Ever notice that every blockbuster movie has the same fundamental pieces? A hero, a journey, some conflicts to muck it all up, a reward, and the hero returning home and everybody applauding his or her swag? Yeah, scholar Joseph Campbell noticed first—in 1949. He wrote The Hero with a Thousand Faces, in which he outlined the 17 stages of a mythological hero's journey.
About half a century later, Christopher Vogler condensed those stages down to 12 in an attempt to show Hollywood how every story ever written should—and, uh, does—follow Campbell's pattern. We're working with those 12 stages, so take a look. (P.S. Want more? We have an entire Online Course devoted to the hero's journey.)
Well, we're not sure Harry's been in the "ordinary world" since he first learned that he was a secret wizard, but let's leave that aside. When the movie begins, he's clearly been spending his summer holidays with the Weasleys, which seems peaceful enough.
Call To Adventure
However, Harry has also been having nightmares featuring arch nemesis Voldemort, Wormtail (that's the dude who helped Voldemort find and kill his parents), and some other guy he doesn't recognize. He can't tell if the dream is somehow real or, you know, just a dream.
And to pile on to all that: when they attend the Quidditch World Cup, Harry and his friends run into some Death Eaters (i.e., Voldemort's followers), and someone sends up the Dark Mark. What's that? Basically a sign of solidarity with the Dark Lord and his kind. So, not a good thing.
Oh, and then on top of all that: Harry's name gets entered in a super dangerous tournament intended only for older students. He's not old enough to compete, so he didn't enter his name for consideration…but someone else (someone who really knows their magic) got around the magically imposed age restriction and made sure he was selected to play.
Refusal Of The Call
Harry's dumbfounded when he is selected to compete in the Triwizard Tournament. Hermione basically has to force him to snap out of his initial shock, stand up, and join the other competitors at the front of the room, when Dumbledore announces who has been chosen.
Meeting The Mentor
A few people help Harry out in the course of the Triwizard Tournament, including Hagrid (who lets Harry know he'll be fighting dragons in the first task), Cedric (who tips Harry off on how to solve the clue to the second task), and Neville (who points him toward Gillyweed to help him survive the second task).
He probably gets the most actually mentoring from Professor Moody, though, who tries to give him a leg up here and there.
Of course, Moody is behind a lot more of Harry's successes in the tournament, but we (and Harry) don't find that out until much later…let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Crossing The Threshold
Even though no one is really that happy that Harry's competing (including Harry), the rules are apparently set in stone: the magic selector cup (a.k.a. the Goblet of Fire) picked him, and so he has to go ahead with it. So, Harry resigns himself to the fact that he'll be battling older wizards with lots more skills. Groan.
Tests, Allies, Enemies
You're probably getting the picture that the odds were kind of stacked against Harry from the get go, but don't worry: he actually does pretty well. Extremely well, actually.
He manages to defeat the most difficult dragon in the first task, and then is so brave in the second that he ends up being awarded second place despite technically finishing last. Not bad for the youngest/least skilled wizard in the bunch, eh?
Approach To The Inmost Cave
Because he's been such a whiz in the previous tasks, Harry gets to start the third and final challenge (a scary maze) first along with Cedric. One competitor gets eliminated pretty quickly, and another gets bewitched (the maze likes to "change" people, you see). So, Harry and Cedric are the only ones left at the end, with the Triwizard Cup in sight…
Harry and Cedric start going for the cup, but Cedric gets caught up in some of the maze's aggressive greenery. Like, it's so aggressive that it seems like it might kill Cedric. Despite the fact that Harry is about the nicest and most honest guy in the world, the maze is working its magic on him, and he considers just leaving Cedric there.
He snaps out of it pretty quickly, though, and frees Cedric.
Reward (Seizing The Sword)
When he and Cedric reach the cup, Cedric's going to let Harry have the victory alone, but Harry won't hear if it (since Cedric prevented one of the other competitors from hurting Harry earlier). So, they grab the cup at the same time. Victory!
The Road Back
Well, er, not so fast. When Cedric and Harry grab the cup, it transports them into a spooky graveyard where Wormtail and the semi-disembodied Lord Voldemort are waiting. Yeah—our hero is in some serious trouble.
Lord V. wants to be made whole again, and apparently that involves stealing some of Harry's blood and mixing it with a few other ingredients to abracadabra a body back.
To that end, Lord Voldemort has Wormtail immobilize Harry and cut a huge gash in his warm. Cedric is of no use to Voldemort, though, so he orders Wormtail to kill the boy immediately. Unfortunately, Wormtail is extremely obedient. #RIPCedric
We don't get much time to mourn Cedric, though, because Voldemort's little science project works. And you now what that means: he's baaack.
Well, Voldemort has just been resurrected, but this is supposed to be about Harry…and he is in some serious trouble once Voldemort gets his body back.
Voldemort intends to kill Harry, but he wants to do it in a duel. Harry manages to fight off the killing curse Voldemort aims at him and barely escapes. On his way out of the graveyard, he grabs Cedric's body to bring back to Hogwarts.
Return With The Elixir
Well, "elixir" isn't exactly the word we'd use, but he does come back with the very useful knowledge that Voldemort is back in business. Sure, it's not exactly welcome news, but it's important that everyone recognize this fact. Whether they do or not…well, you'll have to wait and see in the next film.