Friday, July 29, 2011

Harry Potter & Star Wars.

For your education and edification, our old friend King Heifer - occasional contributor-to and commenter-on this blog - has provided us a with an interesting and – I think you will agree – startling analysis of the similarities between The Harry Potter series and the Star Wars series. In doing so, he touches on something bigger and almost primal. The question becomes: are these archetypal elements? Are they integral to all stories of all heroes? Are these elements fundamental to the sorts of stories that move us? Are there lessons here? Do these things represent some profound roadmap on how to navigate life? Or does the commonality of these elements represent some secret history of how civilization has learned to survive and thrive and succeed? Or is there more to it? Is J.K. Rowling just a thieving-stealing-thiefy-pants?

*** Editor’s Note: There are some hints of spoilers mixed in below. ***

I really liked this last Harry Potter movie. In particular, Voldemort is a really excellent villain in it. All of that said, there is an awful lot of borrowing from Star Wars in the whole set of movies (and books). Now I know that Star Wars didn't invent a lot of the story pieces (George Lucas having read Joseph Campbell's books about mythology), but, in both series:

(1) there's the chosen one who learns from the master who dies, but then helps the chosen one from the great beyond (Luke, Obi-Wan & Yoda; Harry & Dumbledore);

(2) there's the guy you think is bad the whole time, but turns out to save the chosen one at the end (Darth Vader, Snape);

(3) the chosen one is accompanied by a male and a female friend who have a tense relationship that turns romantic (Han & Leia, Ron & Hermione);

(4) the chosen one is frequently accompanied and assisted by a small friend who is alternately comic relief and heroic (R2D2; Dobby);

(5) the chosen one's parents are dead;

(6) the chosen one's mentor frequently lies to the chosen one;

(7) the chosen one was raised by a grumpy uncle; and

(8) at the end, the chosen one destroys the super-power thing, rather than keeping it (no, wait, that's a Lord of the Rings ripoff).


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