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SS: Fairy tales, myths, and legends

Many novels of high fantasy borrow from the traditional stories of fairy tales, myths, and legends. The dog Fluffy which guards the trapdoor at Hogwarts School resembles Cerberus, the three-headed dog which guards the underworld of Greek mythology. What other creatures from traditional tales are paralleled in the story? How does each of these creatures play a pivotal role in advancing the plot?

Re: SS: Fairy tales, myths, and legends

  • (I know exactly where you got these questions from!)

    Obviously the centaurs. The difference is that JKR depicts them as seeing themselves as above humans, wherein mythology they are often represented as struggling to overcome their animal nature and reconcile their human selves to their animal selves. 


  • Maybe that's the explanation for the Sasquatch and yeti that we humans "see" from time to time.  They're giants. 

    Don't forget Nicolas Flamel and the Sorcerer's Stone.  There is a myth based on that.  I've read about it in other places.


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  • I'm only guessing becuase I can't remember much form my Myth & Religion class but is the phoenix a popular creature in traditional mythology? I would assume. So is the gryffindor, right?



  • The gryffin is as is the phoenix.  Agrippa was also rumored to be a powerful witch and she appears on the Chocolate Frog cards.


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  • image RevJen:

    Don't forget Nicolas Flamel and the Sorcerer's Stone.  There is a myth based on that.  I've read about it in other places.

    Duh. I knew there was a big one I was forgetting. There's actually another YA fiction series based on this. The first one is called The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.

  • Merlin was also mentioned on a chocolate frog card, and he was obviously the wizard in the King Arthur/Camelot legends.

    Personally, I love how Rowling intermixes these mythical beasts and persons into her work. It really makes it fun for these things and people to "exist," just that we the muggles are totally clueless. I think it adds a lot of dimension to her storytelling.

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  • Nicholas Flamel is a real person who attempted to make a real Philosophers Stone, which would turn lead into gold.  I think it's pretty interesting how JKR took a factual piece of little known history and changed it just enough to fit into the story.
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