Deathly Hallows Harry = “Pilgrim Soldier”?

So Daniel Radcliffe thinks. Check out this Leaky Cauldron video taken at the Half-Blood Prince movie release (the comment comes at 6:50).

No, I don’t think a young movie actor’s idea of what Deathly Hallows means is in any sense authoritative but I’d need to be the bigger goof than I am not to know that Mr. Radcliffe’s interpretation will very much influence the way that many readers will understand the series finale. Movies have that ability to re-shape what we have experienced ourselves in text, like it or not.

So what do you think Mr. Radcliffe means by describing Harry as a “Pilgrim Soldier” and Harry’s situation as “the last days of a dying Roman Emperor”? (H/T to Jeremy for the TLC clip and quotation!)


  1. ….in case anyone does not want to watch the whole nine minutes of red carpet madness… the quote is in the section somewhere between 6min 15sec and 7min 15secs…

  2. As I wrote in the post, it occurs at 6:50.

  3. A pilgrim soldier brings to mind THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS (Bunyan) and THE PILGRIM’S REGRESS (CS Lewis). Both of these, of course, bring to mind the book of HEBREWS in the New Testament, which testifies that we are strangers and pilgrims here, journeying to that city whose founder and builder is God.

    Mr. Ratcliffe certainly manages to get in the allusions to Harry which suggest a rather wide reading background. I am impressed. I’ve not heard many actors in interviews able to assert the similarities between their character and any Roman emperor!

    Given that HP and Ratcliffe are in the English literary tradition, what other pilgrim soldiers come to mind? Well, SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT as translated by Tolkien (and the accompanying PEARL), as well as FARMER SMITH OF HAM. The pilgrim Ransom, from earth to Malacandra to Perelandra and Thulcandra in CS Lewis’ SPACE TRILOGY. Dare I mention Dante on his pilgrimage? Of course, I do. I have yet to read Spencer’s THE FAIRIE QUEEN (

    Gives one pause to consider all that tenting about, doesn’t it?!

  4. Yes, those camping trips are really much more, especially in the Faerie Queene, my personal favorite piece of “great lit.” I keep hoping someone will create a great graphic novel or something that will allow readers to enjoy the fabulous story without getting bogged down in Spenser’s period language (far less accessbile than Shakespeare’s). It could easily have the same pop culture acceptance as Tolkien if it weren’t so hard to read! In the meantime, if you get a chance, check out Trina Schart (sp?) Hyman’s beautifully illustrated St. George and the Dragon, which is an adaptation of FQ book I, and the story of iconic Pilgrim Solider Redcrosse (St. George).

  5. I think, inked, that you are confusing “Farmer Giles of Ham” and “Smith of Wooton Major.” Both important works, but very different.

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