Harry Potter in Greece?
By: Devina (The Charmed One)
In answer to the obvious question: No, Harry Potter is not in Greece. He hasn't ever gone there and as far as I know, J.K. Rowling isn't planning to send him there. This article is all about the influence of Greek mythology on Harry Potter. There are scattered references that I picked up and may give us some indications of where the story is going.
The first obvious inference is Fluffy!!! The adorable three-headed dog that we met in the first book, guarding the entrance to the maze that let to the Philosopher's Stone (Or the Sorcerer's Stone, as some know it). Hagrid mentions that he got Fluffy (whatever possessed him to call it "Fluffy"???) from a 'Greek chappie'. As some might know, Cerberus was a three-headed dog in Greek mythology that prevented souls from escaping Tartarus, the underworld at the Styx. Fluffy can definitely be that three-headed dog even though Cerberus was supposed to have a serpent in place of a tail and lion-like manes bristling with snakes. Hagrid also mentioned that music puts Fluffy to sleep. Orpheus played his lyre when he went to Tartarus to get his dead wife, Eurydice, back. Cerberus let him through after listening to his music. Note that a lyre was used in PS to put Fluffy to sleep. Another thing connecting Cerberus to Harry Potter: wolfsbane/monkshood/aconite. It is believed that when the deadly white foam from Cerberus's jaws met with grass, does the plant of aconite grow. Anyways, since Fluffy, uh, I mean, Cerberus was a guard to prevent the dead from escape, could that mean Fluffy has a new job coming up as the Azkaban guard? Azkaban is literally described as Hell and Cerberus, I mean, Fluffy can be the guard. Although the problem of the music needs to be sorted out!
Luna Lovegood, one of the new, yet important characters was introduced in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Her name 'Luna' means 'the Moon'. And it is also the Latin name for the Greek Goddess Selene, who was basically the Moon. The Moon gives light in the darkness, which implies that Luna might be the one to shine in the latter books when darkness i.e. evil prevails. Watch out for a central part played by Luna in the future books.
We can also take the example of Minerva McGonagall. Minerva is the Latin translation of Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge. It's very appropriate that Minerva a.k.a. Athena is a wise teacher who guides Harry along the way.
Of course, Remus, in Roman mythology, had a twin brother Romulus and many people speculated that Remus Lupin had a twin brother, until Rowling put rest to those rumours herself.
Many people think that the Sphinx comes from Egypt. That's true, but the Sphinx, in Greek mythology, is monster with the head and breasts of a woman, the body of a lion, and the wings of a bird. Her name means "throttler". This is just a reference to the many influences of Greek mythology in the books.
Hermione, in Greek mythology, was the daughter of Helen of Troy (the face that launched a 1000 ships) and Menelaus, king of Sparta. Although she was betrothed to Orestes, king of Mycenae, after the Trojan War Hermione married Neoptolemus, the son of the Greek hero Achilles. Orestes later killed Neoptolemus and became Hermione's second husband. Although this might seem far-fetched, maybe Hermione Granger has two men fighting over her? Viktor Krum and Ron Weasley? No killings here, just a parallel comparison of what's possible.
Cassandra Trelawney was Sibyl Trelawney's ancestor. J.K. Rowling has chosen these names with great care. Cassandra, in Greek mythology, was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. The god Apollo, who loved Cassandra, granted her the gift of prophecy, but when she refused to return his love, Apollo made the gift useless by decreeing that no one would believe her predictions. As for Sibyl: Sibyl, in Greek and Roman mythology, was any woman inspired with prophetic power by the god Apollo. The sibyls prophesied in a frenzied trance. Whenever Sibyl Trelawney makes a true prophecy (and of these we have read of two) she goes into a weird trance.
Severus Snape=Perseus Evans (Yeah, I know it can also be 'Pursues Evans', but I'm sticking with 'Perseus' for now). Perseus was a famous Greek who killed the Gorgon Medusa. Medusa was a Gorgon who had snakes for hair and anyone who looked into her eyes turned to stone. And in CoS, who can overlook a giant snake who can kill people by them looking at the Basilisk's eyes and managed to Petrify ('turn to stone') so many people? Medusa=Basilisk? Hmm…food for thought. However, it was Harry, not Snape, who killed the Basilisk, but besides that, the comparison is too hard-hitting to miss. Another thing about Perseus, he was incidentally (ok, not incidentally, Zeus planned it all; the scheming old Immortal! You might be interested to know, Zeus was the father of Perseus as well as Heracles) the great-grandfather of Heracles or Hercules (which implies that Perseus was Heracles' great-grandfather and half-brother!). Yup, Perseus's granddaughter was Alcmena, the mother of Heracles. I think of Harry as an equal to Heracles. I mean, Heracles was the savior of the Immortals, as Harry is the savior of the wizarding world. However, Snape is not all that old to be Harry's great-grandfather, he was as old as his parents, nor is he his half-brother or anything of the sort (at least, I hope not! Who wants to be Snape's brother?). But this leads me to think that perhaps Snape is related to Lily and Harry in some way. Yet another thing about him, he rescued Princess Andromeda and married her. Remember Andromeda? And I mean the Andromeda of the Harry Potter world. She was the mother of Nymphadora Tonks. I am not implying Snape married her, that's not possible anyway, since Nymphadora mentioned her father was a Muggle.
I found these references extremely interesting and I hope you did too. If you can think of any more references to Greek mythology, however obscure, in the Harry Potter series, send me your views on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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