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Dumbledore and Odin: Comparison

Introduction

Mythology is a critically important element of any culture. It represents values and ideas that attract people and contribute to the creation of inspiring stories. Myths also reveal the current state of society’s evolution and issues that are important at the moment. At the same time, there are still universal motifs that are always popular because of the peculiarities of human nature and traditionally attractive phenomena such as power, might, honor, wisdom, and knowledge (Campbell 23). For this reason, myths of various periods can have both similarities and differences at the same time. For instance, the ancient German and Scandinavian god Odin resembles the modern character from Harry Potter Dumbledore, as they both are mighty persons who represent the idea of knowledge and power.

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Odin

Odin is one of the ancient German and Scandinavian gods who have always been given significant attention. For the first time appears as one of supernatural creates at the period of the Roman occupation of some German regions in 12 BCE (Gaiman 23). With the following evolution of the myth, he becomes a more important character who also transforms into the head of the Scandinavian pantheon. Odin is usually associated with wisdom, royalty, healing, power, knowledge, and sorcery (Gaiman 56). In such a way, in the mentality of ancient people, he becomes the embodiment of qualities that were respected by individuals and inspired them. Odin is also a father of other mighty gods, which means that he guides them and helps to perform their main functions.

Dumbledore

Dumbledore is a perfect example of the modern hero who attracts people’s attention and embodies qualities that are attractive to people today. First of all, in the contemporary worldview, he is taken as one of the most powerful mages of the popular culture. In such a way, he also stands as a symbol of magic and power guaranteed by it. Moreover, in Harry Potter, he possesses knowledge unavailable to other people, which makes him one of the most important heroes for that fictional world (Rowling 57). From this perspective, he can also be considered the head of the magic society who guides it and remains responsible for its effective functioning.

Image of Heroes

Comparing the given two heroes, it is possible to admit the fact that both heroes have similar appearances. During his multiple journeys and wanders on the earth, Odin is often depicted as an older man with grey hair and a long beard (Gaiman 23). He usually wears a hat that serves as his differentiating feature (Gaiman 23). Moreover, he has only one eye, but multiple myths devoted to this character emphasize the cunning look that is peculiar to Odin (Gaiman 23). It reflects the concept of wisdom combined with lively character and the humorous nature of the ancient god.

Dumbledore has a similar description. Joan Rowling describes him as a tall older man with grey hair and an extremely long beard (45). Moreover, he looks attractive and makes people feel comfortable because of the feeling of power and kindness that are usually associated with this figure. Dumbledore also wears a hat and has a specific cunning look that adds some elements of naughtiness to his image.

One can see that Odin and Dumbledore look similar as they are presented as older men with grey hair. The choice of the given image is not accidental as it represents the archetype of a wise person or a magician who managed to acquire outstanding knowledge and might (Rank 78).

Powers

Odin is known as a god who concentrates multiple powers. Wisdom is a fundamental trait of this god, as there are myths devoted to it. In accordance with the legend, he sacrificed his eye to Mimir in return for wisdom (Gaiman 67). It demonstrates the importance of knowledge for people and its sacred character (Rank, 99). On the other hand, Odin is a god of war who is always depicted with a spear and described as a mighty warrior who can destroy enemies.

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Dumbledore has some similar attributes and traits that can be revealed why analyzing his image. First of all, he also possesses wisdom, which is emphasized during the whole story (Rowling 56). This feature makes him one of the most powerful sorcerers in the world of Harry Potter. At the same time, he remains a mighty warrior under the stipulation that his magic wand is his weapon. He is the only person who can struggle with Voldemort and resist him, which proves the might of the given character. That is why Dumbledore can be considered a modern representation of Odin as military conflicts are replaced by magical ones, which is more topical for the myth (Jung 56).

Struggle with Evil

In German mythology, Odin plays a critical role in protecting the world from evil. He is the most powerful god who struggles with Fenrir, jotunns, and the powers of darkness to protect the earth and guarantee that it will exist. From this perspective, he acts as a force that restrains evil forces by his wisdom and might. As the master of Asgard, he represents the archetypical opposition of good and evil peculiar to the worldview of ancient German people (Larrington 45).

Dumbledore also serves as the embodiment of light that struggles against darkness. He is the only sorcerer who can resist Voldemort, who is described by the author as pure evil. With his death, the world faces a great danger. This idea resembles visions of Odin’s death during Ragnarok, which will also mean the end of the world (Larrington 56). Dumbledore devotes all his life to attempts to find a way to defeat the powers of evil and protect the world, which makes him one of the central figures of all books.

Differences and Similarities

In such a way, Dumbledore and Odin have multiple common features. They both serve as archetypical figures representing the concept of knowledge, magic, and wisdom. The similarity is emphasized by the fact that both heroes have mythological birds that accompany them. Odin is always followed by two ravens Huginn and Munnin, while Dumbledore has a phoenix Fawkes who is his friend till the death (Gaiman 78). At the same time, there are some differences that are preconditioned by the shifts in the contemporary value system. Dumbledore is not associated with ware and some bloody rituals as people follow humanistic values today.

Conclusion

Altogether, every epoch has its heroes that serve as an archetypical embodiment of essential qualities. Odin and Dumbledore are two figures that are associated with wisdom, knowledge, and power. Their similarity is also evidenced by their almost identical appearance, which comes from traditional images of wise old men that exist in people’s mentalities. At the same time, they have some differences preconditioned by the peculiarities of epochs when they were created.

Works Cited

Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. 3rd ed., New World Library; 2008.

Gaiman, Neil. Norse Mythology. W. W. Norton & Company, 2018.

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Larrington, Carolyne. The Poetic Edda. Oxford University Press, 2018.

Jung, Carl Gustav. Man and His Symbols. Dell, 2012.

Rank, Otto. The Myth of the Birth of the Hero: A Psychological Exploration of Myth. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.

Rowling, Joanne. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.

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