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.)
Harry spends his summers in the Muggle world where he has to put up with constant harassment from his cousin, Dudley.
Call To Adventure
When Harry and Dudley are attacked by dementors, Harry manages to fight them off. Woo-hoo—Harry's a hero.
Refusal Of The Call
Not quite. Harry receives a letter from the Ministry of Magic informing him that he's being expelled from Hogwarts. Wow. This is gonna be a short movie.
Meeting The Mentor
Harry is whisked away to a safe house in London by members of the Order of the Phoenix—a secret society fighting Voldemort. Dumbledore also swoops in and saves Harry from expulsion. Old mentors die hard.
Crossing The Threshold
Choo-cho: all aboard the Hogwarts Express. There, Harry realizes that he can see magical creatures called Thestrals for the first time because he has witnessed a person dying. The boy's all grown up now.
Tests, Allies, Enemies
At Hogwarts, Harry finds out he has many enemies—namely Dolores Umbridge and Cornelius Fudge, who think he's lying about Voldemort being back. But he's got friends, too. Harry starts teaching a Defense Against the Dark Arts club in his spare time called Dumbledore's Army.
Approach To The Inmost Cave
One day, Harry sees a vision of his godfather, Sirius Black, being tortured and knows he needs to go to the Ministry of Magic to rescue him.
He'll have to get through Umbridge first. When she catches Harry and his friends trying to escape through the Floo Network in her office, they trick her into going to the Forbidden Forest and a herd of centaurs carry her off. Professor Umbridge really does hate children.
Reward (Seizing The Sword)
Harry and friends make it to the Ministry of Magic to save Sirius but he's not there. Instead they find a glowing white orb with Harry's name on it…which turns out to be a prophecy which explains his connection to Voldemort…that the Death Eaters are after. Oops.
The Road Back
Harry escapes the Hall of Prophecies and is joined by Sirius and other members of the Order of the Phoenix. Just when the fight with the Death Eaters is going their way, Sirius is killed by Bellatrix Lestrange.
In the main hall of the Ministry of Magic, Dumbledore and Voldemort battle it out. In the end, Voldemort possesses Harry but Harry manages to fight him off with all the love and friendship he feels in his heart. Seriously, Voldemort hates hugs.
Return With The Elixir
Harry and friends head home for the summer with the knowledge that their fight against Voldemort is a gonna be a real pain in the butt.