Frodo Baggins--A Reluctant Hero
Episode 1 of Heroes and Legends

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The Real Middle Earth
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is the most popular work of fiction ever created. It is a tale of epic proportions held together by its unforgettable setting, Middle Earth. The great trilogy introduced the world to Gandalf, Frodo and Aragorn, but arguably the book's true star does not…
Harry Potter--Whistle-Blower Hero
Episode 24 of Heroes and Legends
Finish your course with one of the most unexpected hits of our time--and a smash hit at that. What can the surprising success of Harry Potter teach us about successful heroes? And what do his battles against Lord Voldemort tell us about our world today and the need for love,…
Heroes and Legends - The Most Influential Characters of Literature Series
Heroes hold a special place in our imagination. Names such as Odysseus, Beowulf, and Queen Guinevere summon up mythic legends, while Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, and Huckleberry Finn are some of the most recognizable figures in world literature. Study some of the most memorable and important characters ever created and gain…
Winston Smith--The Hero We Never Want to Be
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Winston Smith, the central figure in George Orwell's nightmare scenario, 1984, is fearful, undernourished, and oppressed by the state--not exactly the image we conjure up when we think of the word "hero." Dive into the dystopia of Big Brother and Ingsoc and find out what makes Winston worthy of being…
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The Merchant of Venice
This production is part of a famous series produced by BBC of all of William Shakespeare's plays. The resulting films, renowned for their loyalty to the text, utilized the best theatrical and television directors and brought highly praised performances from leading contemporary actors One of Shakespeare's most famous comedies, THE…
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Episode 16 of Heroes and Legends
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Beowulf--A Hero with Hidden Depths
Episode 7 of Heroes and Legends
Beowulf is not an easy poem to understand, but Beowulf is not an easy character to understand. Here, analyze how this classic male hero--a big, strong, monster killer--may have a hidden vulnerability. Then, look at what insights Beowulf's story offers about life and death, the limits of self-reliance, and the…
Odysseus--The Trickster Hero
Episode 2 of Heroes and Legends
Go back to the beginning of world literature to explore what made Homer's traveling hero such a powerful figure. Odysseus's story set the model for countless road narratives, but his character, which is surprisingly sly and resourceful, is unique. Here, follow him on some of his many adventures.
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Epic battles between titanic gods. The creation, re-creation, and repair of the world. Perilous quests for lost treasures and the comfort of home. Magical items imbued with the power to protect - and destroy. Mythology has provided fascinating and thrilling stories that are central to our lives, even today. The…
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Two contemporary poets, Lyn Hejinian from America and Arkadii Dragomoshchenko from Russia, are asked to begin a correspondence based on a list of ordinary words such as 'home,' 'book,' 'poverty,' 'violence.' They reflect on each word, considering its conventional meaning and what it means to them personally. The resulting extraordinary…