Category Archives: Response 4

What Makes a Hero?

Throughout the literary world there is an assortment of different types of heroic characters. Although each of these figures faces different challenges within their stories, many of them share similar tales in how they each became a hero. Within these stories there is a theme of both the beginning of a person’s life and the deeds of the person shaping the person into a hero. In keeping with this theme J.K. Rowling writes about Harry Potter in her story, “The Prisoner of Azkaban”, becoming a hero because he is molded by both his circumstances and actions.


Ever since he was little the wizarding world has always admired Harry as a hero because it was through him that Voldemort was defeated. “Harry had escaped from the same attack with nothing but a scar on his forehead, where Voldemort’s curse, instead of killing him rebounded upon its originator” (Rowling 6). In the beginning of the story, “The Prisoner of Azkaban” it is the events that surround Harry’s first meeting with Voldemort that make him a hero, not Harry’s accomplishments.  By causing the collapse of Voldemort’s power Harry begins his journey of heroism.

Another reason Harry is a hero is because he is willing to help others even when it puts him in danger. “‘Right-who wants ter go first?’ The hippogriffs were tossing their fierce heads… ‘No one?’ said Hagrid with a pleading look. ‘I’ll do it,’ said Harry” (Rowling 115). Hippogriffs are dangerous creatures and no one is willing to try their hand at making friends with them because they are too scared. Harry is also nervous, however because he loves Hagrid he is willing to face the hippogriffs even though he could get hurt. In this scene Harry begins to become a more active type of hero because he allows himself into a situation that could cause him harm.

Finally, Harry is a hero because he is persistent in the sight of danger. “Harry felt a lurch of fear. He wasn’t ready. How could he make a dementor less frightening…it came to halt at Harry’s feet. He raised his wand, ready” (Rowling136-138)[.] Harry is truly frightened by the dementor even in boggart form; however he faces his fear and strives to defeat the monster anyway. Though he fears the dementors Harry shows ultimate courage in his decision to continue trying to conquer the dementors.

Throughout “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” J.K. Rowling shows a continual theme thoughout literature in her character Harry Potter.  Like most heroic characters it through both events within his life and his courageous deeds that cause him to become a hero. Although the events surrounding his birth affect his heroism, it is truly his unselfishness, courageousness, and persistence that make Harry Potter a true hero.










Lyra’s betrayal is presented when Lyra unknowingly brought Roger to Lord Asriel under his “command.”  When Lyra is asleep she is awoken by Thorold, who was talking in tremble. Thorold was panicking, because Lord Asriel kidnapped Roger when Lyra was asleep.  “It was because he needed a child to finish his experiment, miss!  And Lord Asriel has away special to himself of bringing about what he wants, he just has to call for something…(Pullman 333)”  This is where Lyra realizes that Lord Asriel is going to cut Roger’s daemon away in order to harness the loose energy and open a door to another universe.  She knows now that it was her fault that Roger was kidnapped by Lord Asriel and she must be the one to save him.

Lyra fulfills the Master’s initial prediction about her and ends up betraying Roger.  “Yes.  Lyra has a part to play in all this, and a major one.  The irony is that she must do it all without realizing what she’s doing (Pullman 28).”  At the beginning of the book we find out that Lyra is the main character who is also the key subject to Lord Asriel fulfilling his plan.  “No, no, that’s the saddest thing: she will be the betrayer, and the experience will be terrible.  She mustn’t know that of course…(Pullman 29)” Soon after that we also find out that she will also be the betrayer of her best friend without even knowing it.  This is something that betrayal suggests about Pullman’s fantasy-universe.  You can be committing actions without even realizing it, or in this case, you could be betraying your best friend who you are actually trying to save without even knowing it.  This goes to show that in Pullman’s fantasy-universe there are lots of different things going on that can serve as distractions.  For example, when Lyra finds out that Lord Asriel is her real father she confronts him in the fortress where he is being held captive.   Lyra tries to give Lord Asriel the alethiometer, but he refuses it.  Lord Asriel was being so nice to them that he showed no signs of being an enemy.  Also when they first arrive at the fortress, Lord Asriel panics until he sees Roger.  This was all an act that Lord Asriel put on to try and kidnap Roger, and in the end it worked.