Harry Potter and Beowulf
Have you ever wondered where the concept of creation of the epic hero cycle originated from? For over centuries, the old super hero vs. evil villain story has been told over and over again, and it all started with the Anglo-Saxons’ story of Beowulf. The archetype for all epic hero cycle stories. Various stories evolved from Beowulf, which contain the same concept, but changing the characters, setting, and etc. Beowulf displays heroic character traits, as well as many other heroes today.
For example, one epic hero that possesses heroic qualities is Harry Potter. In my opinion, Harry Potter would be a hero in our society today. Not so much for his physical capabilities, but because he is reluctant to recognize the role that is chosen for him. Both heroes are strikingly similar, and yet they are remarkably different at the same time; Harry has no desire to fight off evil, but when he is called upon, he, like Beowulf, steps up to the plate. They also have similar character traits, like confidence and bravery.
The difference between the two is the loyalty of the people who try to help each character. Beowulf and Harry both have evil enemies they both must fend off. Harry’s evil life long enemy is Voldemort who in turn is like Grendel from Beowulf. Voldemort terrorizes people in the wizarding world, while Grendel disturbs the people of Herot. In the 4th book of the Harry Potter series, which was “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, Voldemort set up a trap near the end of the story to lure in Harry Potter, so he can kill him.
Harry didn’t ask for this to happen, he never wanted to defeat one of the most evil and powerful wizards of the wizarding world, but he was destined to, so he steps up to the plate and fights him. However, Harry was always ready to fight, like Beowulf, he is ready to take on his enemy. In the text of Beowulf, it states, “Then he stepped to another still body, clutched at Beowulf with his claws,grasped at a strong-hearted wakeful sleeper —And was instantly seized himself, claws bent back as Beowulf leaned up on one arm… (The Battle With Grendel) This describes how Grendel unknowingly grabbed Beowulf, and Beowulf was ready to attack Grendel. The two heroes have very similar character traits. The most obvious ones that are shown throughout the story is their confidence and bravery. Harry Potter and Beowulf are both brave and confident because they are not afraid of defeating the enemy for what they want. For example, Harry fights off enemies for the safety of his fellow wizards and witches, whereas Beowulf fights enemies in exchange for pride and fame throughout his village and as well as the safety of the people.
Harry’s life can is described as, “A member of Gryffindor House, Harry is known for showing relentless bravery, courage, and the ability to love, often thrusting himself into life-threatening situations to protect others. ” ( Biography for Harry Potter from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). In his adolescent life he learns to face tough challenges and this makes him brave and confident. Same for Beowulf, he went through many challenges that tested his strength and always came out as the hero in the end. The main difference in the two characters is the level of loyalty they receive from their friends and townspeople.
Harry met many teenagers in his years at school, but the first two he met automatically became his best friends and they stuck with him through all the obstacles that Harry had to face. They helped him get through challenges that tested his knowledge of, for example, potions and chess, which saved their lives by helping each other out. Beowulf on the other hand had people who were going to help him defeat Grendel’s mother, but once his people saw the horrendous monster, they quickly fled leaving Beowulf and his only loyal friend to defeat Grendel’s mother.
In the end, it was Beowulf who defeated the monster anyways. That was one of the main differences between the two stories. Beowulf and Harry Potter are overall very similar with some few differences. From their characteristic traits, and quest to defeat an evil villain, those are some similarities. With the main difference concerning loyalty of their people. Harry Potter can be considered a modern version of Beowulf, well if you really analyze both stories.