As we explored previously, Mr. Potter is more than the Boy Who Lived, he is the quintessential “Fair Unknown”, the youth who travels to a great court and proves himself against all odds. But, what about Harry’s friends? Do they have any significance to the Arthurian legend in the same manner of Harry?
Maybe they do and maybe they do not. This depends on whether you believe that Harry Potter is an Arthurian narrative. If you are like me, however, and believe that this is, in fact, the case, then you will already know that there is a whole host of characters who still need assigning. It is great to know that Harry is the Fair Unknown but what about everyone else?
Helping to figure out who is who, below, I have jotted down some basic ideas on who I feel each Harry Potter character could be in relation to the Arthurian legend. You will notice that not every character is tightly sealed, but if you have some comments or suggestions on what character fits what character best, please do not hesitate to comment below.
Harry Potter=King Arthur?
Being the protagonist of the franchise, it would make sense for Harry to be the Arthur-figure. After all, other than Harry’s numerous battles against the forces of evil, we see in the film adaptation of the first book, Harry grasping his wand from Olivander’s fingers before the camera pans down looking up at Harry, a beam of light shining down from the ceiling as mysterious winds blow throughout the store. Clearly, this is the “pulling Excalibur from the stone” moment if there ever was one!
And yet, this clashes with Harry’s obvious position as the Fair Unknown. After all, as we explored last time, the Fair Unknown is the one who travels to King Arthur’s court, not Arthur himself.
If we followed this setup, it would be Dumbledore who is the Arthur-figure, not Harry. As headmaster and lord of the castle, Dumbledore would make a fine king. But, as illustrated below, Dumbledore’s figure is clearly illustrated as someone else; as such, this is simply a moment where we as readers must accept that Harry’s role is a little anachronistically aligned with the Arthurian mythos.
As an internationally known wizard famous for his spells, it is clear that no one other than Dumbledore is suited for the position of Merlin. Being an aid to Harry while informing him of the ins and outs of the wizarding world, Dumbledore resides in one of Hogwarts’s highest towers, thus cementing his lineage to the even more famous wizard who, legend tells, enjoyed living in tall towers. Sweetening the deal is that Dumbledore holds the rank of “Merlin, First Class” in the elite wizarding defense against the Dark Arts league.
King Arthur’s most loyal knight, Lancelot is by Arthur’s side through thick and thin. Obviously, then, Ron makes the clearest choice for Lancelot; Harry’s first friend at Hogwarts and always ready to deck it out with one of Harry’s mood swings, Ron is a loyal friend. Though in the legend Lancelot eventually betrays King Arthur and such never happens with Ron and Harry, we do see in the Goblet of Fire Ron seemingly backstabbing Harry with him not believing that Harry did not put his name in the goblet. As we know, their friendship suffered some in that instance, although it quickly recovered.
It seems natural that Hermione is Queen Guinevere, Arthur’s bride. But, since in the books Harry dates Ginny, not Hermione, Ginny would be the better pick for pure logical reasoning. Though, it feels cheating Hermione out of a proper inclusion in this post to say she does not have any real position. It looks like this position is up for debate, though it looks unfortunate that Hermione doesn’t have a solid spot.
Hagrid=The Green Knight?
In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the “Green Giant” is an intruder in Arthur’s hall during the Christmas holiday. Challenging Gawain, one of Arthur’s bravest knights, to a daring challenge of enduring lethal ax blows, Hagrid, thankfully, does not repeat such dangerous challenges to Harry and company. Even so, as gamekeeper and eventual professor of magical monsters, Hagrid fits well the description of the Green Knight: tall, muscular, and imposing, the knight is clad wholly in green to the point where his skin itself is tinted green. Hagrid, being half-giant, is likewise huge and though he is not literally green, his knack with all things wild and natural makes him a natural fit for this spot.
Bellatrix LestrangeMorgan Le Fay
One of King Arthur’s on again off again nemesis’s, Morgan le Fay, lives to cause Arthur harm. Needless to say, Bellatrix is the natural fit; being an evil witch, Lestrange kills Harry’s godfather, Sirus, and continues to harm to the good wizarding world, something which could, perhaps, be likened to King Arthur’s court (i.e., Hogwarts). Certainly, Bellatrix is always popping in at just the wrong time as is her daughter, and so her legacy is much like Morgan in that it stands the test of time and never ceases to haunt our wholesome protagonists.
Well, that is it. I know: you are thinking that there is so many characters left unassigned; what about Seamus, Neville, Lupin, Snape, and others? No Lord Voldemort? I hear you cry.
Alas, none of these characters simply solidly fit into any of the Arthurian archetypes (though, you could perhaps make an argument that Voldemort makes a decent Mordred, though this is iffy in a lot of places). Sure, Harry’s classmates and fellow Dumbledore’s Army recruits could easily substitute for any number of Arthurian knights (there are literally dozens of knights in Arthur’s court), but we lack much concrete detail about these knights; mostly, such knights were literary devices for the person reciting whatever legend being told from memory. So, it is not particularly noteworthy to assign too many characters slots.
Besides, of those central characters in the Arthurian legend, the great and mighty have already been noted. Though in the future I will keep an open mind as I learn more about Arthur’s knights, and may even do a second post outlining more assignment if I see the connection, right now I simply don’t see much more to say.
Still, I want to thank you for reading and look forward to any comments or constructive criticisms you may have after reading this post. Thank you.