When it comes to fantasy movies, several various themes always seem to stand out. Several examples of these themes are various forms of magic, an evil villain, and some sort of political discourse-whether it be between two different governing bodies, or be against itself in some way. These three themes occur in numerous ways in George Lucas’ Star Wars, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, and J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. While there are many similarities between the three, this paper will discuss both similarities and dissimilarities of the three themes mentioned in these three independent universes. To begin, there are various forms and degrees of magic that persist throughout the Star Wars, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings universes.
In the Star Wars universe, this magic exists in a form called “The Force”. The Force is only sensed by those with a sufficient Midi-chlorian count-a microbe that lived inside the cells of the Jedi[Rin13]. The Force is the major form of combat throughout the entire series and greatly influences the series as a whole. The Harry Potter universe is similar to the Star Wars universe as only a select few are given the ability to use magic. However, it is greater emphasized as it is the only form of combat used in the entire series. Lastly, Magic plays a rather minor role in The Lord of the Rings universe, and is only actively used by two characters, Gandalf and Saruman. Arguably, you can state that the One Ring is a form of magic, but it in The Lord of the Rings series, it is not actively engaged. However, in The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, it plays a much more active role.
Secondly, the main antagonist of each universe is portrayed in a similar, but distinct role. In Star Wars, the main antagonist is either Darth Vader or the Emperor himself. Many believe that Darth Vader was the antagonist, but it could be argued that Darth Vader is actually the protagonist instead. In The Revenge of the Sith, Obi Wan Kenobi calls Anakin “The Chosen One” prior to Anakin becoming Darth Vader himself. However, at the closing moments of the final movie (chronologically speaking), Darth Vader is the one who kills the emperor, effectively fulfilling his destiny as “The Chosen One”[Ken13]. In the Harry Potter universe the main antagonist is Voldemort. Voldemort plays an important, but minor role up until the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in which he is summoned back in the flesh. However, contrasting to Star Wars, Voldemort is the epitome of evil, and there is no return to the Light as there is in Star Wars. Lastly, the main antagonist of The Lord of the Rings is Sauron. Similarly to Voldemort, Sauron is the epitome of evil. However, even being the main antagonist, Sauron plays a minor role in The Lord of the Rings, and is only manifested in the form of an all seeing eye that only gives commands to his followers.
Lastly, each universe has an important executive or legislative body that plays an substantial role in the plot. In Star Wars, politics are mainly Potter are similar because of the high usage of magic and the inner conflicts of the governing bodies. Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings are very similar because of their extremely wicked antagonists. With further investigation into these works of art, many more themes can be analyzed and most likely many similarities between the universes can be drawn. However, the dissimilarities between the separate universes are what give each its own distinct flavor, without them, all three universes would be the same. It’s these distinct characteristics that continuously draw us back into the movie theater, begging for more.
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