chapter  1
18 Pages

Harry Potter , Greek myth and epic storytelling

This chapter argues for the influence on Harry Potter of one of the oldest forms of spoken story that we have: the epic poems of Homer. Aspects of Harry Potter – such as the Veela who derive from the Sirens in the Odyssey and the return of Cedric's body – show the influence of Homer upon the series. Richard A. Spencer's recent study of Rowling's classical allusions provides evidence for the extensive influence of Greek and Roman myth, languages and literature on Harry Potter. It is the quotation from Aeschylus' Libation Bearers prefacing Deathly Hallows that makes the influence of Greek literature on Harry Potter explicit. Homer's oral composition is reflected in a number of stylistic aspects, such as his repetitive narrative structures: frequently repeated 'building blocks' of language or story. These regular repetitions also take place within a more formal ring or 'chiastic' structure, in which events are repeated in an inverse order.