Heroes are Made from Choices
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We are all heroes. Haven’t we all had an unbeatable situation where for some strange reason evil has won multiple times? Of course, we have, many of us suffer from depressive disorders and we become codependent of others around us. We feel that if we don’t have someone to save us, that we will never find our way out. Yes, its true many of us have almost lost the battle once or twice and many others aren’t here to tell us how things went. But that ones that made it, those are the true heroes. On a Daly basis, we see heroes walk around us without saying a peep. They are everyday people that we encounter, with common lives, with battles that we know nothing about. Heroes come in many shapes colors and ages. A hero does not have to fit the common profile. “Point is that the choices one makes generally reveal more about one’s moral character that does one’s abilities” (Klein 2). See we can all be heroes and I’m sure most of us have been one at a point in our life. Heroism doesn’t have to be precisely what we see on tv or what we read in books, sometimes heroism is just an act of kindness that came right on time to help a person in distress.
In literature, we find different types of heroes, the most common one is the Epic hero. This kind of hero is the one that becomes a hero because he/she was the chosen one by God. This hero is brave, wise and poeses extraordinary skills that give him the abilities to overthrow the doings of evil ones. He is selfless and is always looking for a way to help those in need. But for a hero to become a true hero he must pass different stages. Many attempts to talk the talk but ends up that they can’t walk the walk. Other heroes that we may encounter when we read or watch a movie can be the tragic hero, the Byronic hero and the anti-hero. No matter what type of hero we may encounter they all go through a series of tasks before becoming a true hero. According to Joseph Campbell, American Mythological Researcher, the true heroes journey consists of three faces, “Departure, Initiation and Return”.
The Departure stage happens when the call for adventure comes to the potential hero. He finds himself in a difficult situation that he must overcome. In this stage, our hero may or may not accept the calling. After accepting the call, he will receive help from a supernatural aid who will provide him with a protection amulet or lucky charm. This is the face where he will cross the magical gateway that takes him to an unknown world. This face is where the real commitment comes in. (Campbell 47)
Then we have the initiation stage. This is where after crossing the magical gateway our hero faces several obstacles that will determine if he can handle his calling. He will undergo many tasks, some he will win and many others he will lose. Once passing the first faces of this stage he will come to meet the Goddess (Campbell 101). In this face, he will receive a blessing of unconditional love that will be with him through his journey. The hero may or may not encounter a temptation that can cause him to abort the whole mission. This is normally represented by a female figure. This is a face known as the “Woman as the Temptress” (Campbell 112). In this face, he will acquire supreme knowledge and will receive blessings awarded to him by a God or superior being.
Finally, we have the Return stage. This face might require overcoming a few obstacles more and will receive help from some sort of divine intervention. In order to return to his natural world, he will have to once again cross a magical gate. He might encounter a final battle before crossing. Once he has crossed from the magical world to his natural world, he will have to fuse his new acquired magical knowledge this way bringing the benefit not only for him but for all humankind. Finally, he will come to the face according to Campbell “Freedom to live” (Campbell). In this final face, the hero will decide his own fate either getting married, becoming someone of importance or a ruler.
Let’s take Harry Potter as an example of an epic hero. He is brave and even though he was raised in the muggle world he has naturally born knowledge. He apparently commits selfless acts, (note that I say apparently because to me it seems that the only reason that he becomes a hero is that he is trying to save himself from being killed) and takes the mission to save the magic world. He undergoes through many tasks that are life-risking but world-saving (so even if the act was selfish, he ends up benefiting many wizards and witches as well as the muggle world).
In the Harry Potter series our main character is a child who survived a mass murder. We can say that he was the chosen one by the gods to defeat evil. And why not if he survived the killing curse, the Avada Kedavra. He lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, who treat him terribly, but he must submit because he has nowhere else to go. Then he finally receives the calling to adventure. This is represented by the acceptance letter he receives from Howards. Here is where Hagrid comes into the picture and informs him about his magical powers, this is where he truly takes the decision to accept or reject the calling. Even though he doubts what he sees he still accepts to go with Hagrid into the unknown (of course who would want to stay in a place where one I constantly being mentally emotionally and physically abused). Then we have the crossing into the magical world, Hagrid takes Harry into the Leaky Cauldron pub which is the secret entrance to Diagon Alley. Here is where Harry begins to accept that he will become wizard he was meant to be (or maybe the way of avoiding his cruel reality).
The initiation stage in the movie Harry Potter is depicted when he is assigned to his house by the sorting hat. This is where the adventure really begins. The first encounter with evil is when he is presented in front of professor Quirrell in HP&SS here is where he for the second time sees Lord Voldemort but it’s the first time that he must battle evil with his own hands. In this part of the saga is where he discovers the real power, the power he doubted to have. The second encounter occurs in the chamber of secrets where he must beat the basilisk in order to destroy young Tom Riddle and save Gennie Weaselly. In this battle, I seam that Harry will lose when out of nowhere he receives supernatural aid. This is represented by the sorting hat presenting the Gryffindor sword and Fawkes that help him defeat the basilisk and kill the memory of Tom Riddle. In the HP&PA harry encounters the dementors who feed out of the sadness of people and even though he is afraid that he might not be able to defeat these he manages to do so with a full body Patronus. In HP&GF we find harry beyond the presence of the Goddess that in this case is presented when he is battling Lord Voldemort and his parents appear. His mother gives him the strength to let go of the connection of the wands and to go back and warn the rest. She gives him the strength necessary to continue and know that his battle has a purpose. In HP&OP and HP&HBP Harry is presented with what might be considered the temptress that is where evil starts to tempt him and he fears he might be more alike to Lord Voldemort than what he thought. This is where Dumbledore tells him that what makes and defines him are not the similarities but how he differs from Lord Voldemort. He continues to encounter small battles throughout the series that are preparing him for the final battle with Lord Voldemort which takes us to our final stage.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is our final part of this saga. This film represents the return of harry potter. He must go through smaller battles against the death eaters in order to find and destroy all the Horcrux. Here is where he encounters the final battle where he wins over evil and prepares him to go back to his natural world, the world where he no longer needs to be the hero. In this part is where Harry finally understands that he was raised to fight this battle that might kill him but that there was no one else who could fight this, this was his calling. Harry Potter like a true hero, of course, wins this battle which brings him to the final face of this stage. His freedom to live, represented at the very end of the film of HP&DH where we see him taking his now eleven-year-old son to that same train station where he initiated his trajectory.
Harry Potter could have been a bad guy like Lord Voldemort, but he is not. What makes them different is depicted throughout the entire saga. Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter have everything in common except for love. They are both orphans that went through rough childhoods. They both possess incredible powers and abilities that would make them powerful wizards. What differs them is that Harry Potter has a cause to fight for the death of his parent and the love of his new family. Lord Voldemort has no love for others but himself, he acts out of selfishness, he lies and tricks people into joining him and if they don’t, they face death (like HP parents). So, what really makes Harry Potter a hero is not that he has all these incredible abilities, but the choices he makes. He could have chosen to use his powers and abilities to do evil, but he didn’t. This is what makes a true hero. See we can all be heroes of our own story it all depends on the choices we make.