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Rankian Analysis of Harry Potter

Rankian Analysis of Harry Potter

Excelsior College
Rankian Analysis of Harry Potter

Otto Rank was a psychoanalyst and a colleague of Sigmund Freud. Rank developed
theories about family relationships. He used his clinical experience to classify his theories; one
of those theories is the “family romance”. This theory states that a child first glorifies their
parents and then becomes disenchanted. Grimes’ analysis shows that the Harry Potter stories are
a wonderful illustration of the way stories with mythological meaning continue to enthrall people
in contemporary society, providing them with images expressing their fears, hopes, and dreams.
(Thury 662)

While Harry Potter does not fit into all Rank’s ten categories; it does fulfill eight of them.
Based on the information in the first movie, we are not led to believe that Harry’s conception has
any unique traits or qualities. We do not see Harry take revenge on his father or his father’s

We have learned by studying Campbell in previous chapters and his book The Hero with
a Thousand Faces; the departure begins the call to adventure. Campbell states, “[a] blunder—
apparently the merest chance—reveals an unsuspected world, and the individual [the hero] is
drawn into a relationship with forces that are not rightly understood” (51). Harry Potter call to
adventure begins with his encounter with the snake. Harry unable to answer the refusal of the
call happens because the Dursleys will not allow him to open the mail addressed to him. We
witness all three stages of the hero's journey, the departure, initiation, and the return.

Harry displays the values of humility, independence, courage, and loyalty. His humility is
evident throughout the movie. As he grows in fame and accomplishments, he never treats anyone
one different. He remains humble. He shows great courage to save his friends and to protect the
Sorcerers’ Stone.

We are drawn to the hero and the emotional roll coaster that accompany him/her on as
they progress through their journey. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. wrote in the forward in the
2004 edition of Hero with a Thousand Faces, “People who find resonant heroic themes of
challenges and questing in their own lives, in their goals, creative outpourings, in their day- and
night-dreams—are being led to a single psychic fact. That is, that the creative and spiritual lives
of individuals influence the outer world as much as the mythic world influences the individual.”
Rankian Analysis of Harry Potter


Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With a Thousand Faces. 2nd ed. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton
University Press, 1973. Print

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. (2001). [DVD] J.K. Rowling.

Thury, Drexel University Eva M., Temple University Margaret Devinney. Introduction to
Mythology: Contemporary Approaches to Classical and World Myths, 3rd Edition.
Oxford University Press, 2012. VitalBook file.