for a way to get home and encounters many difficult obstacles throughout. A common theme throughout is friendship. Due to the friendships Dorothy makes with the Scarecrow, Lion and Tinman, she is able to make it home. Another common theme between this text and the others we’ve read is betrayal and consequence. When Dorothy wishes to go somewhere else because she doesn’t like her life at home and betrays her family, she is eventually forced to face the consequence and deal with many hardships along the way. Another theme is trust. Dorothy as well as the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion had to trust eachother in order to make it to the end of the yellow brick road to see the great Oz. If they didn’t, they would have never made it.
    Because they trusted eachother they also learned things about who they really are. The Lion has courage, Scarecrow has brains and the Tinman has a heart. ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is a classic story which is used for entertain purposes while it also serves to talk about the economical struggles during the time it was written.

  17. I think it is pretty easy to view Star Wars in terms of a methodological story. Looking at the basic level of the story we see a masked evil that oppresses the common people that is defeated by the hero. Looking at that level we see a story that could be projected onto any number of old stories mostly because the tale revolves around the journey of the hero. We see a hero who at first is reluctant who then leaves his life of normalcy and enters into the unknown and dangerous. Another huge factor similar to other myths is the idea behind divine intervention in the hero’s journey. For example in Greek myths the Gods themselves directly interfere in certain situations so long as what they want to happen happens. In Star Wars the divine force is never actually personified or even given a direct definition of its existence. But still we see multiple cases of characters who revere the entity and regard it as either a godly being or a type of prophecy that dictates the universe. One way you could see as the force’s interference with people is the way that some beings can directly use powers that come from the force.

  18. It is easy to argue that within “The Wizard Of Oz” there are several elements and themes that relate to other myths we have read during this semester. We know that in mythological stories there includes different types of archetypes. Just like Joseph Campbell stated in his theory of “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” each myth, no matter where from, includes a hero type figure. Clearly in this movie, the hero is Dorothy. Dorothy is considered a hero for several reasons. The key reason, however, is her journey. She embarks on this crazy adventure, like most heroes do, (Beowulf, Odysseus, even Disney princesses), and along the way helps others to learn valuable lessons about life. Another archetype we have in this movie is the villain. The wicked witch of the east would be that villain, just like in every fairy tale or story of mythology there is a villain that is out to get the hero no matter what circumstances. Last but not least, we have the archetype of the “Mother figure” or someone who gives guidance to the hero. In this case it would be Glinda, the “witch” that guides Dorothy in the right direction, and in the end helps her get home. We have utilized mythology as a way to comprehend things that happen in the world, and it is especially important to understand the time period in which this movie was made. A lot of people were dealing with the effects of the Great Depression, poverty, self-doubt, and just plain struggling. Just like the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion, people of America were searching for their own “brains”, “heart”, and courage. Ultimately, the Wizard of Oz is a movie that shares themes with other myths, like adventure, betrayal, and friendship. It is appropriate to call it a typical American myth because it bestows a common lesson about life.

  19. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is truly a modern myth. The world that Tolkien has created is not an ordinary world that may be found in a book. Tolkien took time to develop Middle Earth into something more then just words on paper. Tolkien took the time to craft a history of his world and entire languages to go along with the races that appeared in the book. Such as Elvish and Dwarvish.
    There are also detailed maps of his world.
    This is more then just a story it is a modern myth.
    Here’s a bit of Elvish (Have fun translating it!):
    Pedin i phith in aníron, a nin ú-cheniathagir

  20. Although I never really payed attention to the Wizard of Oz as a child or throughout the years growing up, I still knew what it was and the significant impact it had on the world due to it’s sheer popularity. After watching it on class Friday, it came to my realization just how well the tale fits into the idea of myth, along with the archetypes and heroic adventures that are associated with particular myths. In the case of the Wizard of Oz, Joseph Campbell’s idea of a monomyth works perfectly with the heroic adventure found in this story. Dorothy goes off on an adventure when she is taken up by a tornado that hits her home. Along her journey, she comes across many famous characters such as the tin man, scarecrow, and the lion. They aid her over the course of her journey and really contribute to the entire tale. Eventually, Dorothy learns she has to face the Wicked Witch of the West and that is just what she does when defeats her with water. This marks the end of her journey and time for her return home. For archetypes connected with Dorothy’s heroic adventure, there is a wide variety consisting of, the hero, the mentor, the trickster, the mother, and the father just to name a few. The hero in this case is without a doubt Dorothy, while the mentor is Glinda who tells her what she needs to know in order to return home. The trickster can be considered the Wizard of Oz himself, along with Toto. For the mother, Dorothy’s Aunt Em is the mother figure in the story, as well as Dorothy’s Uncle Henry being the father figure. With the use of these archetypes, the various themes found all throughout the tale are developed and contribute to what makes the story so likable, relatable, and popular among the millions of people who know the Wizard of Oz.

  21. For this blog post I will choose the first option, to examine star wars more in depth. Whenever I see the original movies I always think about the soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970’s. The soviets being the empire and the afghan rebels being the rebel alliance. There really aren’t any characters I can think of to compare to the historical figures of the event but the story is pretty similar. The empire (Russians) take over everything by force and have a strong control over the area with no representation from the people. Then the rebels (afghans) rise up and begin to fight back against the empire (Russians). After several major victories the empire (Russians) get desperate. Then they plan to use their ultimate weapon the death star (soviet helicopters) to destroy the rebels (afghans). They under estimate the rebels (afghans) and they are able to destroy their ultimate weapon using superior strategy and fire power. With their ultimate weapon destroyer the empire (Russians) begin to retreat and never fully recover. The rebels (Afghans) eventually destroy the empire (Russians) and are finally able to live free and in peace. The story of Star Wars is very similar to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.

  22. I am writing once again about Tolkein’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. lord of the rings does not just represent the definition of Campbell’s theory of a hero’s journey but includes many elements of traditional myths that we have looked at in the beginning of class. In lord of the rings we a variety of characters that all can fit the various different roles of heroes and villains. it also contains many types of mythological creatures in it such as Goblins, Orcs, elves, and ghosts. it also contains fairy tale like elements with its use of magic from characters such as Gandalf. one can take almost any character and be able to place them into the heros journey.

  23. J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy is one of the best examples of the modern day myth. They are very controversial books; because of this, it would be difficult to accurately portray them on film. However director Peter Jackson does a phenomenal job at making the books quite literally come to life on screen. His goal was to not only satisfy the already existing fans of the books and their stories, but also to be enjoyable to people with no previous knowledge of the book. The story line itself doesn’t necessarily have a set villain per say, however there are several evil characters that work as a force against the fellowship (Saruman, Orcs). The novels contain everything that the modern day myth entitles: A hero, mythical creatures/beings, an unrealistic story line. It is the tale of a hobbit who sets out on a journey away from home, the Shire, to places unlike nothing he’s ever seen before. His guide, or you could say his magic fairy godmother, comes in the form of a character named Gandalf the Grey, one of the five wizards. He has his three other hobbit companions, an elf, two humans, and a dwarf accompany him to destroy the ring. This being the whole point of the story. The plot is so technical and goes stray from time to time, but the complexity of it all pulls together in the end, and Jackson does a great job at accurately portraying this complexity.

  24. In Star Wars Luke Skywalker is our traditional hero throughout the series of films. He follows the classic hero archetype where he is initiated when he meets Ben Kenobi, his tests occur while he learns to use the force to practice his jedi skills on the Millennium Falcon, his return could be when he returns to the rebel base after destroying the Death Star and becoming a hero. Woman are also considered heroes in this movie as well in the form of princess Laia. She was both the damsel in distress and a hero for when she was free she did everything she could to help Luke and Han Solo escape and continued her fight against the Empire.
    Obiwan Kenobi and later Yoda, teach Luke about a supernatural connection called the Force. The Force is said to connect everything and served an all important role in the religion of the Jedi and Sith. The Force is one of the mythological aspects in these movies because it’s worshiped and seen as all powerful like the gods in previous myths. But the Force could be used for good and evil and the villain in Star wars, Darth Vader and his Empire, use it for evil to immorally control all the other planets in the galaxy.

  25. I chose to write about option 3. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, where many creatures and themes we talk about of myths in class are also portrayed, is popular film famous for the magical themes being brought into everyday life. Many people like the franchise especially because they wish their world would be like the world is in Harry Potter. The setting is mostly a school where children attend, except magic exists in this school. There are also people who aren’t “magical” in this world, bringing it a little close to reality, but at the same time making it a magical place that would never exist in the real world. I personally love the Harry Potter franchise, usually when there are too many movies in a franchise they get more and more boring,but this is one of the few exceptions. J.K. Rowling is successful in keeping her audience entertained as the story gets more and more intense, and making her audience wish they could live in a world exactly like Harry Potter’s.

  26. I will be presenting a power point on Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings on Monday and in my research it has become clear that they are most certainly legends and not “myths”. Harry Potter for example is a great example of a legendary hero. He sacrifices himself in order to protect his loved ones several time throughout the series. Despite feeling completely alone and out of place for his whole life his still finds people to care for and defends them fiercely. He treat all magical creatures equally even when most of the wizarding community looks down on them for not being human. He also ends up defeating the bad guy that has been trying to kill him since birth and has been terrorizing the entire wizarding community. Harry story also follows Campbell’s format for a hero’s journey. First, the separation: Harry leaves a relatively normal life on Privet Drive for the magic and mystery of Hogwarts. Next, the initiation: Harry learns of the prophecy about himself and lord Voldemort and how one of them will have to kill the other. Finally, the return home: Harry defeats Voldemort and grows up gets a job, gets married, has kids, and returns to a normal home life like he had when he lived on Privet Drive. Also there is no explicit presence of a deity, but there are supernatural powers and creatures; wizards, obviously, but also trolls, centaurs, dragons, mermaids, giant spiders and many more. It is the lack of physical divine beings that mark it as a legend and not a myth. The story is not an explanation of why something happens but rather a story created to teach the reader good morals and values through a heroic character.

  27. The Lord of the Rings will always hold a special place in my heart. To be more specific, I remember the speech that Sam, Frodo’s friend, gives at the end of “The Two Towers” (Second film). His speech is about how him and Frodo are just simple hobbits, but to see how far they have come on their adventure despite all of the opposition they had faced. It speaks to the element that sometimes the heroes are not the big and powerful warriors, but rather the simple like these two unassuming hobbits from the shire. It’s the classical tale of the underdog having to go over massive hurdles, but emerges victorious on the other side having gained some kind of honor or insight.

  28. I am choosing the second option to write on. Reflecting back on The Wizard of Oz, many key elements are present. The first one being is pull away from reality. his starts when Dorothy begins singing somewhere over the rainbow. As much as we’d all like musicals to actually exist on a daily basis, they don’t. In this song we begin to realize she wishes to be somewhere other than on her farm in Kansas. That brings us to our next archetype. The magic. When Dorothy is swept away in the tornado he can clearly see things passing by her window and doesn’t have a worry that all of the sudden she will be hit by one of these things or her house will collapse. Then when she enters Oz her world changes from sepia to Technicolor. Then shortly after the “witch” Glinda arrives in her magical transportation bubble. That is where we begin to realize “she’s not in Kansas anymore”. Along with this the element of magic is relevant throughout the film and is probably its key component. This brings us back to stories we have previously learned. A major theme of most of them is in fact magic. Especially in the fairtytales we’ve read such as, Snow White and little red cap. Thus, making the Wizard of Oz an American fairytale.

  29. The film the Wizard of Oz closely fits the typical monomyth cycle that we’ve discussed in class. It might be a far stretch, but the Wizard of Oz displays some key archetypes and heroic adventures similar to that of Homer’s Odyssey. In the simplest of summaries, they are both about an individual making their journey home. While both stories are set in completely different times and places, and involve different obstacles, themes, and characters, they both exhibit the basic points of the monomyth cycle; separation, initiation, and return. Dorothy’s separation occurs when her house lands in Munchkin Land. There she meets her mentor Glinda, where soon after her initiation begins as she must follow a yellow brick road to the Wizard of Oz who will send Dorothy home. Along the way, Dorothy meets many characters that become her friends and travel with her to Oz. Her return comes however, when Glinda gives her specific instructions on how to get back to Kansas. Dorothy also fits the typical hero mold as she is orphaned and helps others. She is traditionally unusual because she is female but as society has progressed, it is more common. Overall, the Wizard of Oz fits the monomyth mold like many other texts we have covered this semester.

  30. If you think about it’s history, myth is amazing. Someone, somewhere had to of created a story and throughout time it turned into a well know legend. J.R.R. Tolkien did the same thing when he created the stories surrounding Middle-earth. The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and even The Silmarillion are all epic fantasies meant to please the audience while grabbing them in for an explosive story line. With all the magic and mystery that is experienced during the films, it is easy to imagine how great a read the book series is. It is a time consuming adventure to be able to understand these films, as they have characters with that leave a lasting impression. Gandalf alone draws you in since he is the greatest wizard in the world. These stories excite, and with the amount of detail in them it takes a lot of effort to understand them. our generation must appreciation the work and dedication of J.R.R. Tolkien because these stories will last forever in the world of myth.

  31. In the Wizard of Oz, I was surprised to find so many similarities between Campbell’s idea of myth. It never quite struck me as a mythological film, because I saw it when I was very young. Seeing that this film plays a huge role in today’s society with all of it’s political references that we discussed in class, made me think more about this hidden elements. This weekend, I actually watched a movie on TV called “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” This is a very modernized tale that explains how the Wizzard actually came to be. But in seeing this film, it made me think that the book and the film made back in 1939 was still so influential to this day. We still have modernizations of this film, because it spoke out to a number of different audiences. The excitement of witches and talking animals, brought joy to the children. Yet, the adults often enjoyed the hidden messages lying beneath the shallow surface plot. The Wizzard not actually being a Wizzard (more like a magician) was a hint that anything is possible, and you can come from nothing, but still make something out of yourself. The Wizzard of Oz is still a great film to this day and is one of the key films for both adults and children, with a mythological background.

  32. For my choice i chose to elaborate on the second option of the wizard of Oz. When we look at many fairy tales they all have a similar pattern within them and the wizard of Oz is no different. There are many archetypes in this movie. The first would be the hero and that is obviously Dorothy, she leaves her home and embarks on a very wild journey and returns home but does not bestow any Boones she has on her family but she does learn something which could be her enlightenment. She learns that her home is not as bad as she thought. Than we have our helpful creatures or person(s) this could be the Lion, straw man, and the tin man. They help her along her journey to see the wizard of Oz. Then we have the guide which I believe to be Glinda, she from the start tells Dorothy what she must do to complete her quest home and informs her of the magic ruby red shoes that can help her get there. When we look at all these different characters we see all of the classic archetypes within every fairytale.

  33. For this last blog post, I am going to discuss the Wizard of Oz and how it relates to the typical heroic adventure. With the help of the worksheet that Gust handed out in class on Friday, I have deduced which archetypes reveal themselves within the work. First off, there is the obvious “hero”, Dorothy, even if she does not always act in the heroic manner, such as when she must be saved by her friends and thus turns into the damsel in distress. there is also present a number of other similarities: namely, the mentor (the good witch, Glinda), threshold guardians (the lion, scarecrow, and tin man), the herald (Oz), and the trickster (the wicked witch of the west.) They fit the mold well, falling into the categories with little exceptions such as the imperfections of the “guardians.” Additionally, there is a slight present of a mother and father embodied in the aunt and uncle in that they are her worldy guardians but take little interest in her. Also, the god Toto could be seen as the “child” Dorothy takes care of.
    Similarly, The Wizard of Oz resembles the heroic adventure because there is an ordinary world beginning (when she is seen in the beginning being ignored by her family and living in a small, uneventful town of Kansas), the call to adventure (the storm and ending up in Oz), and meeting with the mentor (finally meeting Oz and all 4 of them getting their wishes.) Additionally, there are many tests, allies, and enemies. The tests include mostly just following the yellow brick road despite difficulties, the allies include her obvious friends and the good witch herself, and the enemies include the wicked witch of the west and her minions (in this case flying monkeys.)
    Finally, there is an ordeal, reward, and return. Dorothy is stolen from her friends by the wicked witch, but rescued by her friends, and they kill the witch with the “infamous” water. Dorothy then leaves Oz and goes back home with the clicking of her heels and realizes that life In Kansas is not as bad, and therefore brings her “boons” home as symbolized in her love for her home and her family. As you can see, there are a lot more similarities than one may think at first glance.

  34. I chose to discuss The Wizard Of Oz in relation to the many archetypes found in the novels and movie. Several themes in The Wizard Of Oz can be seen in many of the myths we’ve studied this semester. One sure archetype in The Wizard Of Oz is the hero figure. The hero figure is a necessity to myth according to Joseph Campbell. Dorothy is the hero in The Wizard Of Oz. A key reason as to why Dorothy can be seen as the hero is her heroic journey. Her journey teaches her many life lessons through her encounters with many mythological creatures- for example, flying monkeys and witches. Dorothy’s heroic journey features a call to action, initiation, and a return home. One archetype seen in many myths is the villain archetype. The villain in The Wizard Of Oz is the wicked witch of the east. She is out to get Dorothy (the hero) and eventually fights and is defeated by Dorothy. Another archetype seen in The Wizard of Oz is the mentor. Glinda, the good witch, is Dorothy’s mentor. She guides her on her quest and in the end helps Dorothy realize that she has the power to travel back home. The scarecrow, lion, and tin man also work as mentor figures. They each help Dorothy achieve her goals of finding her way home. An important aspect of The Wizard Of Oz is the time period in which it was made. The Great Depression was occurring and many people were struggling financially and inter-personally. This movie helps the American people discover their own “home” and gain “brains”, “courage”, and “heart”. The Wizard Of Oz shares many themes and characteristics that other myths have. The Wizard Of Oz is such a well-known and enjoyed mythological tale because of it’s realistic qualities of friendship, adventure, and home.

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