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Common themes in movies- Harry Potter, Titanic, The Matrix

Updated on September 5, 2012

The secret of a good story is that it should satisfy the conditions that have been programmed into all of us. Those that match become best sellers or box office hits.

This is a sequel to my Cinderella-Titanic hub and let's hope that at least this time, sequels do better than the original.

For reference, let me use Alice in Wonderland, which is older than all these stories. If you haven’t read the Cinderella hub, it’s a good idea to do that first, lest you don’t understand some of my terms.

REASON TO LEAVE HOME:

Alice is bored, and wants adventure. She sees a white rabbit.

The Matrix: Neo doesn’t look too happy, either, and he’s asked to follow the ‘white rabbit.’

Harry Potter has a miserable life at home, being bullied by all there. He gets mail.

Jack in ‘The Titanic’ wants adventure and wins the ticket in a poker game.

MESSAGE, TICKET OR MESSENGER:

The White Rabbit shows Alice the way to Wonderland, intentionally or not.

Trinity is the messenger who meets Neo at the party.

The letter is Harry’s ticket to Hogwarts, and Hagrid is the messenger.

The ticket for passage is the ticket in Titanic, obviously.

CORRIDOR, TUNNEL OR BRIDGE

Alice falls down the hole.

Neo takes the pill and falls down a drain, very similar to Alice’s hole.

Harry does a lot of these things for every entrance into the WORLD OF ADVENTURE. The secret entrance to Diagon Alley, the invisible platform to the Hogwarts Express, the trip down the tunnels at Gringotts…

Jack walks the gangplank or whatever it’s called.

MEET THE GURU / FAIRY GODMOTHER

Well, Alice gets to meet some gurus, though in modern stories we only have one. She is given tips and lessons by the Caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat, for instance.

Neo has Morpheus.

Harry has Hagrid and Dumbledore.

Jack gets Margaret "Molly" Brown who helps him with his costume, just as Hagrid helps Harry prepare for Hogwarts. If you look at Rose’s story, Jack is her guru and the WORLD OF ADVENTURE is the world of true love. To enter his world, she has to loosen up, and to enter hers, he has to get into tight, formal dress.

IN-BETWEEN SPACE / MEET THE GANG

At this stage, we get a sampling of the world of adventure and meet many of the inahabitants. A lot of points raised at this…well, point, will have bearing later. The reader of the book or the watcher of the film, who is you, could be dazzled by a parade of samples. Alice gets introduced to a succession of characters, and does a bit of eating and drinking.

Neo meets the gang, is IV fed.

Harry meets a lot of weird characters, just like Alice. He gets a cake, like Alice, and eats magical food in the train. He also meets Ron and Hermione, COMPANIONS in adventure.

Jack gets invited to dinner.

Usually, at this stage in the story, intros happen at a ‘food’ joint. In Westerns, the hero goes to a saloon; in scifi movies, it’s some futuristic bar or restaurant. Remember, how in Starwars, Luke goes to the Cantina and gets to meet Han Solo?

BAD GUY

By this time, the hero has collected info about the bad guy and is introduced to the PRIZE. Alice learns from many sources about the Queen of Hearts.

Neo learns about the Matrix and meets the agents.

Harry learns about Voldemort.

Jack confronts Caledon Hockley.

THE PRIZE

Realizing that she need not be afraid of a pack of cards is Alice's prize.

Realization of his powers over the matrix is Neo’s prize.

The Philosopher’s Stone that Harry pockets.

The Heart of the Ocean, which stands for eternity and love.

There are many, many more things in common, but I shall stop here. Don’t want my audience walking out of my hub. Thank you for your patience.

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    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      8 years ago from Chennai

      Rowling didn't steal; she borrowed from the same idea bank that every writer borrowed. But, don't you agree that the package with many derived components is still original? And a fresh voice telling the story. The books made all these children forget TV and videogames and take to reading, for which I am grateful to her.

      Thanks, Lady of the Lake!:)

    • Lady-of-the-Lake profile image

      Lady-of-the-Lake 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      We read the first Harry Potter to our son when he was in kindergarten. We had to buy 3 copies of book #7 because we were all hoarse from reading it outloud to eachother and we were dying to know the end. Anyhow, my son has a real love of reading and can probably compete with scholars on Tolkien, but what really drives us all crazy is how all the Harry Potter themes seem bascially stolen from other great pieces of literature. I understand that everything old is new again, but couldn't she have come up with one universal theme of her own? I guess all budding authors should take a page from Rowling and run it to death again.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      9 years ago from Chennai

      Hi, I got the daily hello in my dreamz!

      There is a deliberate, universal pattern, called the monomyth, that has been built into our consciousness through myths. Most stories follow mythical patterns.

    • profile image

      Iðunn 

      9 years ago

      interesting insights into the connections.  I, of course, haven't seen The Matrix.  I suspect you are right about popularity and following a pattern though.  romance novels work the same way. 

      most of what I watch has this pattern:  sad people have bad lives and become sadder ... or... unusual events transpire in the lives of mundane people and nobody knows what it means... or... ordinary events occur in the lives of unusual people and seem meaningful but no one is clear why. haha.

      anyway, I think I skipped this one last year because I hadn't watched the matrix, but I'm happy to stop in and read it now and use it as an excuse to drop my daily hello to you.  the thought is on me that this is your asleep time so I hope you are having happy dreamz.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      9 years ago from Chennai

      Aw thank you, KCC. Shall look at that hub of yours. :)

      I am an oldie but goodie too. Any hope of resurrecting me? :D

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      KRC 

      9 years ago from Central Texas

      BTW Kenny, I put a link back to this hub in my hub called "Resurrecting Old Hubs-Oldies but Goodies".  The hub is about finding hubs that haven't had a comment posted to them in a long time that deserve to be resurrected.  Your hub was one of those for me today.  Maybe it brought you a little traffic (I hope) by popping up on the hubtivity screen today.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      9 years ago from Chennai

      Yes, it does contain elements of almost all genres, doesn't it? That actually multiplies the challenges for the makers many fold, but they managed and gave us this memorable movie.

      Thank you for that bonus input, KCC. :)

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      KRC 

      9 years ago from Central Texas

      Titanic is my favorite movie and I've always maintained that it's because it contained a bit of almost every type of movie genre: Suspense & horror (sinking ship), mystery (set-up of Jack), romance (Jack & Rose), drama (relationship issues and Rose's issues with honor and duty) history (some real and some fictionacl characters based around an actual historical event), musical (dancing in steerage), etc.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Ah, Loki, read this hub and the one before, add your inputs, and Voila! Your homework is ready! :)

    • profile image

      Loki 

      10 years ago

      we got a homework to find out the common between Matrix and Titanic, I am totally no idea?

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      You are right, Goddess. These themes have been taken from life and stylized a bit for us viewers. That's why we do relate to them.

      Thank you for the divine visit. :)

    • sun goddess profile image

      sun goddess 

      10 years ago from davao city, philippines

      hmmmm... doesn't this remind you of Platos "Allegory of the Cave"?

      I dunno.... I guess it's the reason why people enjoy movies.... temporary escape from the harsh reality of life.

      Come to think of it... isn't real life exactly like that?

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Thank you, Marc. After I got myself into an analytic mode, I don't enjoy movies like a child, like I used to. Sigh. You gain some, you lose some.

    • MarcNorris profile image

      MarcNorris 

      10 years ago from Canada

      Great hub Kenny - I think that the whole reason that I go to movies is to escape my life for a few hours and enjoy the adventure of someone else.

      I'll have to give a big woo hoo! for the Matrix - it definitely asks some deep questions while providing awesome entertainment.

      Good job!

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Thanks, Solar, hehe!

    • solarshingles profile image

      solarshingles 

      10 years ago from london

      Matrix, Matrix, Matrix...I love it

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Thank you, WildwindE, for blowing this way! You are really a welcome breeze!

      Msms, I thought your comment was more poetic! Great comment, thank you!

    • msms profile image

      msms 

      10 years ago

      "...should satisfy the conditions that have been programmed into all of us..."

      You are writing Poetry in prose ...

      taking the inner feeling and putting them in your smooth words... like a poem ...

      Great Mr.Kenny Wordsmith

    • WildwindE profile image

      Laurie J. Brenner 

      10 years ago from Western Slope of the Sierra Nevada, CA

      Great Hub Kenny, thanks!

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Just maintaing the rascal image, G-Ma. Hugs X 8.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Like your latest photo...in each one you have a different look..to bad we can't keep a record of the pics we put up..it would be fun to go back and look at them...Love G-Ma :o) hugs X 4

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Thanx for sharing this, G-Ma. He is a luvky grandson and he's having a good time!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      yeah ....am so glad to see you again..he was in a great play last night and tonight....special from Africa..I made costumes for the play..He goes to a private school and they put on a play every year..it was so colorful and educational..the owner of the school was in Africa for 6 months last year and brought home wonderful stories... Thanks for the memories you little rascal...G-Ma :o) hugs X 4

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Congratulations to both! Delighted! :)

      6 year olds learn things more easily, and are better than us at most things.

      Hugs from a rascal, hehe.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      So did you know it as My grandaughter that won the Hub contest? Stacie....I am so proud of her....Glad to hear from you really my sweet thing...G-Ma :o) Hugs....

      the RASCAL that you are. The 6 yr.old was reading your books today and I was so proudly telling him about you...as he was so proud that he could read so well..even trying to read the India words..which he did way better then me...:o) You are my love...Me again G-Ma :o)

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      I love you and your X4, G-Ma!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Kenny same to you my dear Man and friend..been missing you sooo.....Hope all is well....G-Ma :o) hugs and kisses X 4

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Thanks, Rob. If you have seen the movies and enjoyed them, then you will like the books. Hope you give them a try.

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 

      10 years ago from Midwest USA

      Your themes and correlations are well defined and easy to understand. I guess I'm one of the few who hasn't read a single page of Harry Potter. Me bad I guess. I have seen a few of the films and was extremely entertained. Thanks for the well written hub.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Frank, thank you for being with me.

      G-Ma, from one Mad Hatter to another, thanks, hugs and kisses.

      Figur8, I don't really want to belittle these swesome stories. What I mean is that one can't help relating to earlier myths or legends. That's built into us.

      But you are right when you say that you need not be rotally original, if that's stopping you. Writers don't steal, they only draw from the bank of their subconscious minds. Thank you for that thought-provoking comment.

    • figur8 profile image

      figur8 

      10 years ago

      Ahhh... so the way to a best seller is not necessarily to come up with a totally unique and original storyline but so long as you can rehash an old one with panache?

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Wow this all reminds me of my younger years...all the pressures we went through...all the morals that had to be honored...the  holes we found ourselves in..and tried to get out gracefully...for the sake of religion or reputation...honoring our parents..obeying..no questions asked...

      also I was totally banded from having anything to do with a Mexican family on our block...They taught me how to tap dance..and was so much fun....I of course thought I loved the big brother..Harry Potter type..Magical by my dreams....watching the clock on the wall??? climbing into a hole??? Well I think we all do...Madd Hatter...aren't we all?  we don't have to live this way...G-Ma :o) hugs and kisses

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 

      10 years ago from Sydney

      I AM FOLLOWING YOU CLOSELY

      gREAT IDEA

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Thanks, Prem!

    • prems4u profile image

      prems4u 

      10 years ago from KERALA Cochin

      amazing fact ....

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Life is an adventure, Shangrila.Send me your story and I'll find your fairy godmother, your prize and your gurus. When we write our autobiographoes, what we have to do is to stress on certain factors to make them good stories equal to the great ones. Give it a try.

      Thanks, Zsuzsy. I hope to do more of this. :)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Its pretty amazing that you found a common theme joining three really different stories.

      great hub regards Zsuzsy

    • shangrila profile image

      shangrila 

      10 years ago

      wish life was an adventure like alice's or harry's (just in the first 3 books). jack's story was tragic of course. great hubs kenny!

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Yes, you're right, Elisabeth. My teen son and I spend hours finding common themes in all the movies we saw. He's a Star Wars fan, and those movies were deliberately planned using Campbell's monomyth.

      Thank you. :)

    • elisabeth reid profile image

      elisabeth reid 

      10 years ago from Colorado

      I like the way you've found common themes that tie all these together. Gives me something to think about and ask my kids about on a rainy afternoon. GREAT conversation starter.

      Thank you for this.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      You are right, Gareth, this hub is much better but I didn't want to bore people. I just tested the waters with the Cinderella hub.

      Thank you for reading this one, too!

    • Gareth Pritchard profile image

      Gareth Pritchard 

      10 years ago from North Wales

      Hi Kenny,

      This is a great observation.

      Quote

      "The secret of a good story is that it should satisfy the conditions that have been programmed into all of us. Those that match become best sellers or box office hits."

      It is something I have known but never realized fully thanks for that one.

      As for this hub it is a much better explanation of what you where I think trying to convey in the:

      "Why is Cinderella like the Titanic?" hub.

      Great, thanks for this and all.

      Gareth.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Chantel, you know what it says about you? It says that you are like most if us! We don't want big problems in our world, so we visit others to get the excitement. Safely! :D

      Thank you, Mon, honoured. :)

    • monitor profile image

      monitor 

      10 years ago from The world.

      Well when you break it down like this writing is very much a discipline. Very intertesting hub. Thank you.

      Your fan. Mon.

    • chantelg4 profile image

      chantelg4 

      10 years ago from Northern Ontario

      Great hub, I like all these movies. What would that say about me? I love to escape into another world, could be this one is missing some excitement! LOL!

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