Why Marvel’s The Defenders and Harry Potter are more alike than you think

Warning: vague spoilers hinted at throughout for all Marvel Netflix series!

So, like many thousands of others, I’ve been binge-watching The Defenders this weekend. I’m only on episode 4 (I know, pitiful binge attempt!), but there’s one thing that’s been standing out to me more and more each episode.

If you’ve watched the individual shows for the characters that form the team (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist), you may have noticed that the team over at Marvel have been careful to give each show its own identity, creating distinctive feels for each protagonist’s story through clever use of colour.

How Netflix’s superhero shows distinguish themselves from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe

Daredevil is gritty and dark, with shots saturated with red, much like his suit. Jessica Jones has blue and purple overtones; fitting, since her superhero alter ego, Jewel, wore a white and blue outfit and sported purple hair. Luke Cage showcases an almost sepia-like tint in all its shots – again, a nod to comic Luke’s yellow outfit. And lastly, shots in Iron Fist, the newest addition to Netflix’s ever-growing Marvel family, are discreetly tinged with green, the main colour of the character’s super-suit.

Marvel's The Defenders teamAt first, I just thought it was a cool and creative way to differentiate between each character’s storyline as the plot hops from person to person, but as the show goes on, I can’t help but notice something else – all their identifying colours match the colours of the Hogwarts houses, and more than that, each character’s personality traits match those of the house their story’s colours align to!

Not convinced? Hear me out.

Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix

Matt Murdock, the courageous Gryffindor

Let’s start with Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil and the first of Marvel’s Netflix escapades. His shots are red, and therefore aligned to Gryffindor, a house known for its bravery, nerve, chivalry, courage, and daring. Could these words be more accurate to describe a blind man who puts himself in harm’s way every night to tackle crime and keep his city safe? On top of this, Gryffindors are known to be somewhat short-tempered and reckless; both traits that Matt has shown, whether it’s when he’s called out for his behaviour or asked to stay out of trouble, or when he’s barging into the headquarters of a criminal gang alone. I know he could kick my ass a million times over, but it’s still pretty reckless to not tell anyone where you’re going in these situations!

He also displays the somewhat “tortured hero” traits Harry shows; think of when Foggy or Karen ask him to stop putting himself in danger, and he can’t because he thinks defending the people of Hell’s Kitchen is his responsibility, and his burden to bear. Now think of Harry in his seventh year, trying to ditch Ron and Hermione to hunt down the Horcruxes alone so as not to endanger his friends, before ultimately sacrificing himself because he believed that was his duty as the Chosen One. Uncanny similarities, right?

Marvel's Luke Cage on Netflix

Luke Cage, the unlikely Hufflepuff

Moving onto Luke Cage, the somewhat unlikely Hufflepuff. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical when I twigged that the yellow shots would make him a Hufflepuff, but when I thought about it, it totally makes sense. Hufflepuff’s traits are dedication, hard work, fair play, patience, kindness, tolerance, loyalty, and being unafraid of toil, which pretty much form a portrait of Luke.

Luke is a kindhearted, gentle (ish!) giant, with unwavering loyalty to those he loves; whether that’s his late wife, Pop, Claire, Jessica, or the people of his neighbourhood. He’s dedicated to helping the people of Harlem, and he’s not afraid a little toil – he constantly puts himself in the firing line (sometimes literally!) to protect others. 

Racism, injustice and privilege

He is also fixated on fair play and tolerance; there’s plenty of occurences when he fights against racism or discrimination, and he doesn’t hold back on Danny Rand when he thinks he’s using his powers and status wrongly. After Danny’s attempts to investigate The Hand end up putting an unwittingly involved young man in prison, Luke lets him know he disagrees with his methods as the man was a pawn in a larger plot, and was not one of the real criminals they should be targeting. In a powerful scene, Luke tells Danny, a rich man born into a powerful family with a multi-million dollar business, that he is using his privilege in the wrong way.

“I know privilege when I see it. You may think that you earned your strength, but you had power the day you were born. Before the dragons, before the chi…you have the ability to change the world without getting anyone hurt. I’d think twice before using (the Iron Fist) on people trying to feed their families.”

Bear in mind he’s so fixated on justice at this point that he’s risking ticking off the only known person that can pack a punch that his bullet-proof skin doesn’t protect him from.

He’s got tunnel vision when it comes to doing what’s right, and his kind heart gets him tangled up in countless battles on behalf of others throughout the series. He won’t stand by and see others suffer – at one point, he actually says he doesn’t like seeing people get hurt, and is much more concerned with hurting no one as opposed to the “hurt a few to save the many” approach that the others favour. Like Tonks, who used her unusual talent as a Metamorphmagus alongside her magic to do good, Luke uses his super-strength and indestructibility to help others. If that’s not a Hufflepuff, I don’t know what is!

Marvel's Jessica Jones on Netflix

Jessica Jones, the quick-witted Ravenclaw

Third up is Jessica Jones, the Ravenclaw of the gang. Ravenclaws are known for their intelligence, wit, wisdom, creativity, originality, individuality, and acceptance.

Jessica works as a private investigator, so is constantly using her intelligence, creativity and wisdom to source information and solve cases. She’s often seen sifting through files on her computer or at libraries, and never switches off; she’s always piecing together information to complete the jigsaw of a case.

She’s also pretty quick-witted, whether this is in terms of having her wits about her to avoid danger or the sharp tongue that’s become a trademark of hers.

In terms of individuality, she’s certainly got unique methods – Luke’s just as strong as her but I don’t think he’d throw a car at an enemy as a first resort!

As well as this, she’s also very accepting once she lets down her wall; she’s best friends with a somewhat preppy blonde radio show presenter – the complete opposite of her – and she didn’t run away from Luke scared when she discovered he was indestructible.

Interestingly, some of her scenes are tinged with purple instead of blue. This makes sense to me – Jessica’s hot-headedness is the only real anomale in her Ravenclaw traits, and is more akin to Gryffindor. Now how do you make purple? Red and blue!

Marvel's Iron Fist on Netflix

Danny Rand, the determined Slytherin

Last up is Danny Rand, aka the immortal Iron Fist and our sole Slytherin. Born into a life of privilege but ending up fighting for a cause due to the fate his parents, Danny is not unlike Draco Malfoy. Whilst Danny’s fate was caused by his parents in less direct way, he did end up on K’un Lun and fighting for the cause of the monks who trained him due to his parents’ untimely demise in a plane crash nearby. Draco, on the other hand, ended up carrying out Voldemort’s doing and furthering the Death Eater cause due to his parents’ involvement with the Dark Lord.

Slytherin’s traits are resourcefulness, cunning, ambition, determination, self-preservation, fraternity and cleverness, all of which Danny Rand is the embodiment of.

To start with, self-preservation is clearly something he excels at; not many kids could find their way off a plane crashed in the snowy mountains and to a safe place miles and miles away without freezing to death.

Cunning, resourceful and ambitious

He’s resourceful, cunning and ambitious when it comes to proving he’s the rightful heir of his family’s company and taking back control from the Meachums after he reappears 15 years after he supposedly died.

He’s obviously determined; when he gets an idea, he doesn’t let it drop. Think of the way he pursues Joy Meachum and Colleen Wing until he gets what he wants (regardless of whether the police end up involved!)

He’s also pretty clever with how he uses his status as a rich business owner; whether this is to get into places or information closed off to the general public, or to bribe his way to the outcome he’s looking for, he’s cunning and clever enough to know when to be the rich kid, when to be your average Joe, and when to be the Iron Fist.

The trait I found most interesting was fraternity. At first, I didn’t see a connection, but when all of the Defenders met, I saw it very clearly in Danny.

Draco sought fraternity from Harry before being rejected and turning to Crabbe and Goyle and later, the Death Eaters. Danny, on the other hand, is the first to suggest teaming up, and constantly pushes the idea to Luke, Jessica and Matt, all of whom prefer to work alone.

Interestingly, I saw his determination and resourcefulness almost take a turn similar to Draco’s when he almost succumbed to a deal with leader of The Hand, Alexandra. Draco was tempted down a darker path to achieve his ambitions of pleasing his father and gaining respect and admiration from his peers, and Danny almost gave into a darker method of defeating The Hand and exacting revenge for his parents.

I’m only on episode 4 so far (so no spoilers please!), but once you notice the traits shining through, it’s as obvious as the colour of lighting in the shot. It clearly takes all types to make a team!

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Let me know what you think in the comments!





14 thoughts on “Why Marvel’s The Defenders and Harry Potter are more alike than you think

  1. moonika says:

    Lovely analysis. I haven’t watched the series, but love that they opted to have the characters colour-coded like this, and your points on the colour and personality connecting to Hogwarts houses make really sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tsundoku Girl Reads says:

      Thanks Mooni! Yes, I love the colour coding; it gives each show a distinctive feel! It is so strange once you make the Hogwarts connection! I’ve spent the next few episodes going “Luke is such a Hufflepuff” ๐Ÿ˜‚


  2. braveliteraryworld says:

    This is so interesting! Do you know Campbell’s monomyth theory? It’s basically this underlying literary pattern that all epics (from Beowulf to Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter) follow. George Lucas also relied on it heavily while creating Star Wars.

    Liked by 1 person

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