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 Call to Adventure
Awakening to Adventure in Harry Potter
Analysis By Lynne Milum
Copyright © 2003-2007 by Lynne Milum. All rights reserved.

Call to Adventure for the Series

Harry, after eleven years of a substandard existence in a home of little love and ignorance of his beginnings, is introduced to a magical world. A place he never imagined existed… Harry’s first significant notice of extraordinary possibilities comes during a conversation with a boa constrictor at the zoo and Harry sets the snake free.

This event initiates a series of forbidden and unspoken questions in Harry’s mind. Letters addresses to Harry are delivered but he is prevented from seeing the contents. In essence, this is a call unanswered due to intervention by his guardian, Vernon Dursley. In response to these mysterious letters, Dursley flees with his family and Harry – but the letters still manage to follow. Finally, through magical means (and extraordinary strength), a "messenger" subdues Dursley and finally delivers the message. Harry is a wizard, and the letter is a welcome to Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchraft. Hagrid, a half giant, is the messenger and poses the "Call" for which Harry departs his ordinary life.

Trial 1 – Gringott’s Bank – Attempted Robbery
(From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

Recognition of Harry’s first adventure at Hogwarts is prompted by receipt of the Daily Prophet newspaper. Harry recognizes the vault number that was broken into at Gringotts Bank, and he knows that Hagrid removed a small item shortly before the attempted robbery. He shares the information with his friends Ron and Hermione – it is the mystery of immortality that beckons them to the adventure. Before crossing the threshold, the trio gathers clues, spells, and knowledge of ‘devices’ (invisibility cloak, broom flying, wizard chess, and the Mirror of Erised) that will help solve the mystery.

Trial 2 – The Chamber of Secrets
(From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

In the second adventure, Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, a new mystery comes into play – one that accentuates Harry’s dark connection to Voldemort. Harry, Ron and Hermione again team up to solve the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets. But this time, Harry is perceived as the one propagating the fear and paralysis of the victims. Hermione, even though incapacitated, conveys a final clue to Ron and Harry – they know the beast to be defeated. While Hermione’s attack by the basilisk escalates the adventure, the call to cross the threshold takes place when Ginny is taken into the Chamber. Harry returns to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom to answer the Call, armed with his knowledge of the beast, his parsel-tongue ability and the adage from Dumbledore that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.

Trial 3 – Sirius Black
(From Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

Harry’s exposure to a dark mystery of his own past is introduced very early in the third adventure. After fleeing the Dursley’s again, Harry overhears Ron’s parents talking about prison escapee Sirius Black. Harry, Ron and Hermione learn more about Harry’s father James Potter, and his 3 closest friends – Remus Lupin, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew. The messenger is the black dog Grim, who unbeknownst to Harry, is Sirius. Remus Lupin, as the DADA professor, is also a messenger and protector, who teaches Harry self-defense against dementors. Lupin also is a competent professor that provides the trio with a host of spells to call upon. Another device introduced is the Marauders Map – key to solving the innocence of Black. Ron’s endangerment with the Grim is the catalyst for Harry to move into the realm of the unknown – first encountering the Shrieking Shack, second in revealing the unconventional truth, and finally as defense of truth and Black’s innocence through the use of Time.

Trial 4 – Triwizard Championship
(From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

After a reminder of Voldemorts presence at the Quidditch World Cup, Harry returns to a very different school year. The Triwizard Cup challenge is to be hosted, and there will be students from other wizarding schools in attendance. Challengers must be 17 years of age to compete. Barriers are put in place to prevent underage participants. Despite these measures, Harry at age 14 is named as a reluctant champion. Following much discussion, it is determined that Harry must compete – and Harry pays the unwanted price of Ron’s friendship as the consequence of being Called.

Trial 5 – Cold Reception
(From Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)

The dementors’ arrival in Little Whinging is the ‘cold’ introduction to the fifth adventure. Harry must not only save himself, he saves his cousin Dudley and faces possible expulsion for doing so. This event begins the ‘descent’ into a new arena for Harry – the World of the Order and subsequently the government workings at the Ministry of Magic. Harry’s mini-adventure in facing the tribunal attempting to expel him also introduces him to new questions. Mrs. Figg is a Squibb? Aunt Petunia knows about dementors and Azkaban? Harry himself is capable of mercy even towards Dudley? These questions drive Harry as a call to this adventure to combat his own perceived dark side.

Trial 6 – Petunia’s Warning
(From Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince)

Harry’s introduction to the sixth adventure is marked by an unusual visit – Albus Dumbledore himself comes to retrieve Harry from the Dursley abode. Dumbledore has his face-to-face with the Dursleys, insisting on Harry’s return the following summer as necessary for his survival. Dumbledore also mentions that Sirius has left everything including #12 Grimmauld Place to Harry – which gets a greedy response from Vernon. Before escorting Harry to the Weasley’s to spend the remaining summer, Harry travels by sidecar Apparition to visit Slughorn and finds out the Dumbledore will be giving him private lessons – this experience transitions Harry to the new adventure.

 



 

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